Hillsborough County Housing Stability Program

Are you a Hillsborough County renter having housing problems? Help is available!

The Hillsborough County Housing Stability Program provides Hillsborough tenants the knowledge, resources, and services to effectively, efficiently, and amicably solve their disputes with their landlords outside the court system.

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Mediation for Tenants and Landlords

What is mediation?
Mediation is outside the court process and can be used to settle landlord tenant issues without an eviction filing.

Mediation provides a middle ground for safe and productive discussion so that landlords and tenants can get on the same page. Mediation is moderated or directed by a neutral, independent, professionally trained Mediator who helps the landlord and tenant address concerns and come to an agreement to solve their issues.

Mediation is voluntary, so both the landlord and tenant have to agree to participate. If you agree to participate in mediation, we would ask you to wait for the mediation process to conclude before filing an eviction against the tenant.

What is the goal of mediation?
Mediation would ideally result in a comprehensive plan for the remainder of the relationship. This could be a plan to continue under the current lease agreement, or a plan to enter a new agreement, or a plan to move out on everyone’s schedule, or some other plan to return possession of the property. It just depends on the desires and needs of each landlord and tenant.

If a landlord and tenant come to a plan, we will prepare a written settlement agreement detailing the plan and each side will sign it.

What does mediation cost?
Mediation is provided free for tenants, who qualify for their program, and their landlord.

How long does mediation take?
Screening a tenant can be done over the phone and then once both the tenant and landlord agree to mediation, the virtual mediation session over zoom can be scheduled within a week.

What do you need for mediation?

  • You must be a Hillsborough tenant or renter.
  • You must qualify for the program (see requirements below).
  • You must have a dispute or some issue with your landlord.
  • You must have an open mind and want to work out the issue.
  • Your landlord must agree to participate, as mediation is voluntary.

What are the benefits of mediation?

  • Free, no-cost to you
  • Virtual
  • Clear and short time frame to resolve issue
  • Quicker access to rental assistance funds, sometimes as quickly as 7 days to receive funds
  • Avoids the hassle and cost of court
  • Come to a solution, rather than fighting in court
  • Amicable process instead of adversarial

What kind of issues can mediation address?

  • If you have missed a rent payment or will miss a rent payment, mediation may be for you.
  • If your tenant is behind in payments, mediation may be for you.
  • If you got a notice from your landlord, mediation may be for you.
  • If your tenant has not responded to notices, mediation may be for you.
  • If your landlord wants you to move out, mediation may be for you.  
  • If your lease expiring and you and your landlord disagree about what comes next, mediation may be for you.  
  • If you are having trouble with your landlord taking payments, or fixing things, mediation may be for you.
  • If your rent is being raised, mediation may be for you.

Other Services for Tenants

Rental and other financial assistance so that tenants can get caught up and back on track, while landlords are made whole within a predictable timeframe. The Program offers clear updates throughout the application process, comprehensive communication surrounding approval timeframes and amounts, faster application review, and expedited payment.

Hands-on assistance applying so those with language, ability, technology, or other barriers can get the help they need throughout the application process.

Information and legal advice so tenants understand their rights and responsibilities as a renter, Florida Landlord-Tenant law, and the scope of their lease in order for tenants to understand their options and move toward solutions with their landlord.

Social work services so tenants facing on-going and pervasive hurdles to achieving and maintaining safe, affordable, and appropriate housing can reach housing stability through case management and connections to needed resources.

    Apply for Services

    Interested Hillsborough County renters should call the Bay Area Legal Services' Legal Aid Line: (800) 625-2257.

    We will determine if you're eligible during the phone call. We will let your landlord know if you are eligible for the program.

    The Hillsborough County Housing Stability Program is open to Hillsborough County tenants who make 80% or less of the area median income (AMI) and meet other eligibility criteria. See the list below for the household income limits by number of household members.

    1. Up to $39,400
    2. Up to $45,000
    3. Up to $50,650
    4. Up to $56,250
    5. Up to $60,750
    6. Up to $65,250
    7. Up to $69,750
    8. Up to $74,250
    9. Up to $78,750
    10. Up to $83,250

    In partnership with Community Law Program and funded by Hillsborough County.

    The Tenant's Handbook attempts to provide you with an overview of your rights and responsibilities as a tenant under Florida Law.

    The information will help you in taking the proper steps to protect these rights. The more you know about your legal rights, the better you will be able to use them.

    The Tenant's Handbook