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The CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program is still accepting applications for eligible renters and landlords who had financial hardship due to COVID-19 and need help with unpaid rent or utilities dating back to April 1, 2020. 

  • Renters and landlords are both encouraged to apply. 

  • You may qualify regardless of immigration status and will not be required to show proof of citizenship. 

  • Assistance from the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program does NOT count as earned income (for renters) and will NOT affect eligibility for any other state benefit assistance programs, such as CalFresh or CalWORKS. 

  • All applicant information is kept private and will not be shared. 

  • Applications are being accepted on an ongoing basis. Priority assistance will be given to eligible households most arisk of eviction. 

  • Once an application has been successfully processed, both the landlord and renter will be notified of next steps. 

Complete the Application Completa la Aplicacion

For more information or assistance call the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Call Center 1-833-687-0967 (7 days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) 

Download Resources: 
Several local partners may also be able to help:
Eviction Protection Information:

After September 30, 2021, renters will no longer be protected from eviction unless they apply for the California COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program. Beginning October 1, 2021, your landlord must apply for rental assistance before they can try to evict you through the courts for failing to pay your rent.

If you have received an eviction notice or anticipate receiving a notice due to unpaid rent, you have 15 business days to apply for rent relief. You should notify your landlord once you have submitted your application (or intend to).

You are only protected from eviction due to non-payment of COVID-related rent debt if you apply for relief.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I still apply for rent relief?

Yes! The CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program is still accepting applications.

 

The program does not currently have a deadline, but because funding will run out, renters are encouraged to apply as soon as possible if they know they may struggle to cover past or prospective rent and utilities.
 Who Is Eligible for Rent Relief?
 Renters: If you have been impacted by COVID-19, if your income is less than 80% of SLO County’s local median income (check your income eligibility here) and have unpaid rent or utilities, or need help with future rent or utilities, you may apply for the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program. 

Landlords: If you have renters who are behind on their rent and need financial assistance to support this income loss, you may apply for the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program, so long as: 

  • Your renter’s household is income eligible (the state will calculate this when they apply). 

  • All payments you receive must be used to satisfy the renter’s unpaid rent. The eligible timeframe for financial assistance dates back to April 1, 2020. 

  • Your renter/s must take steps to verify that they meet eligibility requirements and sign the application. They will be notified once your application is submitted and asked to submit their required information. 

Applicants will not be asked about their immigration status, nor will they be required to show proof of citizenship. 

What is covered under the Rent Relief Program? 

Landlords who participate in the program can get reimbursed for an eligible renter’s unpaid rent dating back to April 1, 2020. 

Eligible renters can receive assistance for unpaid rent dating back to April 1, 2020 as well as financial assistance for upcoming monthly rent, too.  

Eligible renters may also receive assistance for unpaid utility payments dating back to April 1, 2020, or for future utility payments, which will both be compensated at 100% of cost, limited to a total of 12 months, and paid directly to the utility provider.  

How much rent relief money can I receive? 
Renters and Landlords may receive up to 100% of unpaid rent dating back to April 1, 2020. Landlords and renters who have already applied before June 28, 2020 will automatically have their payments go up to 100%.  
What is the deadline to apply? 

There is not a set deadline.  Tenants may apply for this program as long as there are ERAP funds remaining. Tenants, however, are encouraged to apply as soon as possible because with the ending of the eviction moratorium on 9/30/21, having a completed ERAP application is a defense to allege in an unlawful detainer lawsuit.

What is covered under the utility relief? 

Renters may receive assistance on unpaid utilities from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 up to a total of 12 months. This assistance includes utilities and home energy costs that are not covered by the landlord and that are billed separately, such as electricity, gas, water/sewer, trash removal, and energy costs, such as fuel oil. Internet service is also an eligible cost. 

All payments for utilities and home energy costs should be supported by a bill, invoice, or evidence of payment to the provider of the utility or home energy service. Utilities and home energy costs that are covered by the landlord are treated as rent payments. Payments of utilities costs will be paid directly to a utility provider based on the utility bill information provided.  

Can I receive help with unpaid utility bills even if I do not want to apply for rent relief?  

Yes. Eligible renters may receive assistance for past due utilities payments even if they do not receive assistance for rentRenters may receive assistance on unpaid utilities from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 up to a total of 12 months. This assistance includes utilities and home energy costs that are not covered by the landlord and that are billed separately such as electricity, gas, water sewer, trash removal, and energy costs, such as fuel oil. Internet service is also an eligible cost. 

Utilities and home energy costs that are covered by the landlord are treated as rent payments, and as such renters should apply for rent relief to receive financial assistance.  

 
Does my landlord have to participate? 
Eligible renters whose landlords choose not to participate in the program may still apply on their own and receive assistance for unpaid rent dating back to April 1, 2020. The landlord will be notified and asked to sign off on and participate in the renter’s application process.   
Do my renters have to participate? 
Landlords are encouraged to start an application online at housingiskey.com. Once the landlord application is submitted, the system will send an email to the renter(s) asking them to start the associated tenant application and provide documentation to establish identity, residency, income, and any utility assistance needs not provided in the landlord application. If the renter does not have an email address, a call center representative will reach out to them.  
Who can help me with the application process? 
If you need assistance filling out an application, or uploading required paperwork, you may schedule an appointment with an organization near you by calling 833-687-0967. Several SLO County organizations are available to assist you with your application process: Five Cities Homeless CoalitionSalvation Army, and United Way  
What paperwork do I need to apply? 

Most of the information can be self-certified in the applicationyou will just need to provide proof of identification. We recommend locating as many of the following documents as possible to help you in the application process: 

Renters will need one of the following documents: 

  • 2020 Tax Return 

  • 2020 W2 and 1099G if you were unemployed 

  • Current pay stubs 

  • Proof of participation in a state or federal subsidy program such as CalFresh or CalWORKS (your 2020 or 2021 acceptance or renewal letter is preferred). 

If you are applying for help with utility bills, you will need to present utility invoices or statements for any unpaid utility, water, trash, and internet bills after April 1, 2020. 

Landlords with need one of the following documents: 

  • Lease or rental agreement reflecting renter’s name, residence address, and monthly rent due 

  • Rent ledger or rent statement showing the balance of unpaid rent from April 1, 2020 

  • W-9 (for tax purposes) 

If you have 10 or more tenants and would like to upload information for all of them at once when you apply, please fill out this form. 

 
How can I check on the status of my application? 
Once applications are submitted, applicants may monitor the status of their applications by logging into their Neighborly account here or by calling a program representative at 833-430-2122 (toll free) between 7 am and 7 pm seven days a week. Applicants will be automatically contacted by a program representative once their application is reviewed, or if the application is found to be missing required documentation.  
How do I know when a payment is made?
The landlord, renter, and/or utility provider will be notified automatically of payment by email after the renter, landlord, and pay request have been determined eligible and the payment has been verified by the payment team. Applicants can also check the status of their applications at any time through the online application portal at HousingIsKey.com, or by calling a program representative at 833-430-2122 (toll free) daily from 7 am – 7 pm. The status report will indicate whether and when a payment has been made.
Who will get the payment the renter or the landlord?

If the landlord agrees to participate in this program, payment will be made directly to the landlord on behalf of the eligible household. Even where a renter elects to apply for assistance directly, to the state must attempt to pay the landlord first.  

If the landlord refuses to participate, payment will be made directly to the renter. The same is true for utility payments that are owed to the landlord as required by the lease agreement. 

I am not able to pay my rent, what can I do to be protected from eviction?

Apply for the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program.
I have received an eviction notice, what steps can I take?

To delay or prevent eviction, the renter should apply for the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program within 15 business days from the time they are notified by the program that their landlord has started an application.

  • If the renter and landlord have both timely submitted a completed application with correct information and all required paperwork, both parties will be notified that the applications are complete, and the courts will not issue a summons until the program makes a determination on the application.
  • If the renter does not submit a completed application within 15 business days of notice from the program, then the court may proceed with the eviction lawsuit.
  • If the renter is deemed ineligible, their application will be denied and the court will be able to proceed with the eviction lawsuit against them.

California eviction protections change October 1, 2021. What happens now?

  • Renters continue to have special protections under state law, and rental assistance through the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program is still available.
  • If you have unpaid rent or are struggling to pay rent that will be due starting October 1, apply at housingiskey.com as soon as possible. Do not delay!
  • Communicate with your landlord immediately if you intend to apply for rent relief or have applied. If you receive any eviction papers (documents that contain words like “summons” or “complaint” or “unlawful detainer”), you should immediately seek legal assistance.