Rental Assistance

Protections for Renters

If you’re having trouble making rent payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you are not alone. Fortunately, there are steps renters can take here, as well as many significant protections from eviction that apply in certain situations.

FHFA Announces Tools to Help Renters Find Out if They are Protected from Eviction

  • See Fannie Mae's Multifamily Loan Lookup Tool here

  • See Freddie Mac's Multifamily Loan Lookup Tool here

The Orange County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service is committed to providing quality access to appropriate legal services at all times, especially at this time, as COVID-19 has caused additional legal service needs in the areas of housing, employment, healthcare, and business. Our online referral portal and telephone lines will remain open and available to members of the public. Any COVID-19 related consultations are free.

Many legal services can be handled remotely. We are encouraging members of the public who use our service during this time to connect with referred attorneys by phone and electronically here.

Further Information for Renters

Many renters are affected by the devastating impact of the coronavirus, or COVID-19. If you’ve lost your income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, paying rent could become difficult if not impossible.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020, provides for 120 days of relief from eviction for tenants in federally backed housing. A tenant in federally backed housing may not be served with an eviction notice until July 25, 2020. During the 120 days of relief, landlords cannot charge late fees, penalties or other charges for paying rent late. However, your obligation to pay rent is not waived during this time.

This moratorium includes several types of federally backed rental housing, including:

  • Rental housing covered under Section 31311 of the Violence Against Women Act (34 USC 12491(a);

    • The rural housing voucher program under Section 542 of the Housing Act of 1949 (42 USC 1490r); or

  • A rental unit that has a federally backed mortgage or multifamily mortgage loan.

In addition to the federal moratorium, Executive Order 20-94, which was signed by the Florida governor on April 2, 2020, provides targeted, temporary relief from certain mortgage foreclosures and evictions for 45 days, without relieving an individual’s obligation to make mortgage payments and rent payments.

The Florida Supreme Court has also suspended the issuance of writs of possession (the court order needed in an eviction case) through the close of business on Friday, April 17, 2020. A copy of this order can be found on the Florida Supreme Court's website.

The CARES Act also provides additional funding to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for assistance with rental payments, housing vouchers, public housing, and housing for the elderly. For more information, visit the HUD website or call HUD at (904) 232-2627 or (305) 536-4456, or email FL_Webmanager@HUD.gov.

If your apartment or rental unit is in a multifamily building financed by Fannie Mae, Fannie Mae’s Disaster Response Network™ is also available and offers free support from HUD-approved housing advisors at 1-877-542-9723. Assistance includes:

  • Personalized recovery assessment and action plan.

  • Help working with your housing situation.

  • Financial coaching and budgeting.

  • Ongoing check-ins to help ensure a successful recovery.

Resources for Homeowners

In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, FHA permitted borrowers to enter into forbearance, a pause or reduction in their monthly mortgage for up to six months. Borrowers can request an additional six months if needed.

To locate assistance through local nonprofits, the United Way maintains www.211.org. You can find assistance with rental payments, food and other resources by visiting www.211.org and entering your zip code in the search bar or by dialing 211 to speak to someone who can help.