Tenants and landlords across Miami-Dade can apply for county help from the CARES Act, with stipends available to cover rent payments that can’t be made because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Miami-Dade is accepting applications for the next two weeks for a second round of payments from its $15 million tenant program, which can cover up to three months’ worth of rent payments for tenants who meet income requirements. The application window closes on Friday, Oct. 16.

To qualify, a person must be a Miami-Dade resident, unable to pay full rent because of a COVID-related hardship, and make no more than 20% more than the county’s median income. For a single person, that sets the threshold at $76,800, and for a family with four people at home, the threshold is $109,680.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to help a lot of people,” said Michael Liu, the county’s housing director.

The program will cover up to three months’ worth of rent payments, with a cap of $5,000 per recipient.

Online applications are available at miamidade.myhousing.com.

The rental aid involves two programs approved by county commissioners, including one reserved only for residents living outside city limits. There’s no need for applicants to know if they live inside a city or not, because the county has rental-assistance dollars for all eligible residents.

“You can just apply,” Liu said. “We’ll figure that out for you.”

The second wave of grants for a rental program launched in July captures a challenge for Miami-Dade and its $474 million pool of federal CARES Act dollars.

Most county relief programs haven’t been able to distribute all of their allocated dollars. Originally capped at $10 million, the county’s rental-assistance program had paid out just $5 million as of late September, according to county figures. The program had stopped accepting applications at the end of July.

While tenants apply for rent relief, the dollars get paid to landlords to cover the missing rent.

Miami-Dade also has a separate $10 million program solely for landlords with a limited number of properties.

Landlords with five or fewer units anywhere in the United States can apply for payments covering outstanding rent at Miami-Dade properties tied to COVID hardships. The county doesn’t allow a landlord to be compensated for missed rental income that’s already covered by an application to the rental-assistance program.

There are no restrictions for tenants who have already received help from Miami-Dade but still face hardship on rent payments not covered by the first round of assistance.

“You can apply again,” Liu said. “We’ll figure out with you how to avoid any duplication.”

Doug Hanks covers Miami-Dade government for the Herald. He’s worked at the paper for nearly 20 years, covering real estate, tourism and the economy before joining the Metro desk in 2014.
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