NOW AVAILABLE: FLORIDA UTILITY AND RENT RELIEF PROGRAM
Florida’s Department of Children and Families has recently launched a new website allowing landlords and tenants to apply for utility and rental assistance. This department has allocated $850 million to be disbursed among qualified applicants to help relieve some of the financial burdens placed on landlords and tenants as a result of the pandemic.
WHO CAN APPLY?
Both landlords and tenants are encouraged to apply. Landlords can apply on behalf of their tenants with proper identification documentation. The tenant’s signature is also required to verify that all the information on the application is correct.
WHERE DO I APPLY?
The Florida Department of Children and Families has launched a new website for landlords and tenants to apply for utility and rental assistance : OURFlorida.com
WHAT DO I NEED TO APPLY?
Landlords will need the following information in order to apply:
- Government Identification (Driver’s License, Birth certificate and/or passport)
- Bank deposit information
- Property ownership verification
- Notice of eviction, an eviction court filing and/or notice of late rent.
Tenants will need the following information in order to apply:
- Government Identification (Driver’s License, Birth certificate, and/or passport)
- Copy of current lease agreement or proof of rental arrangements
- Proof of income and/or documentation of annual income
- Proof of eligibility documentation for programs like SNAP, TANF, Medicaid and/or subsidized housing
- Proof of loss of income or unemployment
- Proof of increased medical expenses, child care and travel costs due to COVID-19
- Notice of eviction, an eviction court filing, notice of past due rent, or government issued failed inspection report
- Earn an income of or below 80% of the areas median income (AMI)
- Have qualified for unemployment, experienced some sort of loss of income, incurred significant costs or faced financial hardship due to COVID-19 health crisis.
- Are facing eviction or experiencing unsafe/unhealthy living conditions.
HOW MUCH ASSISTANCE AM I ELIGIBLE FOR?
Once the required documentation is received a team from the Florida Department of Children and Families will review the information to determine eligibility. If additional information, documentation or verification is needed in order to complete the review process then the applicant will be notified.
If the application is complete with all necessary documentation and the applicant is deemed eligible, the applicant will be notified and the payment will be calculated.
The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) will review the current fully executed lease agreement to determine the mutually agreed upon rental payment amounts. For landlords without a fully executed lease agreement, there are options available on their website as well.
Any and all notices of late rent, eviction and written notices must be presented to validate the amount of late payments.
To qualify for utility bill relief, applicants must provide proof of utility bills in the name of the tenant reflecting the address after April 1, 2020. Be sure to keep in mind that telephone, cable and internet are not considered utilities.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I APPLY?
If the applicant has been approved, the Florida Department of Children and Families will determine the exact amount to which the applicant is eligible to receive through the OUR Florida Program. This program will provide payments directly to the landlord and/or utility providers.
If you want to learn more about the DCF’s program offering utility and rental assistance,
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INFORMATION SOURCED FROM “NOW AVAILABLE: LANDLORD APPLICATIONS FOR $850M IN RENT RELIEF” BY KERRY SMITH; MAY 11, 2021. https://www.floridarealtors.org/news-media/news-articles/2021/05/now-available-landlord-applications-850m-rent-relief
ACCESSED MAY 18, 2021.