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Things to Consider if You’re Having Trouble Paying Rent

Things to Consider if you are having Trouble Paying Rent

We have all faced difficult obstacles that make it challenging to meet our financial obligations. Sometimes a loss of income, an unfortunate setback, or mismanagement of money puts us in a position where we get behind. Rent is highly important because it one of our largest bills and keeps our roof over our heads. If you are struggling to pay your rent or are at-risk of getting behind, there are multiple ways to avoid eviction.

This information has been developed by Foster Care Alumni of America. FCAA’s mission is to connect the national community of adults who have lived in foster care, and to work with others to improve foster care practice and policy. Please visit to learn more and to join the FCAA community.


So stay calm and consider the following:

Review your Rental Agreement:

  • Thoroughly review your rental agreement.
  • Determine the latest date that you can pay your rent. It is often good to write down your payment dates on a calendar to stay organized.
  • Figure out what the late fee is.


Borrow Money from Someone in your Support Network:

  • Understand that borrowing money can be very tricky.
  • Go to someone you can trust! For example, a parent, friend, family member, etc. Explain your situation and why you need money to them.
  • Let the person you are borrowing from know exactly how much you need and when you will pay it back by.
  • Stick to your word. Try your best to pay them back when you say you will; you do not want to burn any bridges!


Speak with your Landlord:

  • Contact your landlord and explain your situation to him or her. Let them know why you cannot pay on time and why you will prevent it from happening again.
  • Remember, the sooner, the better. The quicker you can let your landlord know, the more lenient they may be. So, do not wait until after your rent is due.
  • Ask about partial payment options. Your landlord may be willing to work out a timeline for the remainder of the money you owe.
  • Be honest. Refrain from lying about your current situation and your credit. Check your credit score and be upfront; you do not want to be evicted for providing false information.
  • Write a letter explaining your situation. This preparation and documentation will show that you are serious about paying your rent.
  • Keep everything in writing. This will prevent future miscommunication between you and your landlord. The less conflict, the better!
  • If you have a good relationship with your landlord, he or she may be more lenient if you do not have any previously existing tension.


Tap into External Resources:

  • See if your community provides temporary rental assistance to low-income households at risk of homelessness.
  • If you are at risk of homelessness, see what other resources can do to help you learn more.  
  • Look to your local human services agency. They will be willing to help you, because you are not alone in this struggle!
  • If you are a part of a religious community, they can potentially help you with their services. Be sure to contact them and explain what is going on with your living situation.


Look for more Affordable Housing Options:

  • Don’t be afraid to look for a roommate. Finding another person to live with does not mean that you have failed living on your own. Another source of income will be helpful to you.
  • If you do choose to look for a roommate, make sure that this person will respect your home, your things, and most importantly, you. You do not need the stress of roommate conflicts on top of everything else you have to do.
  • Downsizing to another place is a great option. Look for apartments, homes, etc. that will fit into your budget.
  • Access low-rent or subsidized housing. For more information, check out Choosing a Place to Live in the On Our Own group.


Other Financial Resources:

Paying your Utility Bills

  • Many utility companies will offer aid to those in need of assistance. Visit your utility company’s website to see if there are any programs and discounts that can help cut down your bills.
  • For more information on utility bill assistance available in your state, check out The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Local Renting Information Web site.
  • The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides help for people who are having trouble paying their electric, gas or heating bills. The federal government does not provide energy assistance directly to the public. Instead, HEAP operates in 50 States, the District of Columbia, Indian tribes or tribal organizations and the U.S. territories.
  • If possible, even try to switch your services. You may end up paying less!
  • By paying less for your utility services, you will be able to put more money towards your rent.

Financial difficulties can affect many aspects of our lives, but if we try our best to stay on our feet, seek help, and ask those around us for assistance, we can accomplish great things. Try out these tips to better your situation or help out a friend in need. If you have any further questions or comments, post them below!




  • Michelle Mar 24th

    As a community resource, don't forget churches! They often have funds set aside to help their members, as well as folks in the community.

  • ArtsyChicks Apr 11th

    Something you might want to consider investing in on a monthly basis is Aflac.  It is a supplement that will pay you everyday you are in the hospital and costs about $45 a month.  If you have to go to the hospital they pay you $500 per day for the first 5 days and $100 a day for everyday after that.  If you want to stay independent this might be a good option for you!