There are forty-three (43) million renter households across the United States. As housing providers, supplying 43 million households with places to call home is not a responsibility landlords take lightly. In challenging times like we are currently experiencing it is more important than ever to work together, housing providers and renters alike, to ensure housing stability.
In the early days of the pandemic, before local, state, and federal mandates, the rental housing industry stepped up to help renters who, in the face of COVID-19, fell on hard times. Many housing providers waived late fees, set up partial payment plans, and in some instances, help their residents file for unemployment.
If you are a renter experiencing hardship, below are a few quick tips and local resources that may serve to assist you in navigating these times of uncertainty.
Renter Resources & Tips
Now more than ever, it is important to both understand and fulfill your obligations as a renter.
1. Communicate: Communication is key. If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, please talk to your housing provider/landlord. Many evictions and adverse actions can be or could have been avoided if both parties communicated, discussed possible options, etc. Housing providers understand the impact the pandemic has had on renters, and many have internal programs/protocols, information, or services to assist residents experiencing hardship. Evictions are a measure last resort and communicating with your landlord could help you avoid it.
2. Maintain Commitments: It is of paramount importance to understand and maintain your financial obligations as a renter. If you are unable to make your full rent payment discuss what options you may have with your landlord. Even making partial payments, if possible, can help you avoid having an insurmountable debt. Additionally, you may be eligible for rental assistance through various City or County programs or local charities. (See below for potential resources.)
3. Be Patient- As all of us continue to navigate otherwise uncharted waters, know that housing providers are working diligently to find and offer mutually beneficial solutions.
Local Resources for Renters
If you are experiencing COVID-19 related financial hardship, many counties across central Florida have established assistance programs that you may qualify for. The resources below have been broken down by County. Click on the gold text and/or button under any item for additional information.
Central Florida CareerSource
If you have experienced a loss of wages or a job, central Florida CareerSource may be able to assist residents with career consultations, job search preparation, resume assistance, and more.
Orange County's Eviction Diversion Program aims to serve as an alternative to the eviction process. It is designed to assist residents who are in imminent danger of facing eviction due to COVID-19.
- The County will fund up to 100% of past rent due up to $4,000, agreeing to waive the remaining amount due.
- Funds will be dispersed directly to the housing provider.
- Both the housing provider and landlord must agree to participate in the program.
- The program can be initiated by either a housing provider and/or a resident.
The County's Individual and Family Assistance Program will reopen to accept applications on Saturday, October 24, 2020, at 8:00 AM.
- The program will allow 10,000 residents into the application portal before closing for processing.
- Please note, the program portal is now closed for application processing.
The City of Orlando
The Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW) will be managing the City's CARES rental assistance program. HFUW will provide case management allowing households meeting eligibility requirements to receive up to $10,000 in rent assistance per household.
- The City of Orlando's Rental Assistance Program Portal is currently closed.*
- If you have a resident who has or may have applied, please view the City's itemized application instructions, checklist and required documentation, here.
Osceola County's Housing Office announced it will be reopening its COVID-19 housing assistance program on Monday, October 5th at 8:00 AM. Qualified applications will receive assistance based on the order of a randomized lottery. Additional program requirements and application information can be found via the button below.
The Building Strong Families CARES Act Housing Stability Program aims to reduce the impact of unemployment during COVID-19. The program provides rent or mortgage assistance to a qualifying individual's landlord/housing provider. Eligibility requirements can be accessed via the button below.
Osceola County has a COVID-19 resource page that outlines a variety of community assistance programs that may be available to individuals.
The Seminole CARES Individual Assistance Program is designed to assist individuals who have been economically impacted by COVID-19. Due to an overwhelming amount of applications, the program's portal is currently closed to allow current applications to be processed and will be reopened if funding is not exhausted.
- Seminole CARES Individual Grant Hotline- 877-330-1818
- (Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM- 6:00 PM)
Seminole County Eviction Prevention eHelpline
The County has activated an eviction prevention email hotline for Seminole County residents facing eviction. Community Services ask that individuals include their name, phone number, and a brief narrative about their current circumstances.
Seminole County has a COVID-19 resource page that outlines a variety of community assistance programs that may be available to individuals.
Lake County's Phase 2 Resident Assistance Program began accepting applications on Monday, October 26th and will remain open until Monday, November 30th at 11:00 PM. The program will provide applications with up to $4,000 in rent or mortgage assistance.
Volusia County will accept applications from households that have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Eligible applications may receive funding to cover up to three months worth of rent.
Volusia County has a COVID-19 resource page that outlines a variety of community assistance programs that may be available to individuals.
Rental Assistance Map Overview
Watch the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando's Chief Executive Officer, Chip Tatum give a few quick tips for renters.