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The City of Los Angeles will cover as much as 80% of your past-due rent

The city’s latest rent assistance program will provide some relief to those most in need.

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano

Both California and Los Angeles County have placed a moratorium on pandemic-caused evictions through this June, in addition to previously providing some monthly assistance. But what happens after June, when suddenly some of the hardest hit Angelenos have thousands of dollars in unpaid rent they need to start paying off?

To help, the City of Los Angeles has introduced an emergency renters assistance program that will cover 80% of past-due rent for those lower-income Angelenos who are selected. Through a mix of federal and state funding, the city expects to help 64,000 families through $259 million that’s now available to fight evictions and provide direct rent assistance. Applications open on March 30 (don’t worry, they’re not first-come, first-served, so you have a month to submit) and recipients will eventually be chosen at random.

In order to apply, you need to meet three key requirements:

1. You need to live in the City of Los Angeles (immigration status doesn’t matter). Since the city’s borders are a little all over the place, you might want to actually check that you live within the city’s jurisdiction.

2. One or more people in your household must have qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced other financial hardship as a direct result of the pandemic.

3. Your household income is at or below 50% of the area median income (AMI). If you’re solo, that means an annual income limit of $39,450 before tax; if you’re in a two-person household, the income limit is $45,050 (you can find a full list for different household sizes on the HCIDLA website).

If you meet those requirements, then starting March 30 at 8am through April 30 at 11:59pm you can submit an application.

For better or worse, eligible applicants will be chosen through a random selection process to participate in the program (it’s worth mentioning that 56,000 Angelenos are already wait listed for rent assistance, so expect quite a bit of competition). You don’t actually have to be behind on rent to apply, but the city notes that the program is required to give priority to those paying past-due, unpaid rent.

If you’re chosen, up to 80% of your past-due rent can be covered for the period of April 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021—but that’s only if your landlord agrees to waive the remaining 20%. The way the program works, the money doesn’t actually go into your pocket, but rather directly to your landlord to cover your unpaid rent on your behalf. If your landlord doesn’t agree to those terms, you still might be eligible to have 25% of your rent paid for that period, as well as up to 25% of your rent for three upcoming months.

So, jumping back to that very first eligibility point, what happens if you don’t live within city limits? The state is running a nearly identical program that accepts applicants on a rolling basis. In addition, Long Beach is operating its own assistance program.

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