Landlord & Tenant Program Assist with up to $4,000 in Past Due Rent
In an effort to help curb the onslaught of possible evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the Orange County COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program. The $20 million program launched on August 25, 2020, and is funded by the Federal CARES Act monies that are allotted locally. Of the $20 million allocated, $5.7 million is from the Florida Housing CARES Act- Coronavirus Relief Funds.
The income-based program is designed to help our most vulnerable tenants who are in imminent danger of eviction due to COVID-19 and provides the property owner with an alternative to eviction. The Orange County COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program will provide up to $4,000 in past due rent.
“COVID-19 adds a lot of stress to our lives. One thing I don’t want our Orange County residents – especially the very low and low income – is to have to worry about being evicted from their homes,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “This new assistance program will help our residents stay afloat during this unprecedented time.”
The COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program is a partnership with the Orange County Bar Association, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida and local legal assistance nonprofit agencies. The Orange County Bar Association will administer the program and process all applications. Orange County Government will finalize applications, and the Orange County Comptroller will provide payment directly to the landlords.
The application is available at the online portal on Orange County’s website at www.ocfl.net/EvictionDiversion. The tenant or landlord can initiate the application process; however, both must agree to participate. Program details will be posted on the Orange County Cares Act website in the coming week. The tenant eligibility criteria are listed below.
The tenant eligibility criteria include:
- Orange County resident
- Property is the tenant’s primary residence
- Lease is in the tenant’s name and responsible for paying a portion or the full amount
- One or more members of the household experienced a documented, involuntary loss of income that occurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency
- Date of job loss, reduction in employment hours or pay occurred between March 13 (Orange County Stay at Home Order Issued) and September 1, 2020
- Must have received an eviction notice, letter from their landlord to participate in the program or referral from the court
- At least two months behind in rent
- No other person in the household has applied for or will apply for the Orange County Eviction Diversion Program
- Required to certify their household income prior to and after April 1
- Eligibility is income-based with a focus on very low and low income
- Demonstrates ability to pay rent after arrears are paid by Orange County