I Can’t Afford to Pay My Rent, What Do I Do?
In 2020, little did we know just how much COVID-19 would change most of our lives. Two years later and some businesses are up and running while others have certainly left their mark on the people and their families who lost their jobs and their security.
What the pandemic has symbolized to many is loss. Loss of loved ones, of business, of job security, and of opportunity. It has also compromised the ability to keep a roof over one’s head. Not only has income been affected but property prices are higher than ever with rising inflation over the last decade. This has led to high rental rates that cannot be afforded by individuals and families.
When You Can’t Afford Your Rent, What are the Consequences?
Finding yourself in the very difficult position of being unable to afford the monthly rent is an incredibly challenging time. No one wants to feel at risk of losing their home but this sad reality affects the lives of people of all ages, backgrounds, and even income levels.
When you can’t pay the rent on time or you don’t pay rent at all, your landlord is within their full right to legally evict you. The moratorium by the government was created in 2021 with the purpose of preventing evictions and assisting those who couldn’t afford to pay their rent. The end of the moratorium has led to more evictions because so many people simply can’t afford the high rent.
Combine a lack of income or no increases in income with the higher cost of rent and general living and it simply makes it impossible for households to manage their regular apartment or rental home.
The consequences of delaying paying rent will include a notice of eviction with a period to remedy the situation which means paying the rent. If you don’t pay the rent, then the landlord can move forward with legal measures to get you out. They can also pursue a legal case against you if they want to claim back rent.
Remember that an eviction will also affect your rental history. It goes onto your rental history record for 7 years so when you want to rent a future apartment or house, the new landlord will have access to your previous eviction.
When You Can’t Afford Your Rent, Here’s What You Should Do
If you have received a cut in pay or lost your job and you know that you won’t be able to afford next month’s rent, it is best to speak to the landlord. Don’t ignore the problem and wait until you get a notice from your property manager or landlord. In some cases, landlords and management can introduce you to rent assistance programs or housing help so you can receive temporary aid until you can find another place to rent or a financial solution to cover the remaining rent.
Discuss the lease with the landlord if you know you cannot pay the rent and you still have a few months on the lease. You may have to break the lease but if this is agreed upon with the landlord, you may be able to avoid any harsh penalties.
Approach the HUD, the US housing agency that may be able to assist with options for housing from applying for public housing to temporary housing. You can also access second chance housing which includes consideration for those with evictions or a negative credit history.
There’s Always Hope
When your circumstance seems dire, there are options available to you. It is important to think about your options and to work towards getting back on your feet.