Many South Florida renters, like renters across the country, are facing a scary, looming deadline. On July 31, the CDC ban of evictions will expire. Unless the moratorium on evictions is extended, landlords can begin eviction proceedings against renters that have fallen behind on their payments during the COVID-19 financial crisis. The goods news is that there’s a program that can help renters catch up on their payments. It’s called the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).
Consolidated Credit’s housing counseling team has partnered with Broward County and the City of Fort Lauderdale to provide free rental emergency assistance counseling. Any South Florida renter can get their ERAP questions answered and receive guidance on how to complete the application. We’ve also provided more information on each of the county rental assistance programs below for Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County.
To help renters learn more about this critically needed program, we talked to Barry Rothman, housing program manager for Consolidated Credit.
Common Questions about Emergency Rental Assistance
What is ERAP?
Emergency Rental Assistance Programs, we’re seeing them come up in a lot of different locations. And there’s an overlay of different programs.
So, in Broward County, they’ve received money from the federal government to offer assistance to people who have had a loss of income or reduction of income through no fault of their own due to COVID. And it could be anything from someone who had a lost income, they lost their job, their job was on furlough for a while, or it could be that they lost their job and now they have a new job but at a lower salary.
So, the program will pay for your arrears up to 12 months, plus it will pay up to three months in advance going forward for your future rent.
Will this program pay my rent for me?
The program will literally help you pay your rent, help you catch up, and then can even help you going forward. But they’re also going to pay for utilities that are in arrears. So, it’s going to help you get back on your feet and not lose your apartment.
How do I know which program is right for me?
If you live in Broward County and you don’t live in the City of Fort Lauderdale or in a city that has its own program, you want to apply for the Broward program immediately. If you don’t live in Broward County, then you want to apply for the state program. If you live in the City of Fort Lauderdale, you have a choice. You can go to the Fort Lauderdale program, or I can go to the state program as well.
So, there are choices for people, which is one of the great things. It seems confusing, but it’s all the same money and it helps you in the same way.
Can I get help with the application?
Absolutely. You can call a housing counselor. Consolidated Credit, for instance, we will talk to you and find out which works best for you based on where you live. And we’ll make a recommendation to you and we’ll point you in the right direction.
Do I need to inform my landlord?
Absolutely. So, your landlord must apply at the same time that you do. Your applications have to match together. So, what will happen is that you will apply as a tenant for all of these programs and your landlord will apply as the landlord.
When you apply as a tenant, you’re going to list information about your landlord and that will enable the program—if the landlord hasn’t reached out already to the program—to actually reach back out to the landlord to get them to fill out their application.
In their application, they have to provide information about you as the renter, information about them as a landlord. And they have to do things like provide a ledger that shows where you’ve paid, where you haven’t paid. And that cross-reference what you say is missing, what is in arrears on your rent from before.
So, it all works and has to come together. And they match that data up and then they pay the landlord directly on the program.
When should I apply?
If you’re behind on your rent and you’re behind 30 days or more, you want to apply now. First of all, the moratorium on evictions ends on June 30th. So, after that point, a landlord can choose to evict. But you want to apply today.
You don’t want to wait and see if things improve. Consider that you’re going to have government taxpayer money that you’ve paid into the system for will come back now and help you with your arrears. So, that will cover your arrears and your money can now go forward for your future rents.
More emergency rental assistance questions answered
Although there is no deadline for the program, it is on a first-come, first-serve basis. You want to apply as soon as possible to ensure you get the funds you need before they run out.
Emergency rental assistance funds can be used to cover past-due or current rent payments and past-due or current utilities. Programs for specific states, counties, or municipalities may have different rules on how many months of past-due (arrears) payments can be covered.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program has been expanded, so if you’ve previously been turned down apply again. You may get approved under a new ERAP even if you were denied under a previous program.
Not at all. The money you receive through an Emergency Rental Assistance Program is essentially a gift. Not only do you not need to pay it back, but it’s also not treated as taxable income according to the IRS. So, you do not need to pay it back and you will not be taxed on the money in next year’s income taxes.
Rental Assistance in Miami-Dade County
Miami-Dade County residents can currently apply for rental assistance through Miami-Dade’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program 2.3 (ERAP 2.3). Act quickly because the current deadline states that all applications must be received by Friday, July 9 at 5 p.m. (EST).
If you miss the deadline, call 1-800-435-2261 to speak with a HUD-certified housing counselor about your options. You may still be able to apply for the state program!
- You must be a Miami-Dade resident
- You were unable to pay your full rent as a result of a COVID-19 financial hardship
- Your household income must not exceed 80% of the annual Area Median Income (AMI) for a household of your size in Miami-Dade County
- Single-person household: $50,650 maximum AMI
- Two-person household: $57,850 maximum AMI
- Three-person household: $65,100 maximum AMI
- Four-person household: $72,300 maximum AMI
- Five-person household: $78,100 maximum AMI
- Six-person household: $83,900 maximum AMI
- Seven-person household: $89,700 maximum AMI
- Eight-person household: $95,450 maximum AMI
- There must be an executed lease between you and the property owner or landlord
- You must certify that your household does not receive any other housing subsidies and that you are not wholly covered by a subsidized housing program
A case manager will contact you to explain how to submit the documentation needed to complete your application. The documentation required will include:
- Proof of financial hardship due to COVID-19, such as a layoff letter or unemployment claim
- Your current lease or pages to the lease that shows:
- The address of the home
- Amount of lease rent
- Term of the lease or if your lease is on a month-to-month basis
- Signature of you and your landlord
- Government-issued photo ID for all members of your household
- Proof of current income for all household members
- Information showing all months of assistance needed, such as a rent due notice showing the balance of rent owed
- A form that Miami-Dade county will provide that must be signed by all adult members of your household
Yes. Rental assistance application information will be matched between the tenant application and the landlord’s application. Landlords must submit their owner W-9 form and an agreement that the landlord will follow certain program conditions provided by the county.
The fastest way to apply—which is recommended in light of the deadline—is to apply online through MiamiDade.MyHousing.com. You can apply online in English, Spanish, or Creole.
You can also pick up applications and drop off completed forms at the following locations. These locations are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Northern Miami-Dade County
520 NW 75 Street
Miami, FL 33150
Southern Miami-Dade County
1542 SW 4 Street
Homestead, FL 33030
- Bal Harbour
- Bay Harbor Islands
- Biscayne Park
- Coral Gables
- Cutler Bay
- El Portal
- Florida City
- Golden Beach
- Hialeah Gardens
- Indian Creek
- Key Biscayne
- Miami Beach
- Miami Gardens
- Miami Lakes
- Miami Shores
- Miami Springs
- North Bay Village
- North Miami
- North Miami Beach
- Palmetto Bay
- South Miami
- Sunny Isles Beach
- Virginia Gardens
- West Miami
For questions or information on assistance with your Miami-Dade ERAP application, please call 305-723-1815 or email [email protected].
Rental Assistance in Broward County
Consolidated Credit’s housing counseling team is currently assisting Broward County residents with rental assistance applications. You can call 800-204-0557 to ask questions and get help to get through the application process.
NOTE: If you live in the City of Fort Lauderdale, there is a city program that you can apply for. Call us for more information about this program.
There are four types of expenses that Broward ERAP can help you cover:
- Up to 12 months of past-due rent, including contracted late fees
- Up to 12 months of past-due utility payments, including electric, gas, water, and trash removal
- Up to three months of future rent payments
- Relocation expenses, such as a rental security deposit, application fees, and even hotel costs
Eligible households can receive up to 12 months of assistance. However, you can also get additional three months if you can demonstrate the extra payments are needed to stabilize your household.
Eligibility for Broward ERAP is based on your household situation. An “eligible household” is defined as a rental household where at least one or more individuals meet the following criteria:
- Qualified for unemployment, experienced a reduction in income, or incurred significant costs as a result of financial hardship caused by COVID-19
- Is able to demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, such as an eviction notice, utility shutoff notice, or past-due notices
- You must have a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for a household of your size in Broward County
Priority will be given to applicants whose household income is at or below 50% of AMI, those who have been unemployed 90 days prior to the application, and anyone with an active eviction status.
You can apply for Broward County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program online. There are also four intake locations where you can apply in person if you do not have access to a computer or need assistance.
5701 W. Sunrise Blvd.
Plantation, FL 33313
Housing Foundation of America
2400 N. University Drive, Suite 200
Pembroke Pines, FL 333024
Housing Foundation of America
1773 N. State Road 7, Suite 101-D
Lauderhill, FL 33313
Crisis Housing Solutions (at the Northwest Family Success Center)
10077 NW 29th St.
Coral Springs, FL 33065
You must call the scheduling hotline at 1-800-204-0557 to schedule an appointment. They will also go over all the documentation you will need to bring with you to complete the application.
Residents of the City of Fort Lauderdale can apply for rental assistance through their city program. You can call 1-800-204-0557 for more information.
The following cities and municipalities are eligible under the county program:
- Coconut Creek
- Cooper City
- Coral Springs
- Dania Beach
- Deerfield Beach
- Hallandale Beach
- Hillsboro Beach
- Lauderdale by the Sea
- Lauderdale Lakes
- Lazy Lake
- Lighthouse Point
- North Lauderdale
- Oakland Park
- Pembroke Park
- Pembroke Pines
- Pompano Beach
- Sea Ranch Lakes
- Southwest Ranches
- West Park
- Wilton Manors
Rental Assistance in Palm Beach County
Palm Beach County has an Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program as well that covers rent and utility payments. The program is open until further notice.
- You must be a Palm Beach County resident in a resident dwelling
- Your household income must be at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for a household of your size
- You must qualify for unemployment or experienced a reduction in income either directly or indirectly as a result of COVID-19
- You must be able to demonstrate a risk of homelessness or housing instability, such as providing eviction or past-due payment notices
Households will be given priority status if the household income is at or below 30% AMI, there is an eviction notice or a member of the household has been unemployed for more than 90 days.
The Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program in Palm Beach County will help you cover:
- Up to 12 months of back rent, not including past-due rent owed prior to March 19, 2020.
- Up to 12 months of past-due utilities
- Up to three months of future rent payments, once arrears are paid
You can apply online through rentalassistancepbc.org. You can also receive in-person assistance through participating library branches in Palm Beach County. Assistance is available Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Participating library branches:
- Hagen Ranch Rd Branch, 14350 Hagen Ranch Rd, Delray Beach, FL 33446
- Gardens Branch, 11303 Campus Dr, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
- Okeechobee Branch, 5689 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL 33417
- Glades Rd Branch, 20701 95th Avenue South, Boca Raton, FL 33434
- Belle Glade Branch, 725 NW 4th St, Belle Glade, FL 33430
- Acreage Branch, 15801 Orange Blvd, Loxahatchee, FL 33470
- West Boca Branch, 18685 FL-7, Boca Raton, FL 33498 (TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
- Royal Palm Beach Branch, 500 Civic Center Way, Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411
- Greenacres Branch, 3750 Jog Rd, Greenacres, FL 33467
- Main Library Branch, 3650 Summit Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL 33406
You can demonstrate an indirect loss of income to qualify for rental assistance if:
- An individual that supported your household financially is no longer able to pay due to unemployment or loss of income caused by COVID-19
- You incurred costs by caring for someone who had COVID-19
- Your household experienced increased childcare costs due to COVID-19
- Your household had increased utility costs as a result of COVID-19
- You experienced an increase in medical costs due to COVID-19
- Belle Glade
- Boca Raton
- Boyton Beach
- Briny Breezes
- Cloud Lake
- Delray Beach
- Glen Ridge
- Gulf Steam
- Highland Beach
- Juno Beach
- Jupiter Inlet Colony
- Lake Clarke Shores
- Lake Park
- Lake Worth Beach
- Loxahatchee Groves
- Mangonia Park
- Ocean Ridge
- Palm Beach
- Palm Beach Gardens
- Palm Beach Shores
- Riviera Beach
- South Bay
- Town of South Palm Beach
- Village of Golf
- Village of North Palm Beach
- Village of Palm Springs
- Village of Royal Palm Beach
- West Palm Beach
If you need more information about Palm Beach County’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program, call 561-355-4792 or email [email protected].