With the coronavirus still shutting down many businesses, plenty are worried about rent and bills during the pandemic. No one wants to miss rent payments and end up on the street! Thankfully, there are a few steps you can save to save yourself from eviction.
Facing The Struggle
In February, when 28-year-old Ximena Kilroe and her husband found the perfect Brooklyn apartment for less than $3,000 a month, they had no idea COVID-19 hid right around the corner. Now, they’ve gone from being able to comfortably afford rent to finding it impossible due to job loss. “I’ve never been in this position before of not having a job and not being able to pay my rent, and these conversations are really difficult,” Kilroe said. “We’re doing what we can with the resources that we have.”
Meanwhile, Kilroe and her husband are not alone. More than 10 million Americans lost their jobs to the “corona-economy,” many of whom have no savings at all. While the US government passed the CARES act, a single $1,200 check barely covers half of one month’s rent for many families. And while some cities have introduced eviction bans, Kilroe and others know they will likely expire before the job market and economy returns to normal. So, she took the first step that anyone having issues should do: talked to her landlord.
Get In Touch With A Landlord
If you’re having trouble paying rent due to coronavirus, first talk to your landlord. While many like to portray landlords as money-grubbing fat cats, most are actually nice, normal, just like everyone else! So, don’t hesitate to reach out and see if you can make a plan. “Part of the reason we wanted to reach out to them a month in advance is to say, Hey, we paid this on time this month even though we’re all unemployed,” Kilroe commented. “That would be points toward us really wanting to make something work.”
Also, if you can, make an appointment, binging along documentation like a letter from your previous employers or unemployment applications. During the meeting, “ask if they can share your options via email or letter, so you have it in writing,” said Leslie Tayne, founder and attorney at Tayne Law Group. “If you are offered a rental-deferment plan, make sure it’s in writing as well. Thoroughly read and understand the terms before signing and agreeing to them.”
Finally, let your landlord honestly know how and when you can repay them. Open up, so they can understand and help. “Nobody wants to just get a text or email saying times are tough, and we need help,” explained Colin Cook, a landlord in Portland, Oregon. “What is your runway on finances? When do you think you might need help if it’s not right away? Be as honest and open as you can, because this will help your landlord plan too.”
Finding More Financial Help
As stated, most landlords are good people. However, some are not, and even some nice ones may not be able to work with you on a rent plan. In this case, its time to start contacting other financial assistance programs. Begin with trusted government programs, especially those found on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s websites. Many private organizations can also help out individuals in times of need, like the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, United Way, work programs, and the like.
“Everything is just out of our control. We have to take it day by day and be as empathetic and generous with other people as we can be,” Kilroe said.