As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic thrusts the economy into a nosedive, many have found it increasingly difficult to punctually pay the rent. Relief is available for those who are struggling and we will go over the basics. Here are a couple of ideas for you to survive the ongoing crisis:
Assess Your Budget Plan:
If you are having trouble paying your rent while you still have a job and a consistent source of income, then perhaps you need to have a moment of honest self-accountability. Either the problem is with how much money you are making or how much money you are spending. If you feel that the money you are making should enable you to pay the rent, then you need to come up with a better budget plan that cuts out all the indulgences so that you can invest your limited monetary resources in all the essentials instead. However, the fact also could be that your income is simply not sufficient to meet all your living needs.
Creating a budget plan based on your needs will be a great first step. This financial insight can provide you the proper map you need to manage your money in the best way for your situation. You may want to consider professional help if you are struggling to create a budget plan on your own. Experts have the years of experience within that field to show you the best ways you can create a budget. There are also tools online, and apps on your phone that can assist as well. You have a variety of tools, make sure you use them!
Communicate with Your Landlord:
Choose the path of diplomacy rather than the path of war. It’s important to tell your landlord that you have been hitting hard times, especially when there is an ongoing pandemic that has been affecting business. Laws have been put in place to prevent evictions, but it is still important that you open up communication with your landlord on this matter so that it does not become an even bigger issue later on.
Develop an Awareness of Rights:
As a tenant, you have a certain set of rights that you are entitled to and it’s important for you to know them so that you are not taken advantage of by your landlord or anyone else.There are many sources that you can use to educate yourself about the rights that you have as a tenant. This includes:
- Eviction Lab gives you details of all the latest eviction policies: COVID-19 and Changing Eviction Policies Around the Nation (evictionlab.org)
- Information on rental relief and tenant’s rights is also available on the US Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Department (hud.gov)
- Regional Housing Legal Services (RHLS): Eviction Moratorium Maps – RHLS
- Community Resources | Just Shelter
Explore the Different Rent Relief Options:
There are several rental options you can explore if you have trouble paying your rent. The first thing we recommend you do is consult the National Low Income Housing Coalition (Rental Assistance | National Low Income Housing Coalition (nlihc.org) and they can tell you about the rental relief initiatives in your locality. In addition, you can also consult 211.org as well as the Fannie Mae Disaster Response Network (Disaster Resiliency and Relief | Fannie Mae)
One popular program that has been created as a result of COVID-19 is the Emergency Rental Assistance program (ERAP). This program is a part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020. $21.5 billion is available for households that cannot pay rent and utilities. These federal funds will be provided to states, local governments, indian tribes, and U.S. Territories directly. This means that each locality has their own obligation to create an assistance program and allocation plan for the funds they receive.
You can also find available resources through a quick internet search. Organizations have compiled lists of existing rental assistance opportunities by state which can be easily found online. You can use these lists as a reference when talking to your local public housing authority (PHA) about housing assistance near you.
It can be a challenge handling rent, especially during unprecedented times. Besides handling your own finances, there are programs that can help. There are a variety of assistance options available. The best place to start looking for housing assistance is with your local public housing authority (PHA). Here they can provide you information about federal, state, and local program availability! Once you have that information you can begin the process of finding rental assistance options that are right for your situation!