In the U.S., at least 49 million households rent their home. While apartments are the most common, renters also live in single family homes, condos, and mobile homes.
Your landlord might be a local owner or a commercial property management company. They have different business goals, but they do have one thing in common—they both depend on tenant rental payments every month.
But what if money is tight and you’re having trouble paying rent? Read on to learn about available rent resources and strategies you can use to get financial assistance for rent.
1. Check the Terms of Your Lease
Get out your renter’s agreement and see what it says about rental payments. Is there a grace period for paying rent? Do you have to pay a fee if your rent is late?
The lease will tell you what your landlord can do legally, depending on how late your rent will be. You’ll also see what your rights are as a tenant.
If you’re very behind on rent, you might get a notice saying you need to either pay or move out. In more serious cases, your landlord could start the eviction process.
2. Explain the Situation to Your Landlord
If you’re worried you might have trouble paying rent, try reaching out to your landlord. If you’ve been a good renter, explain your situation in writing. By explaining you recently lost your job, they might be willing to work something out with you.
And if you can afford it, offer to make a later payment, or offer to pay in installments.
Remember that landlords depend on rent to pay their own bills, so they may or may not be willing to compromise. That said, it’s still worthwhile to be open with your landlord.
3. Use the 211 Resource
The United Way’s resource, 211, connects people to assistance programs in their area. They can direct you to assistance programs to help you pay rent, buy food, get healthcare, and more.
You can visit their website to find your local office or dial 211 on the phone. Either way, you’ll get to talk to a live representative that can point you in the right direction. All the conversations are confidential and you can also get translation services.
4. Reach Out to Your State or Local Social Service Agency
Aside from temporary bans on evictions, many states and counties have also created emergency funds to help during coronavirus. Your state might have a program for emergency help paying rent, food, and other bills. Even if they don’t, they can refer you to other programs or foundations that can help.
Use the search tool on the USA.gov website to filter by your state. Once you find your state, you can find contact information for your local office. Call or fill out a contact form to get more information on how to apply.
5. Contact the Salvation Army
You can get help paying rent, covering utilities, buying groceries, and more through the Salvation Army. They offer one-time assistance if you’ve lost your job or had any other kind of financial setback.
To start the process, fill out the referral form on their website. You can also see where to find your local branch.
6. Apply for a Modest Needs Grant
Modest Needs is a national charity that offers grants to people facing sudden financial problems. If you’ve recently lost your job or had your hours cut back, this is a good option if you’re not making enough through unemployment.
To fill out the application, you’ll need your most recent tax return or bank statement. The application takes less than an hour to finish. You can find out more information about applying for these grants on the Modest Needs website.
7. Long-Term Solutions for Rent Payment Help
If you’re regularly having trouble paying rent, there are other things you can do to make it more affordable. These aren’t short-term solutions but can help you save money in the long run.
First, think about getting a roommate. Make sure you choose someone dependable, so you’ll have an equal partner to split expenses with.
You can also move to a more affordable apartment or house. Whether you downsize or move to a less expensive neighborhood, it’s a good way to cut back on your expenses.
Plus, if you don’t already, now is a good time to make a budget. Once you know exactly what your income and expenses look like, you can make more informed choices.
Get Financial Assistance for Rent Today
Everyone goes through financial struggles at some point in their life. If you’re having a tough time, know that you’re not alone.
If you’re worried you won’t be able to pay your rent, there are many types of aid available. Use any of the above resources to get financial assistance for rent and you could be back on your feet in no time.
If you’re trying to get your finances back in shape, check out this article to learn what to avoid as you begin your journey.