Code Section

Health and Safety Code - HSC

DIVISION 31. HOUSING AND HOME FINANCE [50000 - 54034]

  ( Division 31 repealed and added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 610. )
  

PART 2. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT [50400 - 50899.7]

  ( Heading of Part 2 amended by Stats. 1981, Ch. 996. )
  

CHAPTER 17. State Rental Assistance Program [50897 - 50897.6]
  ( Chapter 17 added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 2, Sec. 24. )

  
50897.3.  

(a) (1) (A) The department may contract with a vendor to serve as the program implementer to manage and fund services and distribute emergency rental assistance resources pursuant to this section. A vendor selected to serve as program implementer shall demonstrate sufficient capacity and experience to administer a program of this scope and scale.

(B) The program implementer shall have existing relationships with community-level partners to ensure all regional geographies and target communities throughout the state have access to the program.

(C) (i) The program implementer shall have the technological capacity to develop and to implement a central technology-driven application portal and system that serves landlords and tenants, has mobile and multilanguage capabilities, and allows an applicant track the status of their application. The application system shall have the capacity to handle the volume of expected use without disruption.

(ii) The system shall begin accepting applications no later than March 15, 2021 and be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with 99 percent planned uptime rating.

(iii) The system shall support, at minimum, a database of 1,000,000 application records.

(iv) The system shall support at minimum 20,000 concurrent full-access users, allowing users to create, read, update and delete transactions based upon their user role.

(D) (i) The program implementer shall demonstrate experience with developing and managing direct payment or grant programs, or direct payment and grant programs, including, but not limited to, program and application development, outreach and marketing, translation and interpretation, fraud protections and approval processes, secure disbursement, prioritizing the use of direct deposit, customer service, compliance, and reporting.

(ii) The program interface shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(I) Capability such that either the landlord or the tenant may initiate an application for assistance and that both parties are made aware of the opportunity to participate in the rental assistance program and accept the program parameters.

(II) Appropriate notifications to ensure that both parties understand that rental assistance is awarded in rounds of funding based on eligibility and that the eligible household is reminded that payment is ultimately being provided directly to the landlord, but the payment will directly address the eligible household’s rental arrears or prospective rent, as applicable.

(III) Notification to both parties, including the landlord and the eligible household, respectively, of the initiation and completion of the application process, whether the process is initiated by the landlord or the eligible household. Upon payment, the program implementer shall provide an electronic record that payment has been made and keep all records available for the duration of the program, or as otherwise provided under state or federal law.

(E) The program implementer shall be able to manage a technology-driven duplication of benefits process in compliance with federal law.

(F) The program implementer shall comply with all state protections related to the use of personally identifiable information, including providing any necessary disclosures and assuring the secure storage of any personally identifiable information generated, as part of the application process.

(G) The program implementer shall coordinate its program activities with education and outreach contractors and any affiliated service or technical assistance providers, including those that reach non-English speaking and hard-to-reach households, with considerations for racial equity and traditionally underserved populations.

(2) The department may establish a contract with one or more education and outreach contractors to conduct a multilingual statewide campaign to promote program participation and accessibility.

(3) In accordance with paragraphs (1) and (2), the department shall seek contracted solutions that minimize total administrative costs, such that savings may be reallocated for use as direct assistance.

(4) The department may receive rental assistance program funding from localities or federally recognized tribes to administer on their behalf in a manner consistent with this chapter.

(b) (1) (A) A county with a population less than or equal to 200,000 and any grantee that is eligible for, but did not receive, a direct allocation of assistance from the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to Section 501 of Subtitle A of Title V of Division N of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260) shall receive assistance pursuant to the state reservation table, to be administered in accordance with this section.

(B) A grantee that was eligible for, but did not receive, a direct allocation of assistance from the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to Section 501 of Subtitle A of Title V of Division N of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260) and was eligible for, but did not receive, block grant assistance under Section 50897.2 shall receive its proportionate share of assistance, as determined by the state reservation table, to be administered in accordance with this section.

(2) (A) A grantee that was eligible for, but did not receive, block grant funds pursuant to Section 50897.2, and has elected to administer its direct share of assistance provided under Subtitle A of Title V of Division N of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260), shall have its proportionate share of block grant funds administered pursuant to this section.

(B) (i) To minimize legal liability and potential noncompliance with federal law, specifically those violations described in Section 501(k)(3)(B) of Subtitle A of Title V of Division N of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260), the department, or, if applicable, the program implementer, shall request that grantees described in this paragraph enter into a data sharing agreement for the purpose of preventing unlawful duplication of rental assistance to eligible households.

(ii) Notwithstanding any other law, a grantee that enters into a data sharing agreement required by this subparagraph may disclose personally identifying information of rental assistance applicants to the department or the program implementer for the purposes described in this subparagraph.

(iii) A grantee described by clause (ii) shall provide all applicable data, as determined by the department, before the department or program implementer begins administering funds within the grantee’s jurisdiction.

(C) Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (B), a grantee that is subject to assistance provided under this paragraph and received a direct allocation from the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to Subtitle A of Title V of Division N of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260) shall not be eligible for administrative and technical assistance provided by the department, including, but not limited to, support for long-term monitoring and reporting.

(D) The state, the department, or the program implementer acting on behalf of the department, shall be indemnified from liability in the administration of assistance pursuant to this paragraph, specifically any violation described in Section 501(k)(3)(B) of Subtitle A of Title V of Division N of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260).

(3) To the extent permitted by federal law, a grantee that elects to participate in the program as provided in this section, and that received rental assistance funding directly from the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to Subtitle A of Title V of Division N of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260), shall add those funds received directly from the Secretary of the Treasury and any share of rental assistance funding provided pursuant to Section 50897.2 to the funds allocated to it pursuant to this section. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (1) of subdivision (d), the total amount of funds described in this subparagraph shall be used by the grantee in accordance with this section. Participation shall be conditioned upon having an executed standard agreement with the Department.

(4) To the extent permitted by federal law, a federally recognized tribe that receives rental assistance funds directly from the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to Subtitle A of Title V of Division N of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260) may add its direct federal allocation of funds to be administered pursuant to this section. Participation shall be conditioned upon having an executed standard agreement with the department.

(c) Funds allocated pursuant to this section shall be used for those eligible uses specified in, and subject to the applicable requirements of, Section 50897.1.

(d) (1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (3), a grantee that receives funds pursuant to this section shall contractually obligate 65 percent of those funds no later than August 1, 2021. The department may, in its discretion, reallocate any funds allocated to a grantee that are not contractually obligated by that date to other grantees based on factors that include unmet need, rate of application submissions, rate of attrition, and rate of expenditures.

(2) Funds administered on behalf of a federally recognized tribe as provided in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) are not subject to the requirements of this subdivision.

(e) (1) In any legal action to recover rent or other financial obligations under the lease that accrued between April 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021, before entry of any judgment in the plaintiff’s favor, the plaintiff shall verify both of the following under penalty of perjury:

(A) The landlord has not received rental assistance or other financial compensation from any other source corresponding to the amount claimed.

(B) The landlord does not have any pending application for rental assistance or other financial compensation from any other source corresponding to the amount claimed.

(2) In any unlawful detainer action seeking possession of residential rental property based on nonpayment of rent or any other financial obligation under the lease, the court shall not enter a judgment in favor of the landlord unless the landlord verifies all of the following under penalty of perjury:

(A) That the landlord has not received rental assistance or other financial compensation from any other source corresponding to the amount demanded in the notice underlying the complaint.

(B) That the landlord has not received rental assistance or other financial compensation from any other source for rent accruing after the date of the notice underlying the complaint.

(C) That the landlord does not have any pending application for rental assistance or other financial compensation from any other source corresponding to the amount demanded in the notice underlying the complaint.

(D) That the landlord does not have any pending application for rental assistance or other financial compensation from any other sources for rent accruing after the date of the notice underlying the complaint.

(f) Notwithstanding any other state or local law, policy, or ordinance, for purposes of ensuring the timely implementation of resources pursuant to this section a grantee that has a population greater than 200,000 may enter into an agreement with the department to have its share of funds administered pursuant to this section by the department and may redirect those funds to the department for that purpose.

(g) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the requirements of this section shall apply only to the administration of Round 1 funds.

(2) Subdivision (e) shall apply to the administration of Round 1 and Round 2 funds.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 27, Sec. 25. (AB 832) Effective June 28, 2021.)