The thought of losing a job can be very stressful and challenging, especially when you have several outgoings that may be affected by losing a source of income such as rent.
For those who get to join the unemployment line and renting a place to stay, the first question that comes to mind is whether you need to still pay your rent and as “heartless” or “insensitive” as it may seem, you are still bound to pay rent
Always consider renting a priority
Having a roof over your head is a basic human need and becomes a dilemma for those residing in rental homes and no matter what financial status you are in, failing to pay rent can cause you to get evicted.
However, do take note that there are policies in place that provide certain extensions, amnesty, partial payment, or suspension of payments based on certain circumstances.
Remember that while these measures provide relief, it does not erase your rental obligations or start back from zero to get a clean slate.
Never ignore your rent payments
People often make the mistake of setting aside rent payment when things get financially tough, but doing so can be something they might soon regret doing.
Not only can you get evicted for non-payment, but it can also result in a bad record and make it very difficult to find a new place to rent.
Determine your priorities
Admittedly, it’s never easy to set aside money for bills or other payments when you have just lost your job, or when money is in short supply.
However, if you want to avoid problems that can get more complicated in the long run, you can prioritise your weekly or monthly bills or obligations by order of importance.
Of course, planning and organising your needs by order of importance would be food, shelter, and medical needs which are the most common and basic of human needs.
Next would be your utility bills such as power, gas, water, etc.
This may be followed by your credit card payments but, if your home is a rental, you may need to prioritise your rent on top of your credit card payments which can be temporarily put on hold. However, make sure that it does not take too long for you to settle your credit card payments lest you get a surcharge for overdue payments.
Next would be your car loan and mandatory legal obligations such as taxes or child support if any.
If you find yourself having difficulty managing your bill payments while unemployed, reach out to your creditors and explain your financial situation.
Generally, a compromise agreement may be established such as a revised or restructured payment plan that you can afford.
In some cases, there are creditors amenable to take on a lump-sum payment, oftentimes for less than what is owed as a settlement for the loan. This arraignment could greatly reduce your overall obligations and eliminates monthly expenses.
Contact your landlord
Do not fail to inform your landlord if you miss out on paying rent and always make sure to have this always on top of your mind.
Discuss your situation with your landlord and try to arrange for a win-win solution, such as a grace period for late payments or perhaps an offer to work temporarily or when a need arises, then offset the rent for services rendered.
Most landlords are happy to help out with such arrangements especially if you’ve always been a responsible tenant and have been paying rent on time before losing your job.
Set your expectations that not all landlords are the same or agree to any arrangement other than what’s in the lease contract. Remember they also have their obligations and bills to pay.
Always seek out your landlord especially when you are experiencing financial difficulty. Regardless of your landlord agrees to a special arrangement or not, let them know about significant changes in your life that could affect your ability to pay, rather than keeping it to yourself and cause more problems later on.
Also, manage your expectations regarding large rental companies as they can be less flexible with rent payments than independent rental properties.
Figure out a sustainable and realistic game plan
You must keep track of your income and expenses, especially when it gets lop-sided due to your loss of employment. Missing out on rental payment as a one-off incident can be manageable, but the uncertainty of finding work soon can be something that could compound your issues especially when you spend more money and do not receive income.
If you may not be able to make rent payment for an indeterminable time, reach out and discuss possible options with your landlord. They might allow you to cancel your lease, for example, if you agree to leave quickly or find other ways that could be beneficial for all parties.
Always bear in mind that each situation is different, so discuss it with your landlord.