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Tampa offering forgivable loans to affordable housing landlords during pandemic

The city said it’s important for affordable properties to be maintained so they don’t become “uninhabitable.”

The city of Tampa announced this week that it had launched a new program to offer deferred payment loans to landlords of multi-family affordable housing properties who have seen major decreases in rent because of the pandemic.

The goal of the Rental Rehab Program is to help landlords continue to afford needed repairs, without which some housing could become “uninhabitable,” according to a news release. Having units fall into disrepair would force evictions and decrease the area’s supply of affordable housing, the city said.

“As we navigate through this post-COVID-19 economy, the preservation of these units and this direct landlord support is a significant step in achieving our overall housing goals and future success,” said Mayor Jane Castor in a statement.

The city will offer loans from $100,000 up to $500,000, depending on how much money the landlords can put up to match, according to Marquaz McGhee, a community development specialist in charge of the program. McGhee said that the program is funded by federal dollars from the CARES Act coronavirus stimulus package. The loans will have zero percent interest and can be deferred each year for 10 years and eventually forgiven if the property owners keep their units affordable during that period, he added.

The program was originally launched late last month, but the city has extended the deadline for applications to be completed and approved until Dec. 30, McGhee said.

To qualify, landlords must be able to demonstrate at least a 25 percent loss in rental income from February to July compared to the same period last year. Their properties’ rent must also be affordable to families who make 80 percent of the area median income or less.

Additional criteria and the application form are available at the city’s website.

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