The COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented period that left tenants and landlords alike wondering whether the rent would get paid, and as days go by, landlords find it more difficult to find and keep reliable tenants.
Falling behind your rent could mean losing your home, as landlord’s can take tenants to court and evict them. Although many aren’t likely to evict if a tenant is a little behind and are more lenient due to the pandemic, you should always have a plan of action if you think you won’t be able to make rent.
Talk to Your Landlord
Before you lose your home, your landlord, whether a housing executive or a housing association, will have to follow due process. Part of that legally required procedure will be to engage you first to see if you can collectively try and sort the issue out.
Your housing officer may contact you to remind you of your rent dues. Before anything else, you may need to check and see if the amount you are being asked is correct. Get back to your landlord to explain why you fell behind with your rent payments and be honest about your financial status. If you can pay your rent dues in full, do it as soon as possible and ensure that you get a printed receipt for the payment.
Trying to solve issues related to late rent payment can be overwhelming. However, you need to remain calm, especially if you deal with landlords who react emotionally in the best interest of their business.
A heated conversation can bring more harm, while an understanding approach to the issue can lead to more effective communication. Let the conversation be respectful and be ready to follow the rules outlined in the lease agreement to the latter.
Identify How Much You Own
Falling behind rent can be demoralizing. Before settling on a plan that will work best for you, ensure that the amount your landlord says matches your records. Check your bank statements, receipts, rent books, or cards and ensure that they all add up correctly.
You can easily negotiate for a partial payment when you are sure of how much you have. If you have been a good tenant, they wouldn’t want to lose you, not to mention an eviction is expensive and time-consuming on its own.
Find out if you can agree to a payment plan that will ultimately benefit you. Remember that you will have to pay everything back, but that if partial payments are possible, they’ll be much easier to pay then full amounts in one go.
Be realistic about the amount you can afford because you can make things worse if you cannot keep up with your partial payments. A budgeting tool can help you work out how much you can afford per installment and if your landlord agrees to your plan, put it in writing and get them to sign if possible.
If you have been trying to reach out to your landlord to work out an agreement without success, seek help elsewhere. If your conversations go south and you feel like things are getting out of hand, it could mean it’s time to seek legal help.
You can seek help from your local legal aid programs to act as advocates for your conversations with your landlord. If the eviction proceedings make it to court, consider asking an attorney to represent you.
If you need financial assistance immediately, an online payday loan could be a good option. Online payday loans give you a chance to borrow up to $500 in minutes even with bad credit and can be repaid with a single payment once you get your paycheck. Such loans can also get you some additional cash to sort out other urgent situations.
What Not to Do When Behind on Rent
No matter how bad the situation is, never purposefully try to get on your landlord’s bad side. Your landlord is always counting on your timely check to probably cover the mortgage payment, and since the bank cannot forgive their tardiness, it’s naïve to think that your landlord will ignore your late payment.
No landlord wishes to deal with sneaky tenants and if your landlord has a late fee policy, then expect a rollover on the amount you already own. Never send a check that you know will bounce, as your landlord has a right to charge you if it happens as well.