When you rent an apartment, the monthly payment you give to your landlord is often the most significant bill you pay each month. It is not unusual for this expense to take at least 30% of your income.
If you’ve got tuition costs, student loans, and a car payment to make, then it might seem like it’s tough to get food on your table – much less turn your rent in on time.
About 2.5 million renters face eviction each year in the United States. Missed rental payments are the most common cause of this notice. If you’ve received such a letter, then the first step is to not panic. Take a deep breath. Ready?
Here is what you can do next.
I’ve Got an Eviction Notice – Now What?
If you receive an eviction notice, then you may need to act immediately within the directed time to contest the process in court. It helps to know the laws are in the jurisdiction where you live. There can be a wide variety of different procedures to follow.
A legal eviction often takes several days, if not weeks, to complete. You are not going to be homeless immediately. Most landlords will work something out with you if a financial emergency happens. Giving them as much notice as possible about your circumstances will help.
Fighting an Eviction in Court
If you owe rent and don’t pay it, then there’s an excellent chance that the courts will order the eviction. You will receive a specific amount of time to vacate the apartment. Law enforcement can forcibly remove you if you fail to follow those instructions.
Some tenants can successfully fight an eviction in court because they have a justifiable defense. If you paid your rent in full and have evidence of doing so, then you have a great chance to stay in your apartment.
You have a potential defense when you offer to pay the rent that’s not accepted, provide a partial payment, or have unresolved maintenance issues.
How Can I Stay If I Have No Money?
If you want to stay in your apartment and cannot afford the rent, then several organizations might have a way to help you out during this time. Most of the resources that work to stop the eviction process help low-income families, but some charities also provide one-time aid options by giving your landlord a check.
You can check RentAssistance for a list of different programs, organizations, and religious institutions that provide this assistance in your area.
What If Nothing Works and I Get Evicted?
You can still find a new apartment even when there is a prior eviction on your record. Some private owners offer a place to live without conducting a background or credit check, but you may need to provide proof of employment. Some complexes will let you sign a lease if you’re willing to pay more each month.
Having reliable references, getting a co-signer, and being honest about your situation is also helpful.
It may not be easy to find the perfect apartment after an eviction, but the world isn’t going to end. When you take steps to correct your situation immediately, then you’ll be making sure that you’ve always got a roof over your head.