What Happens if You Can’t Pay Rent This Month, or Next?[yoast-breadcrumb]
What Happens if You Can’t Pay Rent This Month, or Next?
Lots of folks are struggling to pay rent right now. You’re not alone. Times are tough for many people. We get it–bills pile up, hours get cut, and suddenly rent’s due. Don’t panic. Take a deep breath. There are options. We’re here to help walk you through what to do if you can’t pay rent.
Talk to Your Landlord
First things first, talk to your landlord. Let them know the situation. See if you can work out a payment plan to pay back rent over time. Many landlords are open to this because they want to keep good tenants. They may let you spread payments out over a few months or waive late fees. Never hurts to ask.
If your landlord won’t budge, see if they’ll accept partial payment for now. Paying something shows you’re trying in good faith. Then follow up with the full amount when you’re able. At minimum, pay what you can each month. Even partial payments show you’re committed to meeting your obligations.
Look Into Rental Assistance
Lots of government and nonprofit programs offer rental assistance. Do some Googling to find ones available where you live. Here are a few to check out:
- HUD rental assistance programs – For low-income renters
- Rental assistance programs by state – Search by your state
- Help with bills from USA.gov – Lists various aid programs
These programs provide grants, loans, or vouchers to cover all or part of your rent. Eligibility varies, but worth applying if your income’s taken a hit. This can buy you time to get back on your feet.
See If You Qualify for Unemployment
If you’ve lost your job, apply for unemployment benefits right away. The extra $600 weekly from the federal stimulus can really help. Even if you’re still working reduced hours, you may qualify for partial unemployment. Don’t leave this extra money on the table.
Unemployment offices are slammed right now, so be persistent. Keep calling and filing your claim until it goes through. The benefits are retroactive, so you’ll get back pay for the full time you’ve been out of work.
Call 211 For Local Assistance
Dial 211 on your phone to speak to a local specialist who can connect you with assistance programs in your area. It’s a free, confidential service. They’ll assess your situation and refer you to resources to help cover food, housing, utilities, childcare, and more. This can point you to local aid you may not find on your own. Call today to see what’s available.
Ask Friends or Family for Help
Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family for financial help. Explain the situation and ask if they can float you a small loan to get through this period. Offer to sign a repayment agreement. With so many people hurting, they may not be able to help, but it never hurts to ask. Even a couple hundred bucks can make a difference.
Apply for Hardship Protections
Many states have enacted protections for renters impacted by COVID-19. For example, eviction moratoriums temporarily stop evictions due to non-payment. And some states prevent utility shut-offs. Do research to see what hardship protections apply in your area. This FAQ from the National Low Income Housing Coalition is a great resource.
Prioritize Rent in Your Budget
Get serious about freeing up cash for rent. Take an ultra-lean budgeting approach. Cut out all non-essentials – dining out, entertainment, new clothes. See if you can lower monthly bills by calling service providers to ask for a rate reduction or canceling subscriptions you can live without. With some sacrifice, you may be able to scrape together more for rent.
Consider Getting a Roommate
Splitting rent with a roommate – even temporarily – can take pressure off you financially. Lots of people are looking for housing right now after losing their jobs or income. If you have space, taking on a roommate can help cover your rental gap. Just be sure to pick someone trustworthy you’re comfortable living with.
Explore Payment Plan Options
Before missing a payment, see if your bank, credit card issuer, auto lender, or other creditors offer hardship assistance. Many have programs allowing you to pause or reduce payments for a period. This can help you redirect cash to rent in the short term. Be sure to ask about any impact to your credit or interest charges.
Talk to Your Landlord Again
If you’ve made efforts but still can’t pay, have another conversation with your landlord. Explain all the steps you’ve taken and ask if they have any other suggestions. Let them know you want to work with them to get through this. Landlords often want to avoid costly evictions. With open communication, you may be able to reach a reasonable resolution.
And remember, lots of people are going through financial struggles right now. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Things will get better. Stay hopeful and keep moving forward one step at a time.