(StatePoint) The average national rent surpassed $2,000 for the first time ever in 2022, which has made keeping up with rent payments challenging for millions of people across the United States. In fact, a recent Freddie Mac survey found that 70% of renters are concerned about making their rent payment in the short term.
If you’re among those struggling to pay rent, there is good news: many resources exist to help renters remain in their homes.
Here are six actions you can take to help keep you in your rental:
1. Contact Your Landlord. If you know you will be unable to pay your rent, contact your landlord in writing to explain your situation. Your landlord may be able to offer you such options as changing the date rent is due each month, lowering rent payments or creating a repayment plan.
2. Consider More Affordable Apartments. Finding a less expensive apartment may be the right solution if you anticipate having regular trouble paying your rent. However, with rents on the rise everywhere, this can be a challenge. As you start your search, remember to factor in the fees and moving expenses you might incur. Moving within your building or to another property managed by the same company may be one way to avoid onboarding fees.
3. Find a Roommate. If you have the space, taking on a roommate can significantly reduce your monthly rent and utility expenses. Make sure to follow the terms of your lease when adding a roommate to any apartment. This could include having them sign a formal lease.
4. Access Short-Term Rental Assistance. Local housing authorities and some national organizations have short-term rent relief funds you can apply for to help cover the cost of rent while you get back on your feet. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a list of assistance programs for renters.
5. Understand Eviction Protections. Be aware of the eviction protections you’re eligible for should you be unable to pay rent. The CFPB has a list of states with protections in place that prevent landlords from evicting renters for failure to pay rent.
6. Work with a Renter Resource Organization. There are many nonprofit Renter Resource Organizations throughout the country that can assist you if you are facing a housing-related challenge. These entities provide services and resources to help you maintain housing, including eviction prevention and landlord-tenant mediation. They also can assist you in locating alternative housing and provide financial planning advice. Services offered may vary by provider. To find an organization that can help you with your situation, contact Freddie Mac’s Renter Hotline at 800-404-3097.
For more information about renting, including resources to help you determine how much you can afford, visit My Home by Freddie Mac at myhome.freddiemac.com.