What if I Cannot Pay the Rent?

cannot pay the rentAre you afraid that you cannot pay the rent this month? There can be a lot of different situations that come up that could make it hard to pay the rent. Here are some different scenarios and what you can do about it.

“I overspent last month and I don’t have my rent money.”

So you went on a wild shopping trip and now you cannot pay the rent. Will you be insulted if I say that was a dumb decision? Before you go on a spending spree, you need to make sure you set aside the money you need to live on – which includes your rent. You have signed a legal promise – your lease agreement – to pay the rent each and every month. It is your responsibility to make sure it is paid in full and on time. If you are in the habit of making poor decisions and rashly spending money you do not have which leads to being short of money or constantly late, do not be surprised if you get a stern letter from your landlord or even an eviction notice because you cannot pay the rent. Maybe you need to return the item or sell it so you can pay your commitments and then make sure you do not repeat the process.

“I had an emergency expense and I spent the rent money.”

If you are a good tenant and take care of your unit and have regularly paid the rent on time, your property manager and/or landlord will take that into consideration. We understand that emergencies happen – kids get sick, accidents occur, washing machines fail and cars die.

If you find yourself in a temporary financial bind, the best advice is to call the landlord or their property manager and let them know about the situation. Let them know that you will be unable to pay the full amount. Try to pay as much rent as you can and then discuss how you can pay off the balance during the next month. The next month may mean you have to tighten your spending, but it will get you back on track.

“I lost my job and cannot pay the rent.”

This is what nightmares are made of. We realize you need a place to live, but without steady work, the income just isn’t there – this is a problem. If you think that you will honestly be able to find new work within 30 days, then give us a call. We may be able to discount the rent, allow you to pay some this month and the rest the next or create a payment plan. If, however, you cannot find any work that will pay enough, you need to start looking at some other options.

Hopefully you have an emergency fund. This should ideally contain funds to pay your expenses for at least 3 months. If you have that, then bust it open to keep from getting evicted. If that isn’t available, look into accessing (even if temporarily) the funds in your retirement accounts. There will be some penalties, but it beats getting evicted. Do you have any other financial resources that you could access to pay your rent? This could include a relative, good friend or even a personal loan or cash advance.


Signing a lease is a serious commitment. If you feel like you are over your head in bills, maybe it is time to downsize. Call your landlord or their agent and discuss their policy on releasing you out of the lease. This could be the best decision for both you and your landlord.

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