Rent relief: L.A. to start taking applications March 30

Los Angeles landlords and tenants can apply for $235.5 million in rental relief funds starting March 30, city officials said Tuesday, outlining an effort to keep tenants housed and enable property owners to pay their bills.

The money comes from the December federal stimulus bill and is being distributed under rules established by the state that seek to wipe away the rent debt of lower-income tenants.

For tenants in Los Angeles to qualify, they must have experienced a pandemic-related financial hardship and have a household income at or below 50% of area median income. A family of four, for example, would be eligible with an income of $56,300 or less.

Tenants can apply directly, or landlords can apply on their behalf. Applicants will be chosen at random, according to a city website outlining the rules.

“This assistance will not only support families that are behind on rent … [but] it’s also going to help mom-and-pop landlords who are also struggling during this pandemic to pay for their mortgage,” City Council President Nury Martinez said at news conference Tuesday.

If picked, tenants could see all the rent debt they accrued from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, wiped away. For that to happen, a landlord must agree to forgive 20% of the debt.

If a landlord does not forgive the 20%, tenants can receive funds to pay 25% of their rent.

Help with future rent payments is also available.

Applications will open at 8 a.m. on March 30 and close at 11:59 p.m. on April 30. More information is available on the website of Los Angeles’ Housing and Community Investment Department.

For Californians who live outside the city of Los Angeles, help is also available that could wipe away rent debt accrued through March 31.

Californians can visit the state’s Housing is Key website to apply.