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FAQ: Behind on Rent? Apply for Rent Relief Before March 31 Deadline

Here's a guide to help you navigate the application process for rent relief.

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Residents who are behind on rent or utility payments and landlords who are struggling due to COVID-19 related hardships can still apply for rent relief through March 31.

Below is a guide with links to resources to help you navigate the process.

What is the Rent Relief Program?

The program offers free financial assistance to landlords and renters who need help with unpaid or future rent or utilities, according to the state's website.

It is part of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. It was signed into California law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in January 2021.

Tenants earning less than 80% of the area median income will be protected through a pre-eviction diversion process through the courts, so long as they have submitted a completed application for rental relief through either the state or a locally administered program, according to Newsom's Office. Applicants won't be asked about citizenship.

California has committed $5.2 billion in rental relief funds for California residents. Nearly $2.5 billion has been paid out, with an average of $11,488 per household as of Tuesday, according to the state's rent relief dashboard.

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Who qualifies?

Renters impacted by COVID-19 who have unpaid rent or utilities and landlords who have renters behind on the rent and need financial help. The state determines whether renters and landlords are eligible in an online application.

What documents will you need to apply?

Renters will need the following:

  • 2020 Tax Return;
  • 2020 W2 and 1099G if you were unemployed;
  • Current pay stubs;
  • Your 2020 or 2021 acceptance or renewal letter for participation in a state or federal subsidy program such as CalFresh or CalWORKS.

For help with utility bills, you'll need:

  • Utility invoices or statements for any unpaid utility, trash, and internet bills after April 1, 2020.

Landlords will need:

  • 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-8 or W-9.

For further information and to apply, click here.

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