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Get help with rent payments: What to do

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Rent makes up a large part of our monthly bills, with some people paying as much as 40% of their wages towards rent.[1] Alongside paying for other essentials, like electric bills and water bills, it can be easy to fall behind on rent payments and get into financial difficulty.

If you’re struggling to pay your rent, the best thing you can do is reach out to your landlord and address your money problems right away.

Whether you’ve forgotten when your rent is due, or need a few extra days to get the money, keep reading to discover how you can get help on your rental payments. We’ve also got some tips on finding the best way to pay rent for your circumstances.

Rent payment assistance – before you miss a payment

It’s best to notify your landlord as soon as you know rent may be difficult to pay this month. This gives them a heads up before you miss a payment and could mean they’re more willing to work with you, to come up with a solution.

Luckily, addressing the problem before your rent is due means there are several ways to get back on track. If you know you’re going to struggle to meet your rent payment, you should:

  • Talk to your landlord – be open with your landlord and explain that you might not be able to pay rent this month. If you’ve been in the property a while, your landlord may offer an extension on your rent, to give you time to get back on track. They might also waive any late fees.
  • Check your lease agreement – your rental agreement should say whether you have a grace period for paying your rent. This is usually a few days after your rent is due and allows you to pay your rent late, without any fees.[2]
  • Pay what you can – often, your landlord may rely on your rent to pay their own mortgage or bills. Try and pay as much rent as you can now and sort out a payment plan with your landlord for the remaining amount.[3]
  • Seek support if you think you may not be able to make ends meet this month, it can be worthwhile reaching out to local organizations and charities for help. Places like The Salvation Army offer one-time payments that could help with your rent and utility bills.[4]

Rent payment assistance – when you’ve missed a deadline

Sometimes, things can go wrong at the last minute. This could be paying for emergency repairs after your vehicle breaks down or facing money problems after losing your job. When this happens, you might end up missing your rental payment without realizing or with no time left to let your landlord know.

However, you don’t need to panic. There are still things you can do to help the situation and avoid being evicted. This includes:

  • Contact your landlord as soon as you realize you didn’t pay your rent, call your landlord. Be honest as to why you can’t pay rent and offer a solution. This could be a date when you can pay the rent, or a payment plan so you can pay in smaller chunks. Whatever you decide, make sure to get your landlord to agree to it in writing.
  • Push back on other costs – take a look at your other monthly expenses and see if you can cut some out this month, to free up some cash.
  • Apply for financial aid – there are plenty of rent payment services out there that can provide relief for people who are struggling. Ask your local government or church what support is available in your area. This could be a lump sum grant to pay your rent with, or resources to help you get back on your feet.

Tips to make your rent payments on time

When you fall behind on your rent payments, it can sometimes seem impossible to see a way out.

The good thing is, you’re not alone. Around one in six Americans are reported to be behind on their rent.[5] There are steps you can take to get back on track and protect yourself for the future. Here are our tips for paying your rent on time:

  • Act quickly – when you fall into money difficulty, it can be tempting to bury your head in the sand and hope it goes away. However, the longer you leave it, the worse the consequences can be for missing your rent payment, including eviction from your home. Instead, speak to your landlord as early as possible to figure out a solution.
  • Be honest – whether it’s to yourself or your landlord, there’s no gain to be had by lying about your financial situation. If you’re going to struggle with your rent in the future, clearly lay out your financial situation for your landlord and don’t make any promises for payments that you can’t keep.
  • Don’t suffer in silence – millions of Americans face money worries every year and there are lots of organizations out there that can help you get back on your feet and keep your home. Get in touch with your local Salvation Army or church charity to see what they can do to help.
  • Organize your expenses – circumstances change, and you may not be able to afford as much as you once could. Make a list of all your expenses each month and start budgeting for all of them. Once you know exactly what you’re paying out, you can look at areas you could cut back on, like subscription services or dining.
  • Set up an emergency fund – once you’ve caught up with your missed payments, it may be worth setting up a savings jar, in case you run into problems again. Each month, put some money aside for any emergencies that could otherwise take a chunk out of your rent money.
  • Create reminders – whether it’s a notification on your phone or a sticky note on your fridge, having a reminder to pay your rent can help you stay organized and avoid late fees. If that’s not enough, you can also speak to your landlord about setting up automatic payments.

Missing a rental payment can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed, but there are plenty of solutions out there to help you bounce back.

Be open and honest with your landlord as soon as there’s a problem, and don’t be scared to ask for support from your community, and you’ll soon be back on track with paying your rent.

Pay your rent and shop for groceries in one handy location, with Money Services in the Kroger Family of Stores. Find your local store today.

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/07/heres-the-share-of-income-that-goes-to-rent-in-cities-across-the-us.html

[2] https://www.mymove.com/moving/guides/cant-pay-rent/

[3] https://www.credit.com/blog/i-cant-pay-my-rent-this-month-what-are-my-options-137349/

[4] https://www.mymove.com/moving/guides/cant-pay-rent/

[5] https://www.cbpp.org/research/poverty-and-inequality/new-data-millions-struggling-to-eat-and-pay-rent#:~:text=One%20in%206%20adult%20renters,not%20caught%20up%20on%20rent.&text=Households%20with%20children%20were%20twice,rent%20than%20households%20without%20children.

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