My rent is due and I don’t know what to do

by | Mar 31, 2020 | Tenant Law |

Due to the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), millions of people have lost their jobs and are unable to pay their bills and rent. For many, rent is due on the first of each month. Depending on where you live, there may be some forms of relief.

Is there any relief for renters having problems paying rent?

The federal government recently made an effort to help renters by issuing a 120-day moratorium on evictions from federally subsidized housing and from a properties with federally backed mortgage loans. As far as on a local level, some states have barred evictions for a few weeks, some for the length of the state of emergency issued in those states, and others have barred evictions in situations where a tenant has been diagnosed with Coronavirus or suffered a job loss because of the virus. In North Carolina, the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court issued an order, that in effect, barred eviction proceedings from being heard at least until April 16, 2020.

How will Coronavirus impact my lease?

A lease agreement is simply a contract between a landlord and a tenant that states what the tenant will pay monthly for rent and for how long. Lease agreements usually do not provide relief for tenants in the case of situations similar to the impact of COVID-19. Furthermore, most leases are drafted in favor of landlords instead of tenants. So, what should you do?

What can I do if I can’t pay my rent?

If you find yourself in a situation where you truly can’t pay your rent, your best option may be to contact your landlord. We recommend that you offer a payment arrangement that you can honestly afford, if not now, at some point in the near future. When this crisis ends you will likely be on the hook for the rental arrangement that you agreed to when you signed your lease. Thus, it is important not to develop a huge lump sum of back-owed rent payments. Lastly, make sure to get any arrangement that you make between yourself and your landlord in writing (a paper trail is always important).