If you have fallen on difficult financial times, and you’re late on your rent for several months, you may be in a position to receive an eviction notice from your landlord. You may want to contact your landlord to see if they can grant you a grace period for you to create a plan to get back in good standing.
1. Email or Send a Letter with a Clear Plan
If you sense or know an eviction notice is imminent, draft a well-written and organized letter to your landlord. Do not send a text message or leave a voice mail. Put your plea in writing. Take the time to put your request in a format which outlines your action plan. Also outline the reasons why you got behind on your rent. For example, what it caused by job loss due to COVID-19, illness, personal issues or a family issue. If the issue is job loss, consider sharing an update on your job situation if there is one.
2. Create a Plan for Rent Repayment
If you were tardy in paying your rent due to job loss, you can explain that you’re now employed and will do your best to pay within 60 days. Your landlord may accept your offer. If they do, create a plan to pay weekly installments.
3. As Family or Friends to Help
Similarly, to boost your chances of being granted a grace period, ask a family member or a friend to help with the rent. Get a promissory note from friends or relatives. You can then present a copy of this document to your landlord. In this manner, you are displaying a guarantee for back rent. This may sway your landlord to give you a grace period.
4. See if You can Barter with Your Landlord
Your landlord may benefit from some talents or services you can provide in lieu of rent while you get your financial situation in better order. Perhaps painting, cleaning or other hands-on work needs to be done in your property or the dwellings they own or manage. You can suggest that you would be willing to pay down your rent by helping them. This may be an option.
5. Negotiate Fees
If you have been charged late fees or interest due to late rent, ask your landlord if they would deduct these fees and interest. This can help pare down the amount that you owe. Once those fees are deducted, create a plan for realistic repayment.
6. Contact a Tenant Advocacy Program or Agency
There are agencies and organizations in your city that are ready and willing to help. A quick Internet search with the keywords, tenant advocacy plus your city or town will yield resources. These professionals can brainstorm with you and could possibly help with rent assistance, lead you to other resources, or also help draft a letter to your landlord.
7. Explore your COVID-19 rental rights
There have been several halts on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. These exemptions vary by location and by situation. If you were delinquent prior to the statute, you may not qualify. The tenant advocacy agency will know if you qualify.
Show a Good Faith Effort
If you need some additional time in paying your rent because you are facing challenges like job loss, family issues or illness, contact your landlord and explain your situation. This should be done in writing. It’s important not to ignore notices from your landlord letting you know you are delinquent in meeting your rent obligations. The best approach is honesty and staying in touch with your landlord.
To help with your situation, reach out to tenant advocacy agencies in your city. They can help with suggestions, and may even help create a plan with your landlord.
The best course of action is to stay calm and not create any additional stress for your landlord. Propose a good-faith plan for paying the back rent within a reasonable time. Ask relatives or friends they can help pay your back rent.
If you have been a good tenant before these financial troubles, make sure to highlight this with your landlord. Your history as being a good tenant can only work in your favor.