Quick Tips and Local Resources for Renters

Posted By: Trinity Kutschinski COVID-19 , Industry ,

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. 

For additional information regarding CARES Act-funded program application deadlines, click here. 

As part of Congress passing a second stimulus bill on December 21st, additional CARES Act funding, as well as, an extension of the funding use timeline was included. Many state and local CARES Act funded programs are awaiting funding allocations to decided whether or not the program will be extended. Programs that have already extended their deadlines can be found below. 

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.

Visit central Florida CareerSource Website

Orange County

Orange County Eviction Diversion Program- Application Deadline Extended until January 29, 2021.

Learn more about Eviction Diversion Program requirements.

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.

Program Overview

  • 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.
  • Application Deadline EXTENDED: Wednesday, December 16, 2020. January 29, 2021.

Apply to Participate in Orange County's Eviction Diversion Program

Orange County Individual and Family Assistance Program- CURRENTLY CLOSED.

The County's Individual and Family Assistance Program will reopen to accept applications on Thursday, December 17, 2020, at 8:00 AM. CURRENTLY CLOSED.

  • Per expanded criteria, the program now allows multiple applicants per household to apply for funding. If one individual in a household has previously applied/received funding, someone else in that household can apply and potentially be approved to receive funding. 
  • New applicants must meet all additional eligibility requirements included on the program page.

Visit Application Portal 

The City of Orlando- CURRENTLY CLOSED.

City of Orlando CARES Individual Rent Assistance Program

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. 

  • Deadline- The program portal has reopened and will accept applications now until December 15, 2020.
  • If you have a resident who has or may have applied, please view the City's itemized application instructions, checklist and required documentation, here.

Apply for City of Orlando CARES Funding

Osceola County

COVID-19 Housing Assistance

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. 

Osceola County COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program

Osceola Council on Aging Building Strong Families Housing Stability Program

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.

About the Building Strong Families CARES Act Housing Stability Program

Osceola County has a COVID-19 resource page that outlines a variety of community assistance programs that may be available to individuals. 

View Other Osceola County COVID-19 Resident Resources

All of Osceola County's Assistance Programs will be extended until June 2021.

Seminole County

Seminole CARES Individual Assistance 

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

Residents should include their name, phone number, and a brief narrative about their current eviction situation. Community Services staff will review the submitted request and respond accordingly.

Deadline- Soft deadline of the second week of December to ensure funding disbursement prior to December 30, 2020. 

Eviction Help Email

Seminole County has a COVID-19 resource page that outlines a variety of community assistance programs that may be available to individuals. 

View Other Seminole County COVID-19 Resources

Lake County

Lake CARES Resident Assistance Grant Program

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. Lake County's CARES Act programs are now closed. 

Visit Lake CARES

Read Phase 2 Resident Assistance Program FAQs

Volusia County

COVID-19 Rental 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. 

Apply for Volusia County COVID-19 Rental Assistance

Volusia County has a COVID-19 resource page that outlines a variety of community assistance programs that may be available to individuals. 

View Other Volusia County COVID-19 Resources

For additional information regarding CARES Act-funded program application deadlines, click here.