See how Rent.com is responding to coronavirus and taking steps to help renters and property managers during this challenging time.
The coronavirus pandemic is having a major impact on the economy and could lead to more tenants seeking out rent payment assistance.
According to an industry report from Entrata, 83 percent of occupied units made a rent payment in the first week of April. This might seem low at first glance, but it’s actually a higher percentage of renters compared to last year at this time.
However, this rate could go down if the coronavirus economic impacts continue into the summer and unemployment rates remain high.
Whether you need rent payment assistance due to the coronavirus or you were already dealing with financial troubles, here are five steps you should take.
1. Ask for an extension from your landlord
The first thing you should do is speak with your landlord or property manager. Many companies are willing to set up payment plans, waive late fees and temporarily suspend evictions during the pandemic.
Justin Becker, the owner of Brookfield Management, provides the following advice for tenants who need rent payment assistance:
“We encourage our residents to get in contact with us ASAP if they are not able to pay their rent on time. We are willing to work with our residents on payment plans, as long as they hold up their end of the bargain.” – Justin Becker, owner of Brookfield Management
Work with your property manager to determine a plan to pay the full rent by a certain date.
2. Apply for charitable grants
It’s not easy to ask for help, but sometimes you have nowhere to turn. Secular nonprofits and faith organizations might be a viable solution. They offer emergency and longer-term housing grants to individuals and families.
- 2.1.1. is a national organization that’s part of the United Way. It can give you support when you need it the most. Call 211 or check out resources online in your area code through the organization’s website. Support to help with rent because of hardship is one of the organization’s go-to efforts.
- Did you know that the Salvation Army can help with a one-time grant? Look into it at your local chapter. You must apply in person and provide proof of your financial hardship.
- Talk face-to-face with a caseworker at Catholic Charities. They off emergency aid grants for paying rent, along with other everyday expenses that people fall short on. Society of St. Vincent De Paul is another Catholic ministry you can turn to.
- Jewish Federations of North America assistance programs include helping with basic needs, such as rent and utilities. Committed to providing social services, some emergency financial assistance is offered from the charity for needy families and individuals. Check your local Federation office for details.
- Modest Needs is a non-profit organization that offers up to $1,000 in grant monies from private funders. The grant can be for a single emergency expense. Modest Needs only considers necessary expenses for a household, such as rent, electric or gas bills. If you’re gainfully employed, find out application rules on the Modest Needs website.
3. Turn to government social services
This is a call you’ll make for one-time help with rent because of hardship. But know ahead of time that your case will depend on available funding that varies state-by-state.
4. Apply for debt hardship programs
Figure out your bottom-line cause for not meeting your monthly rent responsibility. Is it credit card debt or a student loan? Are you living above your means? Get real about it and seek temporary relief by asking for a hardship payment plan. While all lenders are different — once you get up the courage to call — you might be surprised by what’s available.
For existing debt, consider a lower interest rate, longer repayment terms, fixed repayments, fee waivers, reductions or more. A hardship program may affect your credit score (check this out before you enroll). But the long-term pros might outweigh the cons of not being able to pay your rent.
5. Get help from friends and family
If you need immediate help and can’t wait for applications from other rent payment assistance programs, consider asking your friends and family for a loan.
It’s not ideal and people tend to be embarrassed to ask for help, but this tactic might be the best way to receive interest-free help.
Just be sure you are responsible in making repayments and don’t make this charity a habit. According to CNBC, bigger ticket items for millennials, such as making rent payments (nearly 13 percent) already come directly from mom and dad’s bank account.
Get the rent payment assistance you need
It can happen to anyone.
One day everything is solid and the next day it’s not. Do some advance work if you aren’t going to make your rent on time. Speak to your rental office or landlord. Reach out for help through grants or other monies. Reorganize the way you live. Scrutinize your lifestyle and cut out what’s costing more than you can afford.