Eviction Prevention Program
Polk County's COVID-19 Eviction Prevention Program is available to provide funding to assist tenants who are unable to pay rent or utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, using federally approved funds, assists Polk's most vulnerable tenants who are in imminent danger of eviction and provides property owners with an alternative to eviction. The program provides up to $7,000 in past due rent that will be paid directly to the landlord. The landlord will initiate the application process; however, both parties must agree to participate and meet eligibility requirements.
Only applications submitted by a landlord will be reviewed.
Eligibility Criteria For Landlords/Property Management
Landlord must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the Eviction Prevention Program:
- Upon execution of the program participation agreement by both the landlord and tenant, the following rules apply: the landlord (a) agrees to withdraw any currently filed eviction action against the tenants residing in the residential rental property (if such action has been filed); and (b) agrees not to file any such eviction action regarding the residential rental property for a period of 30 business days from execution of the program participation agreement;
- The landlord must agree to accept up to $7,000 to cover the balance of rent due and release all tenants residing in the residential rental property from any obligation to pay any rent amount due that exceeds that $7,000 maximum payment;
- The landlord will not initiate legal eviction filing for non-payment of rent for 30 days after receiving from payment Polk County;
- The landlord agrees not to increase any participating tenant household's rent through April 30, 2021;
- The landlord can charge up to $500 in fees and charges due to non-payment or partial payment of rent during the impacted months (based on lease agreement fee schedule). The landlord agrees to waive fees and charges more than $500;
- To apply for rental property(ies) rent arrears payment through this Eviction Prevention Program, eligible property(ies) must be in Polk County.
Eligibility Criteria For Tenants
- At least one-month delinquent on rent beginning April 1, 2020, and have received a written notice of eviction from their landlord;
- The tenant has a written lease for the rental property, the lease is in their name, (or, the tenant is one of the named tenants for the lease) and they are responsible for paying rent pursuant to that lease;
- The tenant is a resident of Polk County, is occupying a residential rental property, and that property is their primary residence;
- Tenant has not received prior rental assistance paid by Polk County's Board of County Commissioners to the landlord;
- One or more adults residing at the residential rental property experienced a documented, involuntary loss of income that occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic that occurred after March 1, 2020;
- No other person residing at the rental property has applied for or will apply for the Polk County Eviction Prevention program (duplicate applications will not be reviewed);
- All landlords and all tenants of the rental property in question agree to participate in the program;
- Priority will be given to tenant(s) with income less than 50 percent of the area median income and unemployed for 90 days.
The program is income-based and the tenant will be required to show current income. The projected annual 2020 income must fall within any of these brackets:
|Household Size||Monthly Gross Income||Annual Gross Income 80%|
Eligibility Criteria For Reimbursement
The application package includes:
Landlord documents required:
- Landlord application
- Individual ledger/summary for each tenant detailing payments made in 2020/2021 and arrearage balance without any late fees included
- Copy of individual lease for each tenant (expired leases converted to month-to-month are acceptable)
- W-9 from owner or management agent, if applicable
Tenant documents required:
- Individual tenant application
- Proof of loss of income due to COVID-19 (lay off, reduced hours, unemployment letter)
- Current month household income for persons ages 18 and older (chart above)
- Photocopy or picture of tenant Florida identification
A call center will open at 9 a.m. Feb. 17. The number to call for answers to any questions is (863) 519-1000.
*Opens Feb. 17 at 9 a.m.