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5 Million Households Struggle with Rent Payments – Expert Tips to Overcome Financial Hardship

5 Million Households Struggle with Rent Payments - Expert Tips to Overcome Financial Hardship
Renters who are having trouble paying their rent are given particular treatment by the law. (Photo:

More than 5 million households throughout the country still owe rent payments with only two months left before the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services terminates the three-year Covid public health emergency.

According to information from the National Equity Atlas, tenants overall continued to owing close to $11 billion in rental arrears during the first two weeks of February. Renters who are in arrears owe, on average, $2,094.

5 Million Households Struggle with Rent Payments - Expert Tips to Overcome Financial Hardship

The dread of losing one’s home grows more serious as more families have lost their source of income as a result of the lockdown. (Photo:

Thankfully, a number of additional protections for struggling renters were created as a result of the public health crisis, some of which are still in effect.

“In some locations, there might be rental assistance or free legal aid accessible, as well as community organizations and tenant unions that could help people understand their rights and potential alternatives,” said Jacob Haas, research specialist at the Eviction Lab.


Examine your options for rent payments assistance.

While many of the pandemic-era rental aid programs are now defunct, some are still taking applications.

You can obtain a state-by-state overview of available relief options and their current status on the website of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Tenants should keep track of the rental assistance opportunities that are available to them and submit an application right away if one becomes available, urge advocates. Money usually runs out quickly.

The Texas Rent Relief Program started taking applications for assistance on Tuesday, but it will end on Thursday. “During the first 24 hours of re-opening, demands for assistance considerably exceeded available resources,” states a post on the organization’s website.

The largest possible problem, according to Rossman, is having a debt and paying interest on your rent payments. This could significantly increase the size of an already significant bill.

He advises tenants to request a rent payment plan or extension from their landlord instead. Other options for rent payments, according to Rossman, include taking out loans from relatives and friends or your retirement account, though doing so has drawbacks of its own.


Learn about your rights as a tenant.

It’s important to learn about your rights as a tenant and get comfortable with them, according to experts. During the epidemic, several of those rights were expanded.

For instance, landlords are no longer allowed to raise your rent payments more than a specific amount in several locations. You may be able to raise this in housing court or with your landlord if you’re facing eviction due to an increase that was unlawful.

You may be entitled to a predetermined length of notice in some locations while facing an eviction, such as at least 90 days in Portland, Maine, in certain circumstances. In Oakland, California, educators and families with school-aged children have received expanded eviction protections throughout the academic year.

In the meanwhile, you might qualify in a select locations, such as Seattle and Portland, Oregon, to get some of your relocation costs covered if your landlord raised your rent payments above a specific threshold.


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