State Rental Assistance Program Application Opens

State Rental Assistance Program Application Opens

By: D. Keith Dunnagan, Esq.

March 16, 2021

Previously, we addressed the implications of SB 91 on evictions and the creation of the State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP). At that time, much was still uncertain as the law had just been passed and there was a lack of implementing regulations related to program. Many questions existed and to some extent many questions remain unanswered. However, as March 15, 2021, a couple of things appear certain.

One, the application portal is open and accepting applications for the assistance (click here for access to a sample application). Landlords need to be aware of some of the new regulations related to eviction processing and requirements related to considering rental assistance.

Two, the application portal will likely fill quickly and it is suspected that the system will get overwhelmed. Many of us remember the first days of the PPP loan portal and slow upload times and computer systems were overwhelmed by the high volume of applications. Review application checklists, coordinate with your attorneys and/or accountants to make sure the paperwork is correct and submit complete applications. Errors, omissions and inaccuracies will slow your processing down. The state is even allowing batch submittals if you have more than 10 rental units that may help expedite processing.

Three, the funds allocated for assistance under SB 91 will likely go quickly. Although the program specifically states that this is not a first come – first serve program, the Rental Assistance Program has been allocated 1.5 billion dollars. That is a lot of money. However, in the largest state in the Country, this allocation will likely not last long. Remember how fast the PPP funds were distributed? The amount allocated to rental assistance is considerably less. While SRAP prioritizes the most vulnerable tenants, the limited funds in a state where more than 40% of the households rent, the program will likely exhaust quickly. Make sure to pay attention to the prioritized renters and select the proper application if you elect to apply for relief.

Also, you will need to consider the implications of receiving rental assistance. Under SB 91, if a landlord accepts rental assistance which can cover up to 80% of the defaulted covered COVID rent, the unpaid 20% of default rent must be forgiven. Further, with evictions in the near future, landlords will be required to answer whether or not rental assistance was accepted.

Further, make sure you have your supporting information ready to upload. A few pieces of information that you will need. You will need proof of rental payments due – supported by lease agreement(s) and/or rent rolls. Proof of ownership will be required in form of insurance policies, property deeds and/or tax statements. A W-9 for tax reporting purposes will also be required. For a complete copy of the checklist, please see here.

If you are contemplating taking advantage of the rental assistance program, get competent legal and accounting assistance. Make sure to understand the legal implications as well as tax ramifications related to the program. For additional information you can find it at California’s Housing is Key website.

The BPE Law has been advising investors in their legal needs for more than 25 years. If you would like a consultation with us, please contact our office at 916-966-2260.

The information presented in this article is not to be taken as legal advice. Every situation is different. If you are facing a legal issue of any kind, get competent legal advice in your state immediately so that you can determine your best options.

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