The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) did an excellent job of providing financial help to those going through housing instability or other kinds of financial hardship. These local programs were created as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused many people to lose their jobs, and therefore, their economic stability.

In Florida, ERAP availability and requirements were different depending on the county you were applying from. This made the process slightly more complicated for those interested in getting financial assistance. Thankfully, these programs aren't too complicated to understand, and this page will tell you everything you need to know about them. We'll cover all the statewide requirements and guidelines for ERAP below.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing this guide, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in Florida is closed. Local governments aren't accepting new applications anymore, although some of them are still reviewing pending requests. We suggest you keep an eye out for your county's ERAP portal, as the availability of these programs could change as the economic landscape evolves.

What Is ERAP in Florida?

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is a countermeasure to COVID-19. It's meant to assist renters who proved there was any financial hardship experienced due to the pandemic. Florida's program, specifically, was called "Opportunities for Utilities and Rental Assistance (OUR) Florida."

Renters could use this Florida program to cover past-due rent, reasonable late fees, future rent, and even utility bills. Eligibility for the program was evaluated on different factors, including the applicant's household income.

Since tenants could use the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to cover their rent payments, landlords could get the peace of mind that they were going to receive their money eventually. This led to less conflict between leasing parties, lower eviction rates, and many other benefits. At the time of writing this page, the official website for ERAP in Florida ( doesn't work. However, the website for each county's program may still be available.

How Does ERAP Work in Florida?

Those who applied to Florida's Emergency Rental Assistance Program could get up to 18 months of financial assistance. The program could also be used to pay for future rent, as long as the tenant already paid for their rental arrears.

Initially, renters could only apply for up to 12 months of assistance, although the ERA2 program offered a few extra months of assistance if the person needed it. Landlords would receive a direct payment from the ERA program on the tenant's behalf if their application got approved.

What's the Difference Between ERAP1 and ERAP2?

ERAP1 and 2 refer to the program's phases. The first phase was approved by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and it provided funds directly to states, local governments, and Indian Tribes (or their Tribally Designated Housing Entities).

As the COVID-19 pandemic worsened across the globe, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 approved the ERA2 program, which helped provide further rental assistance and housing stability services to those who applied.

How Does ERAP Benefit Landlords in Florida?

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program in Florida can help landlords get the money they're owed during a certain period. Whether it's past-due fees, future rent, or utility bills, landlords can apply to get some support to get back on their feet.

Even though the program's goal is to provide rental assistance to the renters, landlords still benefit indirectly.

What Is the Landlord's Role in ERAP?

In most states, both the landlord and tenant have the legal right to start the application process for ERAP, although it's more common for the tenant to do it.

If the tenant is the one who applies for rental assistance, the landlord gets notified so that they can help during the application process. You're encouraged to work with your tenant here, as this helps increase your chances of getting the request approved.

Usually, it's in the landlord's best interest that the tenant gets rental assistance, as this ensures the landlord gets the money they're owed sooner than later.

During these times of financial uncertainty, it's always better to collaborate toward a positive outcome for everyone instead of letting your tenants figure everything out by themselves.

Who Is Eligible for ERAP in Florida?

Eligibility requirements for ERAP vary depending on the state. Here's what you need to apply in Florida:

  • Prove that your household income is not over 80% of the area median income.
  • Show that one or more members in the household qualify for unemployment benefits, experienced a reduction in income, or went through any other kind of financial hardship due to COVID-19.
  • Demonstrate that one or more members in the household are at risk of experiencing housing instability or homelessness. This includes eviction notices, a report of unsafe living conditions, etc.

Households with a gross income of 50% AMI or below get their applications prioritized. The same goes for people who have been unemployed for at least 90 days.

All counties in Florida have websites specifying their own eligibility requirements. We recommend you check your local government website to verify if your household can apply for ERAP.

Can Tenants on Other Government Housing Plans Apply to ERAP in Florida?

Currently, there's no updated information surrounding eligibility for those on other housing plans in Florida, such as Section 8. This is because most counties in the state aren't accepting new applications anymore.

However, Florida allowed tenants to apply for ERAP even if they were already on other housing plans. What they had to do was show documentation that proved they were receiving assistance from other programs.

How to Apply for ERAP in Florida

You can apply for ERAP in a few simple steps. Remember that the process can be started by the landlord or the tenant, although it's recommended for both to work together and go over all the requirements thoroughly.

Gather Documents

The first thing you must do is show the government that your household is eligible. To do this, you must gather a few documents.

Landlords are required to get:

  • Proof of arrears
  • W-9 form
  • Banking information
  • Information about the property

Tenants, on the other hand, have to get the following:

  • Valid, government-issued photo ID of the applicant
  • Copy of the lease
  • Copy of the rent/utility bill (if applicable)
  • Certification of loss of employment due to COVID-19
  • Verifiable documentation that shows the person's past income. This includes pay stubs, wage statements, etc.
  • Eviction notice (if applicable)

Submit the Application Online

Next, go to your local county's ERAP portal. These websites get constantly updated to show if they're accepting new applications or not. If there is availability, follow the instructions on the website, and enter the information as required. Remember to submit current and verifiable documents that prove your claims.

Wait for Approval

Once you're done, you'll have to wait until the program reviews the request. In some cases, a representative may get in touch with you (or your tenant) to get clarification on some parts of the application. You may also get asked to submit more documents, depending on the case.

All of these extra steps will add some waiting time. If you want to avoid this as much as possible, make sure you don't miss any relevant information before applying. This is why we encourage both landlords and tenants to work together and verify everything.

If your application gets approved, you'll start receiving money directly from the program on your tenant's behalf.

Are There Any Other Benefits to Florida's ERAP?

The primary benefit you get from Emergency Rental Assistance Programs is financial relief. However, there are many other advantages you'll get from them that are also worth mentioning.

First, getting all the money you're owed paid means you'll have a secure and stable income for a particular period. You won't have to worry about not getting enough money to cover your own living expenses as a landlord.

Since your tenant is paying everything they owe, you probably won't have a reason to evict them anymore (unless you want to do it for other reasons). This increases your tenant retention rate and boosts your reputation in the market.

However, the best advantage you'll get from ERAP is that you'll be able to communicate with your tenant more emphatically and effectively. The financial burden caused by COVID-19 left many with frustration and anxiety in their minds, which affected their decisions. These negative emotions led to further conflict between the leasing parties.

With the help that the Emergency Rental Assistance Program provides, you and your tenant can work toward a more collaborative environment where you can negotiate toward something that benefits everyone.

How You Can Use DoorLoop to Get All the Resources You Need

Thanks to the internet, you now have access to dozens of different tools to make the most out of your rental experience. Even if you already have financial or legal assistance, it doesn't hurt to have a portal with the latest information on the Florida market.

DoorLoop provides Florida landlords with all the resources they could ever need. Getting easy access to all this information will help you stay updated on the latest news, which could give you an advantage over other landlords. Moreover, you'll be able to make more informed decisions whenever you plan on renting your property again.

Bottom Line - Get Started with DoorLoop Today!

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program helped hundreds of thousands of people in Florida, including landlords. COVID-19 caused a lot of uncertainty and frustration among renters and property managers, so the availability of these programs was certainly helpful at the time.

If you want to stay ahead of the competition as a landlord, don't hesitate to try out DoorLoop. Besides giving you access to a portal with the latest information about the Florida market, you can also use the platform to manage your portfolio from your desktop or mobile device.

As the economic landscape changes and more rental assistance programs come up, you'll need to be prepared. DoorLoop ensures you have the necessary knowledge to avoid frustration and profit losses in the future.

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David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!

Legal Disclaimer

The information on this website is from public sources, for informational purposes only and not intended for legal or accounting advice. DoorLoop does not guarantee its accuracy and is not liable for any damages or inaccuracies.