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How to Claim Your Unpaid Rent Through the COVID-19 Rent Relief Program

Landlords can now apply for the State of California’s COVID-19 Rent Relief program, which is offering $2.6 billion in federal rental assistance.

Landlords who are approved for the state’s Rent Relief program may get reimbursed for 80% of an eligible renter’s unpaid rent for the period between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. This is contingent on the landlord agreeing to waive the remaining 20% of unpaid rent for that time period.

Even if landlords choose not to participate, renters may still apply to receive 25% of unpaid rent for the period between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. A tenant’s income is a major factor in whether they qualify for relief, and applications will be prioritized by need.

Los Angeles also opened applications to its $235.5-million rent-relief program, an effort to keep city residents housed and allow landlords to pay their bills after a challenging year. The program, called the 2021 COVID-19 Emergency Renters Assistance Program, is funded through the December federal stimulus bill.

The city expects there to be more demand than there is money available and will pick applications at random, while prioritizing those with incomes at or below 30% of area median income. If the money runs out before everyone gets help, there is additional rent-relief money on the way from the federal American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law this month.

Renters accepted for the Rent Relief program may also be eligible for future rent assistance equal to 25% of their monthly rent. Combined with the assistance available for unpaid rent, future assistance will help renters stay housed once the eviction protections in SB 91 expire on June 30. Assistance for unpaid utilities may also be available.



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