Being able to comfortably pay your rent is something that many people strive to achieve. And even before the Covid-19 pandemic, far too many struggled to pay their rent on time. In these dire financial times, it can seem almost impossible to stay on top of all of your bills, least of all the most expensive, your rent. If you find that you have fallen behind in your rental payments, you should be aware of some critical concepts. The information below may help you better understand your rental payment options.
What is an Eviction Moratorium
To better assist those who have lost their jobs, the federal government has issued an eviction moratorium. It is essentially a mandate which states that you cannot be evicted from your home due to an inability to pay rent. As of now, the federal government has extended this requirement from landlords until June 30th.
Nonetheless, many landlords continue to force renters out of their homes. The current decree is primarily related to failure to pay rent. But you may technically be evicted for other reasons. Some landlords can and have exploited this loophole by stating tenants have not complied with their lease agreements. Even minor infractions such as playing loud music are reasons landlords can evict you from your home during the pandemic. And while underhanded, it is allowable.
Another matter to note is that even though evictions have been halted for non-payment of rent, it does not mean that it no longer must be paid. Many renters are in a situation in which they owe several months’ worth of back rent. And when the eviction moratorium ends, if not paid, it will place them in immediate danger of being evicted.
Talk to Your Landlord
So, what should you do if you cannot pay your rent? One of the best places to start is to have a discussion with your landlord. And even though this can be a painful conversation to have, it can help you better understand your options and best plan your future.
Many landlords prefer that you be upfront with them about your financial situation. Understanding your financial circumstances, they may then be able to help you with a new payment plan to ease your burden and get your payments back on track.
For instance, would it work better for you to pay your rent on a different date than what was agreed to in your lease? Or perhaps making partial payments is all you can afford at this time. If so, making half your rent is better than not paying it at all. Making partial payments demonstrates your willingness to work in good faith on the debt you owe. And you will be glad that you have paid at least something when the federal government’s moratorium expires.
Contact Local Organizations
Another good option for you to consider if you are truly in a bind is to reach out to local non-profit organizations that focus on housing-related issues. Many of these organizations have funds to assist people who are not able to pay their rent. Sometimes they can help you pay off or pay a portion of your rent for a few months to help you get back on your feet.
And lastly, as part of the coronavirus relief package, the federal government has provided funds to local governments to assist renters in distress. However, accessing these funds can sometimes be particularly challenging. If you are unsure of whom to contact to get more information about these programs, a good place to start is to call your city or county representative’s office. They should be able to provide you with more information or at least tell you which government office is handling those applications.
Being unable to pay your rent is one of the most pressing concerns during this pandemic. However, with the key information above, you should have a better understanding of your options and what to expect during these challenging times if you lack the funds needed to make rent payments consistently. Hopefully, reaching out to your landlord, non-profit organizations, and your local government can provide further explanation of the benefits or assistance you may qualify for that can help you get back to a better financial situation.
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