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COVID-19: What To Do If You Can't Pay Rent Because You've Lost Your Job

According to the Labor Department, 6.6 million Americans applied for jobless benefits last week making a total of over 16 million unemployed over the last 3 weeks. That number is expected to peak at 32% of the U.S.A.’s labor population.

If you’re part of the unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, paying your rent might be hard especially if you live on a month-to-month salary basis. But don’t worry, there are still ways to help you avoid eviction. Let’s explore your options below.

1. Work on a payment plan with your landlord

Reach out to your landlord and negotiate on a payment system that you can comply and both agree on. You can suggest splitting and paying your rent on 2-4 parts of a month. When an agreement is reached, have your agreement documented.

Make sure to deliver your promise.

2. Find an eviction moratorium in your state or city

You might have an unreasonable landlord that wants to evict you at the slightest hint of rental delay. Public officials have taken measures of eviction protections during these emergency times. But these guidelines vary per state and city so research about them especially for mortgages financed by the federal government. 

If you have a pending eviction notice, find the process server for it. Their name and contact will be in the notice. Contact and inform them that an eviction moratorium is currently taking effect in the locality.

3. Write a promissory note to your landlord

When paying rent is impossible for you at this moment, you can write a letter to your landlord 7 days in advance informing them of a potential payment delay. You can also promise and include in the letter to pay within a month or two after the pandemic is over.

However, the decision still lies within your landlord whether they would accept or not.

4. Apply for remote work

If you have a laptop and internet connection, seize this opportunity and apply for an online job. Remote work is a trend nowadays as companies are asking their employees to work at home. There are many different sites and resources to use. In these sites, you can choose from different job descriptions so be sure to job search and earn some cash.

5. Get help

To severely cut your monthly costs, ask help from food banks and mutual aid groups. Congress has passed a bill through the Emergency Money for the People Act. If you’re eligible for the $2,000 stimulus check then apply for it.

Note that the stimulus check will be given monthly for a duration of six months. This issuance of the checks, however, will end once the statistics suggest that employment to population ratio for people ages 16 and older is greater than 60%.

6. Apply for a jobless benefit

As a part of the CARES Act expanded benefits, the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) will provide a weekly allowance of $600 to eligible claimants of states that signed off to the agreement. If you’ve lost your job due to the pandemic and your state has set up the infrastructure for unemployment claims then this can help.

If your job isn’t eligible for regular unemployment benefits then the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) will provide your unemployment compensation. This assistance is for eligible self-employed workers and independent contractors. The system is expected to be ready for accepting claims around April 25, 2020.

7. Apply for a Small Business Administration Disaster Loan

Do you own a small business? Then this loan is right for you. The  Small Business Administration Disaster Loan is fairly easy to qualify for and is approved quickly. Don’t turn to payday lenders or car title loan companies. These options are incredibly expensive in the long run and can be a bad financial decision. You’re also bound for more financial hardships even after the pandemic is over.

When the opportunity to earn money arises grab it. The economy is crippled and your landlord might also soon face the same problems as you. Get updated on aids from the government and NGOs. Practice some negotiation techniques to find a common convenience between you and your landlord.