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The deadline for Californians to apply for pandemic rent relief is 5 p.m. Thursday.

The state is helping tenants with unpaid rent and utilities owed from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2022.

Eligible residents behind on their rent payments may get up to 18 months of assistance to cover rent debt accrued during the pandemic.

To qualify, tenants’ household income must be at or below 80% of the Area Median Income for their county.

So in Los Angeles County, the income limit would be $66,250 for an individual to apply, or $102,200 for a household of five. (The state’s website calculates it while you’re filling out the online application.)

Applicants will need to be patient because the program has been slow in doling out payments. More than 506,000 households have applied so far and less than half — just 223,103 — have been served, according to the Housing is Key website.

How to apply

Those in need of help with their rent payments can apply online at People can call 833-430-2122 for additional information.

When you begin the online application, you will be prompted to enter an address into this map to find the correct link to apply. That’s because some local jurisdictions have their own programs on their websites.

After that, click “view” next to “Link to Program and Application” to begin.

You will be asked to say whether you’re a landlord or tenant, then indicate which county you live in and how many people are in your household to verify that you qualify.

After that, you’ll have to sign up with a valid email address and begin the application, filling in your information, attesting you experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic and begin uploading documents like your lease agreement and utility statements.

If you’re a tenant, you will need to provide just one of the following:

  • A 2020 tax return
  • 2020 W-2 and 1099-G if the tenant was unemployed
  • Current pay stubs
  • Proof of participation in a state or federal subsidy program such as CalFresh or CalWORKS (like an acceptance or renewal letter).

While applicants won’t need to show evidence of hardship, they have to sign a declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress.

Landlords with renters who are behind on their rent and need financial assistance can also apply for the COVID-19 Rent Relief program, if the renters verify that they meet eligibility requirements and sign the application.

For landlords applying, they must submit all of the following:

  • A lease or rental agreement reflecting renter’s name, residence address and monthly rent due
  • Rent ledger or rent statement showing the balance of unpaid rent from April 1, 2020
  • W-8 or W-9 (for tax purposes)