What to Do When You Cannot Pay Your Rent on Time

By: Abdullah Haroon

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Life hardly unfolds perfectly. You might have sorted out every problem of your life but one out of blue incident may carry the potential capacity of capsizing your life.

The inside truth of the rental market is that there is hardly any renter who has not skipped rent installments in their career. However, if you have a good track record of paying rent and are honest with your commitments, and are just unable to pay rent because of a temporary shortage of funds, chances are that your landlord will extend the timeline and won’t ask you to evict the property.

However, the issue you are facing might drag on sometimes, so you need to know the following details to cope with the situation.

1. Know Your Protections in the Days of the Epidemic:

The outbreak is taking a serious toll on humans across the globe and people are still finding ways how to react to it. The governments are coming up with certain rules and programs to assist people with new changes especially those related to finance.

Most of the states have imposed a ban on eviction during the epidemic. If some have not, courts have already decided to postpone non-essential cases and only deal with utmost cases in the courts. Some courts are hearing eviction matters which are not related to the rents—such as selling drugs on the property or posing a threat to other people or property.

Keep Protection

However, a ban on eviction does not allow the tenant to skip the rent payments.

Your landlord may still be entitled to assess late fees, interest, or other penalties for not paying the rent on time. If you find yourself in trouble of not paying rent in time, it’s better to talk it through with your landlord. Take your landlord in confidence instead of pushing deadlines for no reason.

Note: Do visit your local court’s website for more information about the status of eviction lawsuits where you live.

2. Try to Negotiate Terms with your Landlord:

A better response to your hard times is to discuss your situation and requesting for an extension with your landlord. If you have built a good relationship with your landlords over the years, your landlord would not want to evict property from you. Besides, it’s often difficult and expensive to evict property and find a new tenant for the landlord, as well.

Negotiate with your Landlord

You shall probably try to get the landlord to accept a compromised portion of the rent now and the rest later.  You can ask a favor to make installments of the missing amount.

Follow the Following Steps:

  • Request your landlord in writing to ask to extend the deadline.
  • Furnish the details of your difficulties and reiterate that it’s only a temporary issue.
  • Do offer to pay a portion of the rent in time, if possible.
  • Let your landlord know the written assurance of your plan to pay the full rent by a certain date, and make sure to keep your words.
  • Also, take your landlord in confidence that it is not going to happen again and that will keep paying future rents in time.
  • If a landlord asks you to add a late fee to the rent, be prepared for that. Try and bring your landlord around to forgo a late fee if you feel it is only a rare occurrence.

3. Don’t Underestimate the Problem and Look Another Way:

You might be tempted to think that your landlord has many units at rent and is likely to forget one missing check because of the overload of the management. It is quite a wrong perception on your behalf.

Remember, it is highly likely that your landlord is counting on your timely check to pay her mortgage payment. Because the bank won’t forget her laziness, she can’t afford to let go of yours. And it’s naïve enough to consider that you can ignore the landlord’s phone calls or emails or she will accept your lame excuses.

4. Do Not Send a Check You Know Will Bounce:

It is going to infuriate the landlord if she has to deal with your consistently bounced rent checks. Making her angry is not the only consequence you have to face; bear in mind that sending a worthless check (or one that’s not signed) is like sending no rent at all. If your landlord has a late fee policy, you will be charged additionally against that. On keep repeating the mistake, if the landlord chooses, she can also terminate your tenancy.

Much like other businesses, your landlord is equipped with a legal right to fine you if your rent check bounces. However, the charge must look reasonable, such as the amount the bank charges for a returned check, probably $10 to $20 per returned item, plus a few dollars for creating inconvenience to the landlord.

Do Not Send Check which bounce

This clause might have been in the lease or rental agreement or using an obvious sign in the rental office where you bring your monthly check that bounced check will cost you a fine o a few extra dollars.

5. Look For the Relief:

Governments are coming up with financial packages to assist those who are affected severely by the epidemic. Some states have allocated funds to help those who can’t pay rent.

Organizations are pressing it hard on the governments to increase the allocated budget for the struggling renters.

You shall keep a close eye on these developments and figure out where you qualify for the loan and apply for that. Hopefully, these relief packages will help with your rent.

Final Thoughts:

No matter how genuine your issues are, you shall never consider disappearing or not taking your landlord in confidence about the developments. You shall try to resolve the matter through negotiations and laying out an alternative plan to pay the rent.

We believe by following these instructions, you will come through the crisis unscathed.

Related Article:

Rent Due Date And Rent Grace Period
What is a Rent Roll and How Does it Work?
Renter FAQs