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COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program

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Information

In an effort to help curb the onslaught of possible evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners created the Orange County COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program.  The $20 million program is funded by the Federal CARES Act monies allotted locally and the Florida Housing CARES Act – Coronavirus Relief Funds.

The income-based program assists Orange County’s 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 Program provides up to $4,000 in past due rent for landlords and tenants who meet the eligibility criteria.

This Program is a partnership with the Orange County Bar AssociationCommunity Legal Services of Mid-Florida and other local legal assistance nonprofit agencies. The Orange County Bar Association will administer the program and process all applications. Orange County Government will provide final review of applications, and the Orange County Comptroller will provide payment directly to the landlords.

The pre-screening form for eligible tenants as well as full applications for landlords are now available. The tenant or landlord can initiate the application process; however, both must agree to participate. If you are not eligible for the program, we encourage you to contact Heart of Florida United Way 2-1-1 for a list of local programs available to assist residents.

This is not a rental assistance program, or a resource for mortgage relief. Homeowners with Federal or Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) backed mortgages can learn about forbearance or mortgage relief by visiting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. For more information on housing and utility assistance, please visit our Resident Resources webpage.

Apply Here

Landlords


Eligibility Criteria for Landlords

  • Upon execution of the program participation agreement by both the landlord and tenant, the landlord: (a) agrees to withdraw any currently filed eviction action against the tenants residing in the residential rental property (if such action has been filed); and (b) agrees not to file any such eviction action regarding the residential rental property for a period of twenty (20) business days from execution of the program participation agreement.
  • The Landlord must agree to accept up to $4,000 to cover the remainder of rent due and release all tenants residing in the residential rental property from any obligation to pay any rent amount due that exceeds that $4,000 maximum payment.
  • The landlord and tenant sign a contractual agreement which includes a workout that ensures the Landlord will not initiate the tenant eviction process for 60 days after receiving approval from Orange County (or it is mutually agreed to end the lease sooner).
  • The landlord agrees not to increase any participating tenant household’s rent through December 31, 2020.
  • The landlord agrees to waive all costs, fees and charges incurred as a result of non-payment or partial payment of rent during the impacted months.
  • The landlord has no current unpaid code enforcement liens or violation of any state, federal, or local laws.
  • The landlord has not been involved with financial mismanagement, including any conviction(s) for financial crimes within the last 3 years.
  • The Landlord will waive all costs, fees and charge incurred as a result of non-payment or partial payment or rent during the impacted months.
  • The Landlord can be based outside of Orange County but the rental property(ies) applied for rent arrears payment through this Eviction Diversion Program must be in Orange County, Florida.

Agreements

The following agreements documents for landlords and tenants provide a summary of expectations from both parties once an application has been successfully completed.

 

Tenants

Eligibility Criteria for Tenants

Tenants must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for the Eviction Diversion Program.

  • The tenant must be at least two behind in rent beginning April 1, 2020, and have received a written notice from their landlord indicating they will be evicted, or have received an invitation from their landlord (via the application portal software, Neighborly) to participate in the program, or a referral from court
  • The tenant is a resident of Orange County, Florida, residing in a residential rental property.
  • The residential rental property in question is the tenant’s primary residence.
  • The lease is in the tenant’s name (or, the tenant is one of the named tenants for the lease) and they are responsible for paying rent pursuant to that lease.
  • One or more adults residing at the residential rental property experienced a documented, involuntary loss of income that occurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • The date of the job loss or reduction in employment hours or pay that led to the involuntary loss of income occurred March 1, 2020 or after the Florida Surgeon General declared a State of Emergency in Florida.
  • The Tenant rent arrears were accrued beginning April 1, 2020
  • No other person residing at the rental property has applied for or will apply for the Orange County Eviction Diversion program or any other city, state, or federal program: duplicate applications will not be reviewed and immediately denied.
  • All landlords and all tenants of the rental property in question agree to participate in the program.
  • The tenant must demonstrate the ability to pay rent for the next 60-days after receipt of grant approval from Orange County.
  • The tenant has a written lease for the rental property.

The program is income-based and the Tenant will be required to show income before and after April 1, 2020.  The projected annual 2020 income must fall within any of these brackets:

Income Category

Area Median Income (AMI): $68,100 (Family of four)

Household Size Very Low
(50% of AMI)
Low
(80% of AMI)
Moderate
(105% of AMI)
1 $25,450 $40,750 $50,100
2 $29,100 $46,550 $57,250
3 $32,750 $52,350 $64,400
4 $36,350 $58,150 $71,550
5 $39,300 $62,850 $77,300
6 $42,200 $67,500 $83,000
7 $45,100 $72,150 $88,750
8 $48,000 $76,800 $94,450

Tenant & Household Members Documentation

Documents providing proof of identity and relation to the rental address required for consideration for this grant include:

  • Photo identification cards or documents that prove the name and address of the tenant and each household member must be provided.
    • Any one of the following are acceptable forms of ID for Adults:
      • Driver’s license
      • Passport
      • State identification cards
      • Work identification cards
      • Birth certificate or school record for minors
    • Any one of the following are acceptable forms of ID for Minors:
      • Birth Certificate
      • School Record
  • Copy of the lease

COVID-19 Hardship Documentation

Please submit at least one of the following:

  • Letter or email from employer stating your job loss or reduced work schedule and hours (Note: letter or email must have your name) OR
  • Unemployment award letter/statement from Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) with unemployment amount and date range during COVID-19 (i.e. March-August 2020) OR
  • At least two paystubs, one paystub before COVID-19 and one current (most recent) paystub during COVID-19 showing reduced hours (Note: Paystubs must show your name) OR
  • At least two bank statements with transaction history that shows your income (deposits) before COVID-19 and one current bank statements that shows your reduced income (deposits) during COVID-19 – Bank statement must include your name
  • Any other verifiable document(s) that demonstrates a loss of income due to COVID-19, document must include your name
  • Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) benefit letter

Required Documents

  • Identification for all household members (see Tenant and Household Members Documentation)
  • Copy of the lease
  • COVID-19 Loss of income documentation (see COVID-19 Hardship Documentation)
  • Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s unemployment benefits letter for each adult household member

Agreements

The following agreements documents for landlords and tenants provide a summary of expectations from both parties once an application has been successfully completed.


 

For a condensed version of this information, please download our Eviction Diversion Fact Sheet PDF in English and in Spanish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How much funding is available for the Orange County COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program?
The Board of County Commissioners has approved $20 million in Federal CARES Act funding for the program to assist residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic either through loss or reduction of income.
How do I apply for the COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program?
Orange County residents that have received a written notice or a letter from their landlord to participate in the program can apply by completing the pre-screening form and online application through the Orange County web portal at www.ocfl.net/evictiondiversion. Both the Landlord and Tenant must agree to participate and complete the required forms.
When does the program portal open?
The portal opens on Tuesday, August 25th at 9 a.m.
When does the application process end?
The application process will end December 31, 2020 or when funds are depleted.
What is a COVID-19 Impact?
An involuntary loss or reduction of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see Tenant eligibility criteria for more information.
Does the landlord or tenant have to apply?
Either the landlord or tenant can apply. However, the landlord and tenant must both agree to participate in the program and complete portions of the online pre-screening form and application.
What are the Tenant eligibility criteria?
Please view the Tenants section.
What are the Landlord Eligibility Criteria?
Please view the Landlords section.
If a landlord has multiple tenants who need to apply for this program, does the landlord only need to fill out the application once?
No. The Landlord will need to complete an application for each lease.
What documents does the tenant need in order to apply?
Please view the Tenant & Household Members Documentation, COVID-19 Hardship Documentation, and Required Documents sections under Tenants and Landlords.
Does the property have to be the renter’s primary residence?
Yes, the property must be the tenant’s primary residence.
Does the lease have to be in the renter’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 does the tenant have to be to be eligible for the program?
The program is open for resident in imminent danger (at-risk) of eviction and are at least two months behind in rent with the past due beginning April 1, 2020
Who will receive the payments?
The landlord will receive direct payment from the program.
How much assistance will I receive?
Orange County will pay up to $4,000 in past due rent and the remainder will need to be waived by the landlord.
When will a tenant be expected to pay rent again?
The Tenant must pay their rent for the next 60 days after receipt of program approval from Orange County
Am I able to apply for the COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program if I previously applied for AND received assistance from the County’s COVID-19 Rental Assistance program or Orange CARES for Residents?
Yes, if you meet the eligibility criteria.
Am I able to apply for the COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program if I previously applied for and did NOT receive assistance from the County’s COVID-19 Rental Assistance program or Orange CARES for Residents?
Yes, if you meet the eligibility criteria.
Is this program available for residents who live outside of unincorporated Orange County (e.g., in cities in Orange County)?
Yes. The program is open to all residents who live within the boundaries of Orange County. Cities in Orange County include Apopka, Bay Lake, Belle Isle, Eatonville, Edgewood, Lake Buena Vista, Maitland, Oakland, Ocoee, Orlando, Windermere, Winter Garden and Winter Park.
Where can I get a copy of my paystubs?
Employees receive their paystubs through the mail or online during their typical pay period. Workers can also contact their employer directly for a copy of their paystubs.
Where can I get a copy of my eviction notice?
The landlord must have provided you with a copy of the eviction notice.
What happens after the tenant completes the pre-screening form and agrees to participate in the program?
An automated message will be sent to the Landlord. Your landlord has five business days to consent to the program. This is a first come, first ready program.
When completing the online application, can I save and come back to my application?
Yes, you can save your information on Neighborly (application portal software) until you are ready to submit.
May I edit my documents after I submit my application?
No. Documents cannot be edited after the application has been submitted.
What if my application is incomplete?
Applications will be automatically rejected if documents are missing, falsified or illegible
Where can I check the status of my application?
You will receive a case number as soon as you complete the pre-screening form in Neighborly (application portal software). You may use this number to check your application status at any time.
What is the approval process?
The Orange County Bar Association will administer the program and review all applications, and required documents submitted by the tenant and landlord to verify eligibility. Orange County staff will complete a final review of applications and process payment directly to the landlord for approved applicants.
Do I have to pay back the money?
No. Residents do not have to pay back the money. However, fund distribution will be reported to the IRS.
Who can I contact if I have any questions?
Residents can contact Orange County Government Information at 407-836-3111 or 311 for more information regarding the Orange County COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program.
If my application is approved, will I get a notification?
Yes, you will receive an email with status of your application and you may check the status with your Neighborly case number.
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.

Community Partners

Thank you to our valued community partners for this program.

  • Orange County BAR Association
  • Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association, Inc.
  • Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida
  • Heart of Florida United Way
  • Apartments Association of Greater Orlando

Contact Us

General Questions
Dial 407-836-3111