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Eviction Prevention Program

In response to the expiration of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) eviction moratorium, the County has elected to use a portion of TERA2 funding for an Eviction Prevention Program (EPP) and has partnered with Legal Services Alabama (LSA) to provide limited legal representation for qualifying Mobile County tenants facing court dates for eviction proceedings. The EPP program can also assist with eviction cases that have been filed, but do not yet have a court date. The application and eligibility criteria for the EPP is the same as for TERA1 and TERA2 (also see Rental and Utility Assistance – COVID); however, a TERA Case Manager (working in conjunction with LSA) will identify cases with upcoming court dates and seek to expedite these through the TERA program to help prevention evictions from happening. LSA will provide limited legal representation for qualifying Mobile County Tenants and will negotiate with tenants and landlords to reach a settlement prior to the court date, or to bring offers of payment to the court. Negotiated payments can be paid using TERA funds (subject to availability of funds) if the following criteria are followed:

1. Tenant must income qualify using the applicable income limits for Mobile County as can be found at HUD USER PORTAL(Household income <80% of Area Median Income for Mobile County).

2. The total amount of financial assistance (arrears and prospective) an eligible household may receive (when combining TERA1 and TERA2) is 18 months. In no event can assistance be provided for arrears that have accrued before March 13, 2020 and less than full arrears may be paid where a negotiated (and/or mediated) settlement is used to avoid eviction.

3. Assistance can be provided for a maximum of 3 months of prospective (future) rent, if the lease is still in effect, with additional prospective rent contingent upon availability of funds, current lease and income recertification.

4. Assistance can be provided for reasonable late fees (must be in the lease, no daily late fees, 10% of rent maximum or other amount as negotiated by LSA).

5. Assistance can be provided for reasonable legal fees (including court costs associated with eviction related proceedings) up to $750, if these are included within the lease.

6. Landlord must agree to “clear the ledger” of any other rental arrears/fees/charges not covered by the TERA program so that the tenant has a zero balance.

7. Landlord must agree not to evict the tenant for non-payment of rent for the time period covered by the prospective rent payment. If the landlord evicts the tenant for other-than-payment reasons, the landlord must repay the remaining prospective rent to the TERA program.

Tenants and landlords who have already applied to the TERA program can have their TERA cases reviewed for eligibility determinations. Once determined to be eligible, assistance calculations and disbursement requests can be prioritized. Tenants and landlords who are negotiating settlements must complete a TERA application before eligibility can be determined and assistance amounts calculated.

All applicants must complete the online application. The application process requires applicants to answer a series of questions and to provide certain documents. It will take an estimated 30 minutes for tenants, and 15 minutes for landlords. The link to apply is www.mobilecountyal.gov/grants/rental-and-utilityassistance.

If you are at risk of homelessness as a result of a possible eviction (due to a pending court date or case that has been filed but does not yet have a court date assigned), please contact the Call Center at 855- 209-4970 to be put into contact with a TERA Case Manager who will work with you to facilitate participation in the Eviction Prevention Program.