King County launched its Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program (EPRAP) in September, offering financial help for tenants and landlords in King County impacted by the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Tens of thousands of local residents are dealing with illness, lost income, and unemployment – all of which leaves them in danger of homelessness even as winter approaches.
The EPRAP program is moving quickly to help thousands of large and small landlords representing about 7,000 – 10,000 households in need. In addition to the landlord programs, individual tenants may also sign up for rental assistance, which enters their names into a weekly lottery. The EPRAP has pulled 2,763 names so far and those households are receiving help from community-based agencies partnering in the program to complete their applications.
In reviewing the program with local partners and with the Washington State Department of Commerce, the primary funder, we have implemented a few key changes to the program.
The new standard payment agreement with landlords has been revised. Landlords may now receive:
- Up to six months of rental assistance (previously three months) on behalf of the participating tenant at the greater of either (a) 80 percent of the otherwise applicable total rent for six months; or (b) fair market rent for the six months, so long as the payment does not exceed the amount of rent owed.
- Any rental debt owed by the tenant for more than six months must be forgiven. If rental debt is less than six months, assistance may be paid for past due and current rent up to six months not to extend beyond December 2020.
Nonprofit agencies participating in the program will go back to landlords who have already been processed for three months support, and make a payment that is reflective of the above change.
With emergency COVID response funding primarily from Commerce, combined with County funding, King County rapidly created a rent assistance program to reach and serve people most at risk for eviction and homelessness. More than 30 community agencies and organizations have joined with the County to help get the word out about this critical assistance. Information and help with forms and applications is available in nearly 30 languages, both online and in person.
Tenants may still apply! Learn more here.
King County is currently processing the applications of property management companies and landlords with 200 or more tenants behind in rent, and will then process properties in order based on the delinquency rate of the overall portfolio submitted by the landlords.
The County is not currently taking any new Large Landlord applications, but has created a wait list for properties that are interested but missed the Oct. 23, 2020 deadline to apply. All properties in King County, regardless of zip code or public subsidies, may sign up for the waitlist. The waitlist will only be processed if there are enough funds after processing the current properties in the Large Residential Landlord Fund. If the waitlist is processed, properties located in highest need zip codes or properties with public subsidies will be prioritized.