Can't Afford Rent? Here's What to Do

Learn 8 strategies to help when you can't afford rent — from landlord communication to partial rent payments to community resources.

Last Updated
September 20, 2022
Can't Afford Rent? Here's What to Do

Amid inflation and surging rental prices, renters may be struggling to make their monthly payments. Here, we explore eight strategies to help renters who can't afford rent navigate this stressful situation, strengthen their relationship with their landlord, and avoid eviction.

According to the National Multifamily Report, the average rent in July 2022 was $1,717 — a 12.6% increase compared to July 2021. Simultaneously, consumer prices rose 9.1% year-over-year, the most they have in 40 years. 

No renter ever wants to be in a situation where they can’t afford to make their rent payment on time. But as rental prices reach all-time highs and inflation continues to rise, many renters find themselves in this stressful situation with little guidance about how to handle it. 

Here, we explore eight strategies to help you replace panic with preparedness if you can’t afford rent — from being transparent with your landlord to exploring rent relief programs. Let’s dive in. 

8 strategies to consider if you can’t afford rent 

First things first: take a deep breath. If you can’t afford rent this month, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically at risk of eviction. With the following strategies, you can create a plan of action to help ease your financial worries:

1. Communicate with your landlord

While landlords rely on their tenants to make timely and accurate payments, they are human too, and understand that unpredictable challenges arise. If you have a good relationship with your landlord and have never missed a payment in the past, they may be more willing to extend the grace period for your rent payment that month.

In fact, most rental property owners would rather not evict a good tenant and risk an apartment vacancy that takes time to fill. For this reason, it’s important to be proactive about initiating a conversation with your landlord as soon as you suspect you might not be able to afford rent. By working together in advance, you may be able to arrive at a temporary solution. 

2. Review your lease for partial rent payment or grace period clauses

While every lease is different, many landlords offer grace periods for paying rent or even partial rent agreements. A grace period may give you five to ten days to make your payment — without a late fee — while partial rent agreements may allow you to make a monthly rent payment in increments. For example, if the monthly rent is $1,000, you could make four payments of $250. 

Be sure to read your lease thoroughly to understand the terms and avoid added fees. If you pay the second half of your partial payment outside of the grace period, for example, this could be considered late and may incur an additional charge.

3. Cut down on other costs

As costs continue to rise, there’s never been a better opportunity to review your spending habits. Ask yourself: Are there areas where I can cut down on spending? Have I been dining out too often, or buying a coffee every day instead of making one at home? Am I using my monthly subscriptions, or are they going to waste?

While some of these costs may seem minor in the grand scheme of your finances, they certainly add up over time. Budgeting apps can also help you stay on top of your finances and become more aware of your weekly and monthly spending. 

4. Consider paying rent on your credit card

Another option for renters who can’t afford rent is making a payment with a credit card. Putting rent on your credit card means you delay having to make an actual cash payment until your next credit card bill.

There are other advantages to this temporary solution, too. For responsible cardholders, paying rent on a credit card can be a great way to earn points and rewards, manage cash flow, and avoid expensive late fee penalties.

5. Explore rent relief options

The pandemic put a lot of financial strain on renters, so rent relief options became increasingly relevant. In many states, rent relief is still available to people who can’t afford their rent payments. Some of these options include:

Seek out the resources in your community to learn if you qualify for a rental assistance program, or speak to a housing counselor to better understand your options. 

6. Consider taking out a loan

While it’s important to consider the other options available to you, taking out a loan to pay for rent can be an effective, temporary solution for renters who can’t afford rent. Renters have several options, including an unsecured or secured loan. 

With an unsecured personal loan, you can borrow a fixed amount of money and pay it back in monthly installments with interest. A secured personal loan, on the other hand, requires that you put down some form of collateral, or asset. In turn, these types of loans often have lower interest rates. However, if you aren't able to repay the loan as agreed and default on the loan, you could lose your collateral. Because of that, it’s important to be realistic about whether or not you can pay the loan back quickly. If not, you may consider other options first to avoid costly fees, high interest rates, or lost collateral. 

7. Modify your living arrangement

Another important consideration if you can’t afford rent is modifying your living arrangement to better align with your financials. Can you get a roommate, or perhaps sublet your place and find a more affordable option till your lease ends? Or, possibly move out altogether?

Consider all your options before making a decision. For example, if your lease is ending soon or you won’t be charged for breaking the lease early, it could be a good idea to move out, find lower-cost housing, or temporarily move in with family or friends. That way, you avoid a messy eviction situation that could affect your future housing prospects.

8. Know your rights as a tenant 

Last but certainly not least, tenants should know their rights if they can’t afford rent. In the same way landlords have a right to protect themselves and their rental property, in most states, tenants have a right to advance eviction notice, rent payment grace periods, and more.

For example, many state and local laws mandate a grace period in leasing agreements to give renters a window of time to make a payment. Another good example is that if a landlord decides to raise rent prices, renters are entitled to sufficient warning. In California, it’s mandatory for landlords to provide a 60-day advance written notice if they’re going to increase tenants’ rent by more than 10%. 

Stay on top of your rent payments with Azibo

No one looks forward to unexpected financial strain — especially when it’s time to pay rent. But by staying on top of your finances, clearly communicating with your landlord, and seeking out community resources, you can proceed with a solid plan of action.

Azibo’s rental platform is here to make your life easier every month. Across the country, tenants use it to stay on top of rent payments, schedule one-time or recurring rent payments to avoid rent fees, and better communicate with their landlord through one seamless platform. 

Take the stress out of rent payments. Get started with Azibo today.

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