Most of the Americans live on a tight budget. They only earn enough money to meet their ends meet. Rent is the major expense of middle and lower class American families and takes a large chunk of their income each month. However, there might be some circumstances where one faces a financial crisis. You might have lost your job or have to pay money for a lawsuit filed against you. It can frightening to even think that you do not have enough cash to pay for your next rent and you might probably lose the roof over your head. Since, most of the landlords have allowed a small grace period, you can run a great risk of being evicted.
However, you are not completely powerless and you can get some assistance and financial help to pay your rent. There are many state run organizations, non-profit agencies and charities that extend their help and provide emergency rent assistance. If you have received a notice of eviction, these organizations can be of great help and make sure that you are not left homeless. But, the type of help varies, as some organization provides financial aid, while others give their advice and help you to get out of your difficult situation.
Similarly, there are other immediate measures that one can take that would greatly help them to pay rent. Below are eight common ways to get help paying rent.
1. Speak to your Landlord
You might be a very good tenant in the past and always made sure to pay your rent on time, however you are on a tight budget this month and expected to be a little late in paying the due amount. It is, therefore best to speak to your landlord and explain your situation honestly and inform him of your difficult financial situation. You must be able to give your landlord an idea about when you will be able to pay your rent. If however you do not expect any improvement of your financial standing, you can even negotiate on your rent payments and lower them. Make sure to get them in writing, so in time of eviction you can have proof and avoid any legal suits against you. Remember, if the terms of your lease states that you have to pay a late fee, then you will be obliged to fulfill those terms despite your bad financial situation.
2. Search for a Roommate
You might have rented a whole apartment for yourself and after a few months you realize how difficult it is to bear the expense of paying rent alone. Finding a roommate to share your expenses can be your best bet and will help you to pay rent on time. However, before taking a new member in your house, inform your landlord and draw a new lease so you can have a written agreement with your new roommate regarding the share of rent and utilities. If any problem arises in the future with your roommate regarding the division of expenses, you will have written contract that can be enforced by the court.
3. Seek help from Friends and Family
Borrowing from friends and family has its own advantage. Seeking help to pay rent from someone who is close to you and entrust you will help you to get loan on small interest or in other cases with no interest at all. Also, you do not have to go through the hassle of signing a formal agreement which can delay the payment of loan for rent. But, in order to avoid any chance of damaging your relationship with your loved ones, it is always advisable to write the terms of loan payments, amount and agreed interest rate in writing.
4. Draw a Personal Loan
If you have a good credit score and a stable job, then it would not be difficult for you seek a loan from your local bank. Banks also approve your application of loan for rent payments if you provide collateral who promise timely repayments. If, you do not have a good credit score, but a stable job, you can go to “Ways to Work” which provide short term loans for single parents. Other organizations like “Lending Club” and “Prosper” will also help you paying rent.
Before seeking short term loan, you must be aware of the fact that you have to make monthly payments and therefore take a loan only if you can make payments on time. In case of delay, your credit score will be affected badly.
5. Secure a Charitable Grant
Many charities offer grants to help you pay your rent during a financial hardship. Unlike, loans these grants do not have to be paid back, but you must qualify for it. Grants are only granted to those who show willingness and ability to improve their financial position and have good future prospects. The people applying for grants must prove that their financial position will improve in a few months and they will be self-sufficient shortly. Below are the list of few charitable institutions working in America:
- The Salvation Army: This organization offers one time rent payments only if you prove your low financial position and apply for grant in person.
- Catholic Charities: Grants are also offered by Catholic churches for rent payments in time of your financial difficulty.
- Modest Needs: Modest needs is a private organization which offers one time rent payments for up to $1000, to only those who are on a job and prove their need.
- Local Charities: Local charitable organization extends their assistance and provide help in paying rent by offering grant money. There are various nonprofit groups working throughout US and who can be sought in financial trouble.
6. Rental Assistance Program
Social Service and Local Housing Authority Offices provide rental assistance program in many states. To qualify for assistance, you need to prove your dire financial need and your source of income. You can also seek help if you have recently lost your job and dread eviction by your landlord.
However, the rental assistance program has limited funding and they usually provide assistance to senior citizens, low income family with many children and disabled. The people who faced a sudden financial emergency, but are capable of getting on their feet will also be assisted. But, the unemployed individuals who are on state benefits and show no inclination to work, will not be helped in paying rent.
To apply for rental assistance program, visit your local social security office with your ID card, copy of lease agreement and your recent pay stub. Your application will be processed and accessed whether you qualify or not.
7. Long Term Rental Assistance
This is a state program which promises to provide long term assistance in paying rent for your existing abode or in other case will locate you to an affordable place. Although you will receive aid for several months, but you have to go through strict scrutiny before qualifying for the help. Below are some of the long assistance program offered in the US:
8. Seek Legal Guidance
There are nonprofit agencies running all over the US which provide counseling and free case management, in case you are in a difficult position and need help in paying rent. For those who cannot afford to hire a lawyer, these agencies offer pre-eviction assistance and inform you about the various government grants, subsidize housing schemes and provide reference to the assistance programs that can help you secure loans for payment of rent. Some of the agencies also act as a mediator between you and your landlord and bargain on your monthly rent on your behalf.
As soon as you see that you are in a difficult position and you need help in paying rent, start looking for assistance immediately. You should understand that securing a loan or grant is not that easy and the process usually take some days to months. Therefore, you must be aware of your financial position and should take necessary steps to avoid house eviction. Think about the best way to deal the problem in hand and always confide with your landlord.