Illness, auto wrecks, employment changes, and many other unplanned events can put you behind in cash to pay the rent. Even known events such as holidays and starting back to school can cause a cash crunch unless you plan for it. Everyone at some time has come face-to-face with the problem that they just don’t have the rent funds on the day they are due. What should you do?
Don’t think you can avoid the problem or that it will solve itself. Denial and hope is not a plan. Writing a bad check only adds to the problem with charges for non-sufficient funds. Also, criminal charges could be brought up against you. You have to face the problem and deal with it.
The first thing you need to do is figure out when you will have the funds and call your landlord. Let them know what has happened and when you will be able to make payment. Work out a payment arrangement to pay some now and the balance later if you can. They will appreciate anything you can pay as quickly as you can pay it.
Don’t wait until the rent is due or even worse, late. Call when you know there will be a problem. The landlord will appreciate knowing that the payment will be late since they need to plan their spending around the receipt. There is nothing worse than a financial surprise. They need to plan around your issue where they can.
Once you have called the landlord with your notification and payment plan, write it out, sign and date it, fax it to your landlord, and then mail the original. This will show your seriousness and resolve to fix the problem. Even if the payment plan spans multiple months, it provides the landlord a cash flow plan they can budget their expenditures around.
Don’t be unrealistic in your payment plan. I know one lady who was so concerned with getting caught up that she forgot to budget for utilities. What a big disappointment when she discovered the issue and had to tell the landlord she wasn’t able to make payments as planned. Eviction proceedings began immediately.
Your landlord would prefer to work with you to get caught up rather than evict you and have the court fees and vacancy after you leave. Your landlord is human and has been in similar situations themselves. Most will work with you unless you have been a total jerk while renting from them. One simple fix might be to borrow funds from friends and family, hock something at the pawn shop, get a second job until you get caught up, or take on a roommate if your lease will allow it.
The key is to respect the landlord enough to let them know when you find there is going to be a problem. Whatever you do, let the landlord know the lengths you are willing to go to keep that roof over your head. In addition, the landlord will give you a good recommendation when you are moving on and wish to rent with a new landlord. You want them to be able to say, “Yes, I would be happy to rent to them again.” Be resourceful.
Now is the time to take advantage of record home prices, low interest rates, and large inventories of homes available for purchase. Contact Mark Lackey at Atlanta Housing Source (404-886-8789) to view homes for sale in Gwinnett, Cobb, Forsyth, and North Fulton.