What Should You Do If You Can't Pay Rent During the Pandemic?

April 29, 2020

Across the country, people are finding it harder and harder to come up with the payment for their monthly bills amid the coronavirus pandemic and the economic impacts it has.

With many laid off, furloughed, taking pay cuts, or unable to go to work, people are finding it difficult to wrap their heads around their first-of-the-month rent payments. So what should you do if you find yourself unable to pay up?

According to CNN, these are the steps you should take.

Know your tenant protections

In many places across the country, there are eviction moratoriums in place. This means that your landlord can't kick you out right now if you fail to come up with the funds for the cost of your home.

According to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), there is a 120-day moratorium on evictions and late fees for those buildings that have their mortgages backed by the government.

If you experience an illegal lock-out, seek legal aid.

Have a conversation with your landlord

It's possible that your landlord can accept partial payment or allow you to defer your rent payment for a period of time, giving you more of a cushion to come up with the funds. You won't know until you ask.

Advocates advise tenants to document all of the requests they make, so the agreements you come up with alongside your landlord are in writing somewhere.

Use relief resources and other tenants to your advantage

State-by-state, officials are coming up with ways to help residents who have been negatively impacted financially by the coronavirus crisis. The Dallas City Council, for example, approved a $13.7 million relief fund to help community members pay rent, mortgages, and utilities if they are unemployed or furloughed.

Reaching out to the other tenants around you can be a valuable resource in finding out what's available to you all as residents of a complex or building. It can be empowering to connect with the people around you who may be in similar boats.

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