What if I am behind in my rent?

What should I do if I am behind in my rent?

  • You should talk with your landlord. If you think you will be able to pay your rent soon, maybe your landlord will agree to let you stay until you are able to pay. If you are expecting to receive money soon, you should try to take proof of that to the landlord so the landlord knows you will be getting money soon. Make sure to get any agreement with the landlord in writing.
  • You should look for help with paying your rent. You can contact your local trustee, community centers, churches, and other social services agencies in your area to see if they can help you pay your rent.
  • If you cannot afford to live in your current home, you should look for other housing that will be more affordable for you. Your local trustee might be able to help you find cheaper housing.
  • If you do not live in subsidized housing, you may want to consider looking for subsidized housing. This housing is cheaper for you because the government pays a part of the rent.
  • If you can’t pay and your landlord won’t agree to let you stay longer, the landlord will need to file an eviction case in court to make you move out of the home. You can stay in the home until a court orders you to move out. If you can find a place to go, you might want to move before you are evicted. Then you won’t have an eviction on your record, and it might be easier for you to find housing in the future.
  • If the landlord files an eviction, you should appear in court and be on time. (You can lose your case if you are even one or two minutes late). You can try to explain to the court why you are behind in rent, although the court will probably only want to know whether or not you believe you are behind in rent. The landlord may try to reach an agreement with you before you actually go in front of the judge; you are free to reach an agreement but you can certainly take your case before the judge if you do not agree with what the landlord wants you to do. Again, if you do reach an agreement with the landlord you should get this agreement in writing. If the court evicts you, the court will probably give you only a few days to move.

Last revised: 10-04
LSC Code: 1630800