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I'm a RENTER

Both the renter and the landlord must submit an application through this portal. Payment will be made directly to the landlord on behalf of the renter.

Renters can apply for up to 12 months of overdue or late rent and utility bills for homes in Escambia County. An additional three months can be included if the local government determines that the household needs additional assistance to avoid eviction or secure housing stability. Rent and utility bills must have occurred after March 13, 2020.

Utilities paid by the landlord and in the landlord’s name are only covered expenses in this program if they are bundled as part of rent payment. Reasonable late fees for rental units may be paid as specified in written lease agreements.

Failure to pay rent, or the incurrence of late fees must be directly or indirectly due to the COVID‐19 pandemic


Detailed Eligibility Requirements

In order to participate in the Escambia County Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program, renters must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Renters must be a resident of Escambia County, Florida. Residents of the City of Pensacola and the Town of Century ARE considered Escambia County residents.
    • Residency is determined by providing a current rental agreement signed by the landlord and applicant that identifies the address of the unit where the applicant resides and establishes the rental payment amount.
    • Self-attestation is allowed in certain cases (such as no written lease). CLICK HERE for full Policies and Procedures.
  • Renters must have one of the following current and valid government issued photo ID - state-issued driver’s license, identification card or a US Passport.
  • Renters must have a financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. job loss due to closure of business due to COVID-19; layoff due to COVID-19, etc.).
    • Financial hardship related to COVID-19 would be determined if COVID-19 disrupted the renter’s ability to earn income and cover rent and/or utilities for an extended period of time.
    • Financial hardship or loss of employment can be demonstrated using Federal/state income tax documentation, unemployment benefits documentation, and/or correspondence from former employers.
    • The county will make the final determination if impact was due to COVID-19.
    • See below for required income documentation
  • The total household income must be at or below 80% of the local Area Median Income (Local AMI) based on household size as updated annually by HUD.
    • A household is an individual, family or group of individuals living together in a unit of housing.

      Household Size

      1

      2

      3

      4

      5

      6

      7

      Income

      $38,750.00

      $44,250.00

      $49,800.00

      $55,300.00

      $59,750.00

      $64,150.00

      $68,600.00

    • All household members 18 and older must provide current income, by providing one or more of the following:
      • Preferred types of income documentation
        • 1040 Tax Return for 2020
        • 1040 Tax Return transcript for 2020
        • IRS Form 8879 for 2020
        • Form W-2 Wage statement for 2020
        • Determination letter from another government agency that verifies the applicant’s household income (i.e., City of Pensacola Housing Office, Public Housing Agency)—note when selecting this option, that your household will be considered at the 80% AMI level for prioritization purposes
      • Acceptable alternate income documentation; may require additional verification
        • Two recent consecutive months of check stubs
        • Bank statements demonstrating regular income
        • Attestation from employer
        • Pension/Retirement statement
        • Monthly social security administration statements
        • All household members 18 and over with no income must provide a current bank statement OR Affidavit of No Income (if household members(s) do not have a bank account).
        • Self-attestation is allowed in certain cases. CLICK HERE for full Policies and Procedures.
    • All household members 18 and over with no income must provide a current bank statement OR Affidavit of No Income (if household members(s) do not have a bank account).
    • Self-attestation is allowed in certain cases. CLICK HERE for full Policies and Procedures.
  • One or more individuals within the household must demonstrate risk of homelessness or housing instability.
    • Risk of homelessness or housing instability is determined by submitting one of the following:
      • Eviction notice or other formal correspondence from a landlord or property manager
      • Late notices on internet, childcare, health insurance, vehicle loans, vehicle insurance, other loan and/or credit cards
      • Documentation of new (after March 13, 2020) loans from individuals, banks, pawn shops, and/or payday lenders
      • Signed statement on letterhead from government or not-for-profit community agency attesting to the household’s history of applying for assistance and risk of housing instability and/or homelessness during COVID-19.
  • Renters must NOT have received rent or utility assistance from another entity for the same months applied for under this program. This includes assistance from government agencies, non-profits or private providers.
    • Assistance received from another government agency (including the State’s OurFlorida/ERA program), non-profit or private provider shall not be for rental or utility assistance or duplicate the benefit to be received from Escambia County for the same month(s) of assistance.
    • To expedite the application process, the county recommends that applicants disclose all housing and utility assistance received during COVID-19 and specify whether such forms of assistance were provided on a one-time or recurring basis. Acceptable documentation for such disclosures includes financial records and official correspondence from the entity providing the assistance.
  • Renters must have documentation that their need for rental and/or utility assistance is due to the impact or hardship created by COVID-19. The following circumstances related to COVID-19 could demonstrate this need:
    • Job/employment loss after March 13, 2020 (i.e. statement from employer on letterhead)
    • Reduction in hours/pay
    • Copy of Unemployment Insurance Benefits statement
    • Documentation of extraordinary out of pocket expenditures due to school closures, medical expenses, etc. resulting in economic hardship
    • Other income loss with documentation (i.e. verified stipend loss, child support, etc.)

High Priority Households

“High Priority Households” are those renters meeting all eligibility requirements as defined by the Treasury’s ERAP guidelines. They will need to document that they meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Household income is at or below 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) for Escambia County; or
  2. At least one household member (as listed on the lease) is currently unemployed and has been unemployed for at least ninety days prior to the date of application completion.

A household is an individual, family or group of individuals living together in a unit of housing.

Household Size

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Income

$24,200.00

$27,650.00

$31,100.00

$34,550.00

$37,350.00

$40,100.00

$42,850.00

For the first three weeks of the program, High Priority Households applications will be processed first.

After that date, High Priority Households will be processed prior to non‐High Priority households as administratively feasible.


Unsafe or Unhealthy Living Conditions

If you believe the rental unit you occupy is unsafe or unhealthy you will be asked to describe the unsafe conditions and provide photographs (if applicable). You, as the renter, will be asked to certify or verify under penalty of perjury that the information they have provided is true and correct.

The county will evaluate the documentation and compare it to current building codes or similar guidelines. If the county determines there is sufficient evidence of possible violations that may create an unsafe or unhealthy living environment, the county will attempt to contact the landlord or property manager.

The landlord or property manager will be asked to provide a response statement and/or plan to remediate. Where possible, the county will work to incentivize remediation of the unsafe or unhealthy living conditions by agreeing to pay eligible back rent once they provide evidence that the conditions have been corrected. If the landlord is not responsive within seven calendar days, or responds with a refusal to participate, the county may proceed in determining the applicant’s eligibility for relocation to other rental housing in Escambia County.

The costs of relocation, should it occur, would include deposits and required first and last month rent payment along with utility activation /turn‐off/ turn‐on costs and prospective rent as deemed eligible.

If the unsafe or unhealthy living condition is unrelated to the landlord or property manager, such as homelessness, congregate living conditions, or lack of utilities due to non-payment, the county will work with the applicant to determine what assistance is available from the ERAP. The County may refer the applicant to other partners and/or programs if appropriate.