If you can not pay your rent.
Because the Bronx court will insist that tenants be treated fairly, landlords are more open to working with tenants than most other places in New York State. If something has happened in your life that will make it difficult for you to meet a rent payment, the worst thing that you can do is to do nothing! A death in a family, loss of a job, an illness or injury can all make it difficult to meet your rent obligations temporarily. If it happens to you, start by contacting your landlord and being upfront with the situation. Most landlords will appreciate your honesty and early attempts to resolve the matter before forcing them to take action because they don't know what's going on.
Here's a list of some of the things that you can propose to your landlord that may help save your apartment and give you time to get back on your feet:
- Make partial payments. Too often tenants take an "all or nothing" approach to paying their rent. The landlord, like you, has bills that have to be paid to keep the building going. Usually a landlord's profit on your rent is relatively small. By paying partial rent, you help the landlord meet his or her obligations while giving yourself some breathing room. Landlords may not be willing to take partial rent because it can act as a waiver of their right to sue to evict you for nonpayment of rent. Most will want something in writing to avoid waiving the full rent. All agreements regarding real estate, including landlord-tenant agreements, must be in writing. You can try this Partial Rent Payment Agreement and Cover Letter to propose a partial rent agreement to your landlord.
When suggesting to your landlord that you pay partial rent, you will need to show to the landlord how you will be able to make up the difference and when you anticipate being able to pay full rent plus past rent. Your estimation of how long it will take for you to be able to resume full rent and past rent, should be realistic. There's no point in telling your landlord that you're only going to fall short for one month if you believe it's gonna be at least 3 months. All that does is delay the problem one month and create mistrust on behalf of the landlord.
- Skip a month's rent. If your financial crisis should be over fairly shortly, your landlord may be willing to allow you to skip one month's rent and make up the month's rent over time. This will only work if you would be unable to pay your rent for only 1 or possibly 2 months. Beyond that, you would cutting into the landlord's ability to pay his or her expenses and putting them in a position where evicting you would be a smarter business decision than working with you. As a rule, you should suggest making up for your unpaid rent over a period of a year (assuming you have that much time left on your lease) by adding the extra rent to your monthly rent. For example let's say you pay $1,200 a month rent and need to miss one payment. Starting the following month, you would pay $1,300 a month for one year until all of your rent is up to date. You can try this Back Rent Payment Agreement and Cover Letter to propose a 1 month back rent payment plan to your landlord.
- Short-term loans. If your landlord is not willing to work with you or you have had problems with the landlord in the past, such as missing rent or being constantly late paying rent, then you may be better off seeing if you can obtain money from outside sources. This might include cash advances on credit lines or credit cards (which are likely to have very high interest rates) or borrowing from family and friends. In a down economy such as we're experiencing right now family and friends may be in the same position that you're in, so certainly don't be offended if they can't or won't help you out.
Another option is to look for what is called "hard money lenders." Hard money lenders are investors who will give personal loans, usually at fairly high interest rates, for a short period of time. One place to look for such a loan would be www.Prosper.com. If you're posting a request for capital on www.Prosper.com , you need to show a compelling reason for the money as well as a very detailed explanation of how you plan to pay the money back within the allotted period of time. You should alo find out what your current credit score is. Don't be afraid if you have a bad credit score, that is common on www.Prosper.com. . You can do that for free at www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
- If all else fails, your landlord will not work with you, and you could not obtain money from any other source, you may, depending upon your particular circumstances, be able to obtain emergency rent help from public assistance or through other grants. Since these programs do not usually kick in until you have received at least a demand to pay past due rent, they are covered in that section. It's a good idea to become familiar with the programs that are available as soon as possible.