What Should You Do If You Can’t Pay Your Rent?

Written by Ashley Sutphin Posted On Wednesday, 09 August 2023 00:00

No one wants to be in the scary situation of being unable to pay their rent, but you could find yourself facing that issue. Realize first that you aren’t alone. Many renters might have difficulty occasionally making their rent in full or on time. If you’re a responsible tenant who makes every effort to pay on time, your landlord probably won’t evict you if you’re a little late one month, but there are certain ways to approach the situation to minimize the fallout.

Look for Free Options

Rental prices are soaring, causing many people around the country to struggle. If you’re worried that you might be unable to make rent , try to look for free options once you’ve cut back on non-essentials.

You can use assistance programs, such as unemployment or others.

You should also try and talk to your landlord sooner rather than later. People are scared to approach their landlords when they have an issue with paying, but if you attempt to dodge them or don’t let them know what’s happening, it will just worsen the situation.

Your landlord might be willing to help at least for a few weeks. You could be able to, at a minimum, ask for an installment plan or for late fees to be waived.  If you have a history of making on-time payments, your landlord is more likely to help.

You should get them in writing if you negotiate terms with your landlord.

When you talk to your landlord, realize that it’s harder for them to evict you than to keep and negotiate with you. You might be able to get the landlord to accept part of your rent now and the other part later.

If your issues are only temporary, explain this to your landlord.

You could also talk with a credit counselor. Credit counselors can review your finances and identify places you could save money to put toward your rent.

If you foresee that you will have a consistent issue with paying your rent going forward, you might change your living arrangements. If your lease allows it, you might sublet a room in your apartment or the whole thing. You could move in with a family member and share rent costs. Get a roommate if your lease allows it and you have space.

You do have to be careful about the costs of breaking your lease if you have to move out.

Don’t Send a Bad Check

One thing you should never do is send a bad check. This will only make your landlord angry. If your landlord has one, you’ll also have to pay the late fee for a bounced check. Your landlord has a legal right to charge you if your check bounces.

A bounced check can also lead a landlord to terminate your tenancy altogether.

Consider Financing Some of Your Expenses

If you’re financially sound, you might finance some of your expenses that could help you cover rent. If your credit is reasonably good, you might be able to open a low-interest credit card.

One option is to borrow against the limit of a current credit card if you have one. You could be able to borrow against the limit with a fixed interest rate. Then, the money would be deposited into your bank account without needing a credit check.

Some services will let you pay your rent with a credit card, and then they’ll write a check to your landlord on your behalf, but you have to pay a processing fee.

Your last resort might be a cash advance, but you’ll pay quite a bit if you have to go with this.

If you even think you’re going to have a hard time paying your rent, the most important thing is to talk to your landlord as soon as possible and be transparent and upfront when doing so.

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