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Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Orange County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA2) will open on October 8, 2022 at 8:00 a.m. The application link will be available at the bottom of this page at 8:00 a.m. on October 8, 2022.

Additional resources for residents may be found by contacting Heart of Florida United Way’s 2-1-1 Service. Residents seeking legal assistance for evictions may contact Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida.

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For questions about Orange County ERAP, please Dial 311 or 407-836-3111.

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Keeping Families in Their Homes

The Orange County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is an income-based program aimed at helping Orange County’s most vulnerable tenants by providing financial assistance to tenants who are past-due on their rent as a result of financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During phase one, the program distributed more than $30+ million in federal funds to assist eligible Orange County residents. Now in phase two, Orange County will distribute an additional $13.5 million in rental assistance to keep at-risk families in their homes.

Click on the “+” symbol for each section listed below for details.

Rental Assistance Provided

The funding made available under this program will be used to provide rental assistance to qualifying tenants based on funding availability and program limits. Rental assistance provided:

  • Will cover a tenant’s documented past-due rent up to the program maximums.
  • Is limited to 18 months (inclusive of months received from all other federally funded Emergency Rental Assistance programs)
  • Can include reasonable late fees, court fees, eviction fees, and/or legal fees (if any), not to exceed the program maximum of $20,000 per household (inclusive of Orange County ERAP1: Phase One).
  • Shall not be duplicative of any other local/state or federal emergency rental assistance received by the tenant or the landlord for the tenant’s past-due or future rent. Any such duplicative assistance shall be deducted from the program payment amount.

NOTE:Tenants may not receive assistance for months of rent for which they were previously assisted by any federally funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Tenant Eligibility

This program is available to tenants who meet all of the following criteria and requirements:

  • They are behind in rent for at least one month or have received a rental increase above 10 percent (10%) of their base rent.
  • They meet the program’s residency and location requirements (see: “Residency and Location Requirements” section below).
  • Their household income does not exceed 80 percent of Area Median Income (see: “Income Requirements” section below).
  • They or an adult household member had a significant reduction in income or significant increased costs due to or during COVID-19 OR they or an adult household member experienced a recent financial hardship that can be verified as the direct cause for the household falling behind on rent.
  • They are experiencing housing instability.
  • The transient rentals tax, also known as the “hotel tax,” does not apply to their rental arrangement with their landlord.
  • They agree to comply with the terms and conditions of this program, including the submission of any documentation requested by the County to confirm and verify all information on the program application.
  • Room rentals including those in homeowner occupied housing or homestead exempt property and rentals between related parties are not eligible.
  • Have not been previously approved for assistance more than once by Orange County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

NOTE: Eligible tenants who received previous ERAP funding will receive an email link where they can apply if they are eligible for additional assistance.

Residency and Location Requirements

Qualifying tenants must be applying for assistance with their past-due rent OR for assistance with a base rent increase above 10 percent for a rental property that is:

  • Their primary residence;
  • Located in Orange County, Florida; and
  • Located outside of the municipal limits of the City of Orlando.

(Use the address locator tool below to confirm your address meets these requirements)

Street address only info image e.g. 201 S Rosalind Ave
location icon searching icon letter x icon check mark icon

IMPORTANT: Please note that while a rental property’s address may read “Orlando, Florida,” for mailing purposes, such rental property may still actually be located in unincorporated Orange County and therefore would meet the location requirements for this program. To be certain, please use the Address Check locator tool to confirm prior to submitting a program application.

Income Requirements

To qualify for rental assistance under this program, the Federal Government requires that a tenant’s household income does not exceed the maximum qualifying income levels shown below:

Household Size

Maximum Qualifying Annual Income*

1 $46,480.00
2 $53,120.00
3 $59,760.00
4 $66,320.00
5 $71,680.00
6 $76,960.00
7 $82,240.00
8 $87,600.00


*
“Maximum Qualifying Annual Income” listed reflects 80 percent of the 2022 Annual Median Income for the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Required Tenant Documents

As part of their application, tenants are required to provide the following:

Proof of Household Income - using one (1) of the following four (4) options:

  1. Filed Tax Return/s: a copy of the household’s Form 1040 Tax Return for all adult household members as filed with the IRS in 2022 (for 2021) by documenting with a tax filing receipt or a signed submission by a registered 3rd Party Tax Preparer; OR
  2. Benefits Letter: documentation showing the entire household qualifies for benefits from an income-based federal, state, or local government program that uses federal income limits and the benefits were issued on or after January 1, 2022, i.e. SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, etc.; OR
  3. Income for Past 60 Days: verifiable income documentation for the past 60 days for every adult member of the household. Some examples are wage statements, paycheck stubs, unemployment statements, Social Security statements, etc.; OR
  4. U.S. Census Low-Income Community: Confirm your address is located within a U.S. Census tract identified as a low-moderate income community. Use the ERAP Census Tract Address Lookup to see if your household qualifies to use this option.

Lease: A fully-executed lease with the landlord showing the tenant applicant is listed as the primary tenant responsible (in whole or in part) for making rental payments to the landlord for the residential property in question

Late Notice: A copy of the most recent late notice received from the landlord

Photo ID: A valid, government-issued photo identification with an Orange County address for each adult member of the household

Financial Impact - documented proof of one (1) of the following situations:

  1. A direct or indirect COVID-19 impact that involuntarily led to a COVID-19-related loss of income or significant increase in expenses for the tenant or an adult household member; OR
  2. A financial hardship for the tenant or an adult household member that resulted in the household falling behind on the rent due to or during COVID-19; OR
  3. A rent increase above 10 percent (10%) of the base rent

Prior Rental Assistance: Documentation of any prior rental assistance received from the State for Florida (OUR Florida Program) or any other local, state and/or federal rental assistance program

Other: Any additional documents requested by the County to determine or confirm eligibility

Landlord Eligibility

By submitting an application and accepting payment on behalf of tenants, the landlord agrees to all the following conditions:

  • You have eligible tenants that meet the requirements in “Tenant Eligibility” section above.
  • Will work with your tenants in good faith to assist with and participate in the program application process, e.g. provide ledgers to prove past-due balances, record applied payments, etc.
  • Attest to the veracity and completeness of all information provided as part of this program application process.
  • Will apply awarded funds to the past-due accounts of tenants who are approved as a part of this program, and will apply those funds to the months specified by the program
  • Agree to keep records proving that tenants' accounts were credited (amounts, months) for a period of at least five years.
  • Shall not evict a tenant for nonpayment if you have been notified as part of this program that said tenant has been approved and payment covering all of the tenant’s arrears during the eligibility period, up to funding maximums, is forthcoming.
  • Agree to withdraw any evictions or collections if the program has paid the full amount of the tenant’s arrears at the time of approval.
  • Will work in good faith to establish payment plans for your tenants who are approved as part of the program but whose past-due accounts will not be brought current by the awarded funding (e.g. they owe $8,000 but you receive $7,500 to apply to their past-due balances).
  • Understand that total funding amount is subject to: (a) the eligibility of the costs requested, (b) program maximums of 18 months or $20,000 and (c) the availability of funds available. The tenant must meet all necessary criteria in order for you to be awarded funds.
  • Understand that if you do not agree to these terms and conditions, then payments for rental arrears may be directed to your tenants and you will not be notified when your tenants receive those payments.
  • Understand that homestead exempt property, room rentals, rentals in homeowner occupied housing, and rentals between related properties are not eligible.

Required Landlord Documents

As part of their application, landlords will be required to provide the following:

  • Signed and completed W-9 or equivalent IRS documentation
  • The tenant applicant’s rent statement/history that shows the months and total amount of rent accrued and owed by the tenant at the time of application
  • A Property Management Agreement for any rental under private ownership using a property management company to collect rent
  • Any additional documents requested by the County to determine or confirm eligibility

Participants in the Emergency Rental Assistance Program must spend awarded funds as directed. If the County ascertains - via audit or otherwise - that the participant misspent awarded funds, the participant must promptly return those funds to the County. Failure to promptly return the funds may result in the County seeking any available legal remedy.

Note that audits may be conducted by the Federal awarding agency, Inspectors General, the Comptroller General of the United States, the Orange County Clerk of Court & Comptroller and Orange County Government Florida, or any of their authorized representatives, and the participant agrees to allow these entities the right to access any documents, papers or other records pertinent to the Federal award.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program | FAQs

How do I apply for rental assistance?

Residents who have received a written late notice or a rent increase notice above 10% from their landlord can apply by completing an online application at www.ocfl.net/RentalAssistance.

NOTE: If you are a tenant and were previously approved only once by the Orange County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) and have not received the maximum allowable assistance, you will receive an email with a link where you can apply if you are eligible and you must use this link to apply.

The program will only accept one tenant application per household for the residential rental property being submitted for rental assistance It is therefore recommended that tenants coordinate with their household members to ensure only one application is submitted.

Does the landlord and the tenant have to apply?

Both the landlord and tenant must complete separate applications and the landlord will receive the direct payment unless they decline to participate in the program.

What if the landlord declines to participate in the program?

If a landlord declines to participate in the program AND the tenant meets all other eligibility criteria, the program will provide rental assistance directly to the Clerk of Courts if an eviction has been filed. If an eviction has not been filed, payment can be made directly to the tenant after the tenant signs a document that outlines how the funds can be used by the tenant.

Does the rental property have to be the renter’s primary residence?

Yes. The rental property must be the tenant’s primary residence.

Does the lease have to be in the tenant’s name?

Yes. The lease must be in the tenant’s name, and they must be the one responsible for paying a portion or the full amount of the rent.

How far behind in rent do I have to be to be eligible for the program?

The program is open for residents of Orange County, Florida, who are (at-risk) of eviction and are at least one month behind in rent or have received a rent increase notice above 10%.

What should I do if I receive an eviction notice from the Court?

Call 3-1-1 and select the option for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and provide your application number and your Court eviction number. Sample Orange County court eviction number: 2022-CC-XXXXXX-O

How much assistance can I receive if I am approved?

The County can pay up to a maximum of $20,000 per household inclusive of prior assistance from the Orange County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) or a maximum of 18 months of rent payments. The 18-month maximum includes any assistance received from Orange County ERAP, the State program (OUR Florida), the City of Orlando and all other federally funded emergency rental assistance programs.

Can I apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) if I am employed?

Yes, you can apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program if you are currently employed; however, you must have experienced a financial hardship during or due to COVID-19 in order to be approved for assistance. The assistance requested should be relative to the financial hardship experienced.

Can I apply for ERAP if I previously received assistance from the program?

Yes, if you were only approved once in ERAP1 and you have not exceeded the program maximums of $20,000 or 18 months. If you are eligible to apply to the program again, you will receive an email with a link which you must use to reapply. If you do not receive an email with the link and you believe you are eligible, please call 3-1-1 and ask for the Emergency Rental Assistance program and a staff member will collect your information and research your prior assistance.

Can I apply for ERAP if I live in unincorporated Orange County? (e.g., City of Eatonville)?

Program-eligible tenants are those whose primary residence is a rental property that is: (a) located in any Orange County municipality except the City of Orlando; or (b) located in unincorporated Orange County.

What is required to use a benefits letter as proof of my household income?

A current year approval letter with the name and address of the person receiving the benefit who is also an adult member of the household and MUST include all household members listed on the application from programs such as: Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or any other local, state and federal government assistance programs that can verify the household as low-income.

How does the Census Tract option work to verify household income?

Any tenant who resides within a low to moderate income area may use the Low-Mod Income Qualified Census Tract option to verify their household meets the income requirement for the program. To see if an address is within a U.S. Census identified low-income community, use the ERAP Census Tract Address Lookup map. If the address shows up within a purple area on the map, then it means the household qualifies to use Low-Income Qualified Community option to verify their income and will not be required to submit any income documents.

Where can I get a copy of my late notice?

If you have lost the copy of the late notice that your landlord provided, you may be able to request another copy from your landlord.

What happens after I complete the application?

Once your application is submitted, it will be placed on a list for assignment to a review staff. Applications are assigned for review based on program priorities. Once your application is assigned for review, you will be contacted by program staff should any additional information be required to complete your application. The program staff will also contact your landlord and invite them to participate using the contact information you provided in the tenant application.

How are applications processed in terms of priority?

Generally, applications will be processed on a rolling “first come, first completed” basis. However, priority will be given to applications based on the following criteria: (a) households with incomes at or below 50% of the Area Median Income, or (b) households where at least one adult household member has been currently unemployed for at least 90 days or (c) households with minor children or (d) households that have received an eviction notice from the Court system or (e) households that have not received any prior assistance or have received less than 10 months of rental assistance from Orange County. Please note that such prioritization only applies to the order of the County’s processing of program applications and does not affect eligibility.

When completing my online application, can I save it and come back to if later?

Yes. You can save your application information on Neighborly (application portal software) until you are ready to submit. Once you submit, you cannot add any additional information or documents until you are contacted by a reviewer.

What if my application is incomplete?

Even if you know your submitted application was incomplete, you cannot add any additional information to your application after you submit it. County staff will contact you when your application is under review to advise you on any information or documents that you still need to submit to complete your application.

Where can I check the status of my application?

You will receive a case number as soon as you complete an application in the Neighborly application portal. You may use this number to log into the system using your email and password to check your application status at any time. Please note that application status is only provided through the  Neighborly application portal due to the volume of applications received. Status updates will not be provided by email or phone.

Do I have to pay back the money?

No. Program-approved tenants do not have to pay back the money unless the funds were not used to pay your landlord as required by the program or fraudulent information was submitted in order to obtain funds.

Who can I contact if I have any questions?

Tenants can contact Orange County Government Information Help Line by dialing 407-836-3111 or 311 for more information regarding the Orange County COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

NOTE: Orange County’s 311 Help Line does not have access to the Neighborly application portal to provide a case status update. For this information, please go online to Neighborly, enter your case number and click on “Status.”

What if I forgot my case number?

Log onto the Neighborly application portal using your email and password and you will be able to access your case number.

If my application is approved, will I get a notification?

Yes. You will receive an approval email which will include the approved amount and the months that are being covered by the program.

What if I do not meet the criteria for the program?

We recommend you visit our Resident Resources  webpage or call 2-1-1 for a list of local programs available to help residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.