We all have lots of bills to pay, but if you have to pay rent that is probably the most important. Even if you are just a couple weeks late on rent, there is the possibility of finding yourself homeless. To most of us, the thought of being homeless is so far-fetched we don't think about it, but it can happen to the best of us.
If you can't pay your rent, here are some steps to take to avoid this dire situation.
1) Read your lease- If you find that you are unable to pay rent on time, the first thing you should do is read your lease front to back, and then do it again. Make sure you are clear on how many days late you can be on rent without consequence, and what the consequences are if you go past that date. One thing to pay particular attention to is the mention of late fees, or the lack thereof. If a landlord tries to charge you a late fee and there is no mention of a late fee in the lease, this is illegal and you don't have to pay it.
2) Be honest- Don't try to hide from your landlord starting the day rent is due. Try to set up a meeting with them to explain your situation. If this isn't possible, write them a letter or an email. Don't exaggerate your situation or throw a pity party. Simply tell them how it is and request an extension. Try not to ask for more than a few days though, as they are much less likely to agree to this. If this situation is an anomaly for you, be sure to make that clear. Tell them the reasons why It happened this month and the reasons why it is not going to happen again.
3) Pay as much as you can- Something is better than nothing, right? If you are able to pay a portion of the rent on time, do it. Negotiate a specific date with your landlord to pay the rest of it, and stick to it. If you are late on the late portion, it is not going to look good. When you agree on a date, be one hundred percent sure that you will have the money by then.
4) Take care of yourself- If you stress all night about paying rent, you won't sleep. If you don't sleep, you will look shabby. If you look shabby, it will appear that you don't have your life together. If your landlord notices this, he or she will be much less likely to believe you that this situation won't happen again. Look as presentable and put together as possible when confronting them. Having confidence in yourself will help them have confidence in you.
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