Q:

What should tenants do when they cannot pay their rent?

A:

Quick Answer

The first thing tenants should do when they cannot pay their rent is to try to find additional funds to help make ends meet. If that does not work, they can try to negotiate their rent with their landlord or seek financial assistance.

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Full Answer

One of the best ways to close a gap between rent and income is to find a roommate to help share the rental costs. This not only helps cover rent, but also helps cover the cost of utilities. Tenants should talk to their landlords about sharing their apartments or houses to make sure that sharing is an option.

If getting a roommate is not an option and the financial situation is temporary, tenants may also want to ask family members or friends if they can borrow some money to help make their rent payments. If they have a good credit score, they can also take out a personal loan to help cover rental costs until their financial situation improves.

Tenants who have long-term problems with making rent payments can talk to their landlords about their situation. They may be able to come to an agreement to reduce their rent payments, change the payment schedule or trade work to help make up the difference.

Tenants can also seek assistance to help make rent payments. Local charities and organizations such as The Salvation Army sometimes offer short-term assistance to people in financial need. Services such as Social Services or the Local Housing Authority may also provide short-term financial assistance. Tenants experiencing long-term financial problems can apply for long-term government assistance programs, such as federal subsidized housing and state housing assistance programs.

Tenants who are facing eviction should contact the Legal Aid Society, which offers pre-eviction legal assistance free of charge.

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