Last month a friend of mine realized just a few days before the 1st that she couldn't pay her rent. She called me in a blind panic; sure she was going to be evicted. She was worried that she wouldn't have anywhere to go and her rental history would be trashed. She was right to worry, all of that could happen, but as a property manager I know that more often than not, landlords are willing to work with you if you're willing to work with them.
If you can't pay your rent, try this before you panic.
Call Your Landlord
Calling your landlord is the first thing you should do if you realize you are running behind on your rent payment. While it's unfortunate, some tenants do just move without notice or paying their last month's rent. You do not want your landlord to assume you've done the same, so give him a call as soon as you can. When you call, tell your landlord when you will have the rent paid.
Not all landlords are willing to just allow a renter to pay late - even by a few days - without penalty. If your landlord doesn't seem willing to work with you, ask if you can make a partial payment to buy yourself some time to settle your finances. If he still won't budge, offer to pay a late fee. Your landlord may be more willing to work with you if he knows you're willing to compensate him for the trouble.
If your landlord still isn't willing to work with you, seek help before he files for an eviction. At this point, most renters borrow money from friends or family members or take out a small personal loan, but if this isn't an option, you may be able to find help through a charitable organization or government agency. Start by visiting your local housing authority office. An agent there will go over your case and help you decide on the best course of action. If you do not have a housing authority office in your area, visit a Legal Aid office. Legal Aid provides legal services for free or at a reduced cost to people who are struggling financially. The lawyers there are usually familiar with the landlord and tenant laws and can assist you.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.More From This Contributor:
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