Landlords, tenants can now apply to cover unpaid rent from past year

(Mary Stringini)

California's COVID-19 rent relief application portal went live on Monday, which will help eligible landlords and tenants cover unpaid rent from the past year.

Funding for the relief comes from the $2.6 billion in federal aid from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's emergency rental assistance program.

The application for California tenants and landlords is available here.

Though some counties or cities have their own application portal for administering the rental assistance, Russ Heimerich, a spokesman for California's Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, said that there is no wrong door for applying.

For jurisdictions with their own application portal, the state's website will direct people to the relevant website.

Landlords with eligible tenants can apply to get reimbursed for 80 percent of a tenant's unpaid rent between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, if they agree to forgive the remaining 20 percent.

Tenants may also apply on their own if their landlords do not participate.

Those meeting eligibility requirements can receive 25 percent of unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

This is the amount tenants must pay before June 30 to avoid eviction under the state's COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act (Senate Bill 91).

Some tenants may also be able to receive assistance to cover 100 percent of utilities for the past year and 25 percent of future rent when eviction protections expire.

Applications are not first-come, first-served but will be accepted on an ongoing basis.

Eligible tenants must make 80 percent or less of their location's area median income and the state will prioritize those making below 50 percent of their location's AMI.

Community organizations in each county are also available to help with applications. A list of supporting organizations and their contact information are available here.

For more information and eligibility requirements, people can visit or call a toll-free phone line at (833) 430-2122. The application will be available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Chinese and Korean, and help is available in more than 200 additional languages through the call center.