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How to Pay Rent When You Can’t Afford It – NerdWallet

  • May 6, 2020
  • By: Greenpath Financial Wellness

From NerdWallet, featuring Jeffrey Arevalo, Financial Wellness Expert on options for those struggling to pay rent. 

If you are dealing with an emergency and scrambling to pay rent, the website NerdWallet suggests taking the following steps before resorting to high-interest loans. 

Explore Free Options First 

Some states have issued eviction moratoriums during the COVID-19 crisis, but you’re still responsible for paying rent. So the first step is to reevaluate your budget and “find” money where you can. 

Cut back on nonessential expenses, lower 401(k) contributions, reach out to creditors for assistance and seek low-income programs for food and utilities, suggests Jeffrey Arevalo, a financial wellness expert with GreenPath, a nonprofit credit counseling agency. 

Applying for unemployment or other assistance programs may take time, but it can certainly be worth it.  Using the stimulus check is a good option to cover rent payments.  

Talk to your landlord. Explain your situation and ask for more time until a check arrives. You could also request an installment plan or waived late fees. Your landlord might be willing to help, especially if you have a history of paying on time. “It’s worth a shot,” says Arevalo, who notes he’s worked with clients who’ve had success with this step. Whatever terms are negotiated, get them in writing. 

Tap Into Other Resources 

Call 211. Local nonprofits and religious organizations may offer rental assistance. United Way helps access those services upon calling 211. Note, however, that resources may be limited during national emergencies. 

Apply for grants in your industry. Associations are raising money for people displaced from jobs in their industries due to COVID-19. Restaurant workers might look to a grant from the Restaurant Strong Fund, which helps restaurant workers affected by COVID-19 closures. 

Ask for help from family or friends. Loved ones — and strangers with steady income, for that matter — might be willing to help.   

Modify living arrangements. If your lease permits, consider subletting your apartment or a room. Or move in with a loved one and help each other by divvying up rent costs. Of course, moving may come with its own expenses, and if you’re under contract, you’ll have to weigh the cost of breaking your lease. Again, talk to your landlord to see what’s negotiable. 

Seek professional advice. A credit counselor can review your finances for potential savings toward rent.  

Read the full NerdWallet article.

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Jeff Arevalo

Jeff Arevalo is a Financial Wellness Expert and has been with the Greenpath since 2006. He possesses a strong passion for helping others and takes great pride in providing strong financial education and effective money management tools to help make a difference in people’s lives. Jeff and his wife recently welcomed a baby boy to their family and are excited to navigate the world of parenthood for the first time.