POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Renters impacted by COVID-19-related income loss have more time to apply for federal aid in Polk County as the eviction moratorium expiration deadline approaches.
More than 144,000 Floridians are at risk of being evicted beginning Saturday, according to data analyzed by 8 On Your Side.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) issued an eviction moratorium at the start of the pandemic. The U.S. Supreme Court allowed the CDC to extend its moratorium through July 31 but said Congress would have to take action for any further extensions.
“A lot of the landlords are in a deep hole, deeper than the tenants,” said DJ Delgado, owner broker for Bosun Properties, based in North Lakeland.
Delgado helps manage 263 single-family rental properties in Polk County. She said tenants in more than 40 of them were financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Twenty one tenants did not pay rent at all during the pandemic, Delgado said.
“When the tenant doesn’t pay the rent, a lot of these owners have mortgages that they still have to pay and those that don’t have a mortgage, they still have to pay taxes and insurance,” said Delgado.
One owner lost $26,000 from a single tenant, Delgado said. It’s why she is hoping the federal eviction moratorium expires as planned on Saturday.
Democrats in Congress disagree.
“We would like the CDC to expand the moratorium, that’s where it can be done. And of course with the public message that governors, mayors, etc., give the money for its purpose to the renters,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Speaker Pelosi said 10% of the billions of dollars in federal aid allocated for housing assistance has been spent by local governments.
“I think the biggest challenge that we’ve faced thus far is the technology challenge,” said Cedric Cox, housing administrative coordinator for Polk County Housing and Neighborhood Development.
Four thousand people have received housing aid through Polk County’s six pandemic-era rental assistance programs.
The county extended its current $17 million program through Aug. 13 because of the looming moratorium deadline.
“It helps with the individuals currently delinquent, we will pay for the delinquency and three months forward to help stabilize it as long as the maximum amount is not over $12,000,” said Cox.
Payment is made directly to landlords, who are willing to participate. Required documents include:
- Florida Driver License for applicant and co-applicant
- Documented income hardship (qualify for unemployment benefits or significant reduction income or increase in expenses due to COVID-19)
- Delinquent statement for rent and utilities
- Current lease or rental statement in applicant’s/co-applicant’s name
- Most recent paystub, unemployment letter, or 2020 Tax Returns
- W-9 form from your landlord or property manager