Renter Guidance During COVID-19

Community, Industry,

The First Coast Apartment Association (FCAA) is comprised of more than 90,500 apartments across Northeast Florida, 131 management companies and 192 associate member companies who provide goods and services to the industry. Our members  are committed to upholding a standard of excellence in providing safe, quality housing for renters, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We fully understand this pandemic is not just compromising public health; it also threatens the financial viability of individuals and businesses, including renters and housing providers. This is a difficult time. We recognize that renters are not immune from facing these unprecedented pressures. Housing, food, and medicine are paramount in times of crises. Continuing to pay for these necessities will help those weathering this situation.

FCAA recommends that renters take the following steps if they find themselves financially impacted by COVID-19.

• Communicate with your property owner or manager immediately. Create open lines of communications so the owner/manager knows that you are unable to pay your rent and understands your situation.

• Be prepared with documentation if possible. Once the line of communication is open, try to show documentation if possible in case your housing provider asks for proof that you have suffered financial harm due to COVID-19. Acceptable documentation may include pay stubs, letters, and emails. Check with your housing provider on what documentation is requested or accepted.

• Request to create a payment plan if you cannot afford the full amount of rent. Be sure to have your housing provider put the plan in writing.

• Remember that evictions have been halted in most counties in Northeast Florida until the end of April. However, the freeze on evictions does not rescind leases nor eliminate your responsibility to pay the rent that is and will be due.

• Remember that keeping up with regular payments may be easier than catching up to missed rent. Most people will not be able to afford to pay multiple months of owed rent once this crisis ends.

• Take advantage of financial assistance from nonprofits. Some nonprofits have financial assistance funds that can help pay for rent, utilities, and other costs.

Resources for Residents and Businesses in need of financial assistance can be found here.

• Take advantage of financial assistance from the government. You may be eligible for unemployment assistance, SBA loans (for small business owners), and other programs at this time. 

In summary, FCAA encourages residents to be open and honest with their housing providers, advocate for themselves, and take advantage of resources available to them in the event they cannot afford to pay rent.