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Good news: the laws have changed, and people who miss payments are no longer flogged, chained to the wall, or hung from their arms. Hurrah for progress!

can't pay rent

Almost everyone pays rent late at some point. Car trouble strikes, your work hours get cut, or you just plain forgot that the first was coming up and you didn’t mail a check. People have different reactions to this event, but one of the more common responses is to hide. Somehow it seems that if we just pretend that nothing’s wrong, then it’ll work out.

Unfortunately, it never does just work out. You get emails and calls from the landlord, then comes the eviction notice.

Not awesome.

There’s a better way. Maybe not awesome either, but better. You’ve got to do the hard thing and email or call your landlord. Let him know as soon as you know that you won’t be able to pay. Most people will sincerely appreciate that you take your payment obligations seriously, and they’ll do what they can to work with you.

You don’t have to go into a lot of detail necessarily, but explain the situation briefly and let the landlord know when you will be able to pay. Do everything in your power to stick to your payment plan – excuses get old and flimsy fast, and the more you have, the less accommodating your landlord will be. Be honest if you don’t know when you’ll be able to afford the rent again. You may need to give notice and move if your situation is permanent, but it’s much better to face that upfront and get a good recommendation from your current landlord than ignore the situation and hurt your chances of finding another place.

If your situation isn’t that serious, call or email your landlord and send your check in – by the first – with a note requesting that the check not be deposited until a later date. Include your late fee in the amount. I promise it will make your landlord happy to have the check to hold – even if he can’t deposit it until the 15th.

Paying rent late isn’t the end of the world, so own up to it if you have to and deal with the situation honestly and promptly.


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