What to do if you can't pay your rent

Posted at 9:48 AM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 18:03:22-04

If you're struggling to find the money to pay rent this month, you do have some options.

News 3 spoke with Brian Carberry, Managing Editor of Apartment Guide, for some advice.

He says the first step you should take is to have an honest conversation with your landlord about your situation and be ready with a plan for how you'll eventually pay your rent.

That can mean paying it back in installments over several months, paying a portion now or asking to defer your payment for a few months.

Another option is to ask if you can use your security deposit to pay for this month.

"The downside of that is if there is damage to your apartment when you move out, if something broke or you haven’t been the cleanest tenant, you may have to pay more out of pocket when you do move out," said Carberry, "but if you’ve been responsible and you’ve been careful, that money is sitting there. In most cases the landlord would rather have that rent payment now and then worry about collecting more money from you when you move out later."

Although many landlords are trying to be accommodating right now, that's not going to be the case for everyone.

“There’s always going to be someone that’s demanding their money now and is a little less flexible,” said Carberry.

In that situation, Carberry says you should use part of your stimulus payment on rent or check with charities to see if they have rental support.

If you have to, you should even check with family and friends to see if they can help.

“I would just advise not to treat it like a handout, and make sure you have a plan that you’re going to pay back your money that’s being lent to you,” said Carberry.

Carberry says whatever you do, it's better to at least pay a portion of your rent now than defer it all to later, even if you can't be evicted right now.

He also says you should try to have some empathy for your landlord.

"Keep in mind that your landlord or property manager is dealing with a lot of stress too right now. In addition to trying to collect rent from all of their tenants, they might be in a situation where they’re struggling to pay rent themselves.”

You can find more advice by going to Apartment Guide's website.

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