State Rental Assistance Program Set to Accept Applications as of March 15, 2021
In December of 2020, Congress passed a stimulus bill which included $25 billion in Emergency
Rental Assistance (with $1.5 billion sent directly to the State of California.) On January 28, 2021,
California enacted The State Rental Assistance Program which is set forth in SB 91 and which
included the guidelines for distribution of the funds. Under SB 91, landlords are eligible to receive
80% of the tenant’s rental arrears from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, where tenants qualify for
the program. KTS distributed a Legal Alert on February 18, 2021, which provided a detailed
overview of the rental relief guidelines which is available here.
Since then, the state has provided additional information regarding the state rental relief program
of which landlords should be aware.
The state rental relief program will begin accepting applications as of March 15, 2021. Both the
tenant and the landlord will need to apply together as there is a landlord portion of the application
and the tenant portion of the application. Landlords are being encouraged to go online and apply
on March 15, 2021, at http://housingiskey.com for any tenant that has an unpaid rental balance
due from March 1, 2020 or after.
In order to apply, you will need to provide an email address for your tenant so that your tenant can
be notified that an application for rental relief has been submitted, and to provide your tenant
instructions on how to complete their portion of the application. Landlords will also need to provide
the following when submitting the application:
• W-9 form
• Verification of residence (such as the lease agreement)
• Verification of ownership of the residence (such as a deed to the property, mortgage note,
tax forms, etc.)
• Verification of the rental amount that is owed (such as the lease, bank statements, ledger,
The program is intended to make rental relief available to all who qualify. Immigration status is
Landlords should be aware that there are three potential options available to local jurisdictions for
the allocation of rent relief funds:
Option A: Funds distributed directly by the state in accordance with SB 91 guidelines. This
includes jurisdictions with small populations and larger jurisdictions that have chosen to have the
state handle the rent relief program to distribute their allocated funds. Jurisdictions that have
chosen Option A include: LA County, Ventura County, Yolo County, Tulare County, Santa Cruz
County, San Mateo County, San Luis Obispo County, Contra Costa County, Butte County, and the
cities of Oxnard and Fontana.
Option B: Jurisdictions that have received direct funding from the federal government but have
also accepted block grants from the state, but where the local jurisdiction is administering their own
program instead of leaving it to the state. There will be slight variations from program to program
for Option B jurisdictions, but Option B jurisdictions must comply with the guidelines in SB 91.
Option B jurisdictions include: Alameda County, Fresno County, Kern County, Marin County,
Monterey County, Sacramento County, San Diego County, San Joaquin County, Sonoma County,
Stanislaus County, and the cities of Anaheim, Bakersfield, Irvine, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and
Option C: Jurisdictions that have received direct funding from the federal government, have
refused block grants from the state, and are operating their own programs under the federal
guidelines and not under the SB 91 guidelines. Option C jurisdictions include: Orange County,
Merced County, Placer County, Riverside County, Santa Barbara County, Santa Clara County,
Solano County, San Francisco County, San Bernardino County, and the cities of Moreno Valley,
Oakland, Riverside, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ana, and Santa Clarita. Some of these
programs have a cap on how much rental relief an applicant can receive. Others will pay the entire
balance. Landlords will need to research each program for more information as each is unique.
For Option C jurisdictions, landlords should be aware that there are actually dual programs in
place because the state of California will also be administering the funds that Option C jurisdictions
were entitled to (but did not accept). Therefore, if you have a property located in an Option C
jurisdiction, you have the option of also applying for rental relief under the state rental assistance
Regardless of whether your jurisdiction is subject to the Option A, B or C funding model, you can
go to the http://housingiskey.com website and should be directly re-routed to the correct location
to apply. The website also has a complete list of whether a jurisdiction is operating under the
Option A, B or C funding model.
For landlords or tenants that need additional assistance, the http://housingiskey.com website has
information on how to connect with a live representative to assist with completing the application
process. There will also be instructional videos available in multiple languages.