When You Can’t Pay the Rent

 

 

As an adult, we have responsibilities. Whether this responsibility is for another person or whether it’s for a full time job, adulthood and responsibilities always come hand in hand. Indeed, one of the key responsibilities that often springs to mind when one discusses adulthood are the financial obligations. In another word, bills. It’s a word that is loathed by many and avoided by most as we all know, after the monthly invoices comes, our spending ability on the material goods and services we desire immediately decreases. This piece aims to provide a guide on what to do if you can’t pay rent. It will explore the various options available for an individual if they were to ever be exposed to a problem as such. Additionally this paper will also include a discussion for how we can prepare for a situation where we can’t meet our financial duties, and how we can start trying to make our money work for us.

 

 

There is no denying that houses in populated cities within America are increasingly un-affordable. In fact, New York has been voted among the top ten cities home to the most outrageously expensive real estate. This highly dis-proportioned reflection of the average American income and living standards mean that it is currently harder than it has been ever before, to live in a comfortable and decent sized apartment in the urban city. For those struggling to make ends meet, don’t fear, there are temporary as well as permanent solutions available to you in order to allow for a comfortable material and non-material standard of living.

If you are currently struggling to pay off your rent as well as other bills, don’t bury your hand in the sand and hide from the facts, here are some active solutions you can take in order to improve your predicament.

 

 

Talk to Your Landlord

One of the simplest ways to try and aid your situation is to just ask. You may surprise yourself by how understanding your landlord is, especially if you have developed a relationship with them, or have few previous incidences of late rent payments. One of the most effective ways to ask is to contact them as far in advance as possible about a potential delay in your payment. Do not send a cheque that you know will bounce back as nothing infuriates a landlord more than a sneaky and untrustworthy tenant. When you do speak to your landlord, whether this is verbally or non-verbally, it is important to also explain to your landlord your situation. Honestly describe the difficulties and challenges you are currently facing and reinforce the fact that this is a temporary issue, then explain what your plan is in order to mend and assist your financial position. Lastly, offer your landlord, if possible, some of the rent payment on time. This is likely to calm a frustrated landlord and help your case.

Identify the Root of the Financial Problem

Sometimes, it may be obvious why you have gotten yourself into this financial pickle. Maybe your expenses or income suddenly changed for the worse, or your partner moved out. The possibilities of why you can’t pay the bills are endless, however, identifying it is crucial. It won’t solve your current situation, however, it will aid and prevent a repeated incident.

Cut Out Some of Your Expenses

Reducing your expenses can be very difficult as it requires immediate lifestyle adaptation, however, nothing will be as painful as being evicted and possibly ending up on the streets. It is vital at this moment in time to divide your expenses into categories. Current obligations,’ deferrable needs,’ and mere wants and desires.’ Let me step you through each of these categories. Current obligations acts as an umbrella for those expenses that need to be paid before a deadline or will otherwise lead to severe consequences. You guessed right, rent payments fall under this category. Deferrable needs are those essential needs that can be substituted or delayed. An example of a good that falls under this category is food. While food is essential, due to the diverse and multiple options available to you, you have the ability to reduce expenses significantly in this area. Ensure you undertake extensive research to buy the cheapest food, and although this option may be unappealing, in reality all food products displayed in grocery stores are around the same quality range as all brands have a legal minimum to meet. The final category are wants and desires, and it is pretty obvious what fits in here, any expense that you can live without is classified as a want and is definitely out of consideration during financial hardship.

 

 

Short-Term Loans

Another option available to those struggling is to apply for a short-term loan. However, it is vital to note that it is strongly recommend you to obtain this loan through banks and other licensed institutions rather than online services due to greater degree of virtual danger. Unless licensed institutions due to various reasons deny your application then consideration of resorting to online services may be necessary. Before borrowing funds, it is crucial to understand what you are getting yourself into. If you are already short on cash, and your future financial situation is unpromising or unknown, you may dig yourself into further financial suffering. However, if you know you have proceeds coming through soon or in the future, this may be the best option for you.

Remember to compare fees and rates among the various options available as well as personally understand how long you’ll be required to pay off the interest and what proportion the loan expenses and fees take up of your future income, as these expenses will be undoubtedly be classified under current obligations.

Indeed, one of the best ways to avoid a situation as such is to ensure you have accumulated and built up a safety net of emergency savings. If you are already spending all of your income, maybe it is time to reflect on your expenses, re-categorize and re-divide.

Avoiding Foreclosure

Avoiding Foreclosure

Have your expenses increased due to medical bills? Are you picking up the pieces after a separation or divorce? Or maybe you’re trying to get by with less because your hours were cut or your business stumbled? Whatever the case, it’s important to be proactive, and the Making Home Affordable Act offers real help.

More than a million homeowners have been helped by MHA programs. Homeowners in MHA modifications (HAMP) are typically saving more than $500 each month. And saving $500 a month can mean the difference between keeping and losing your home.

If you are considering refinance options or need help paying your mortgage, you should prepare before requesting assistance. Gather documentation detailing your mortgage, your current and past financial situation and the reasons you are having financial difficulty. With that information in hand, call your mortgage company to find out if you are eligible for a Making Home Affordable Program.

Making Home Affordable has real help to offer, but you must contact your mortgage company or a housing expert to take action. The sooner you do, the sooner you can get on the road to financial recovery. Not taking action will only make things worse. Remember, many Americans have taken the first step towards modifying or refinancing their mortgages, and so should you if you are having trouble making your mortgage payments.

Housing Counseling

 

 

If you need advice on buying a home, renting, avoiding foreclosure, or credit issues, counselors are available to provide free or low-cost advice. You can search for a local housing counseling agency, or call HUD’s interactive voice system at: (800) 569-4287.

 

 

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Public Housing

Public Housing

 

 

Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to high rise apartments for elderly families. There are approximately 1.2 million households living in public housing units, managed by some 3,300 HAs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers Federal aid to local housing agencies (HAs) that manage the housing for low-income residents at rents they can afford. HUD furnishes technical and professional assistance in planning, developing and managing these developments.

 

 

Who is Eligible?

Public housing is limited to low-income families and individuals. An HA determines your eligibility based on: 1) annual gross income; 2) whether you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family; and 3) U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status. If you are eligible, the HA will check your references to make sure you and your family will be good tenants. HAs will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the project’s environment.

HAs use income limits developed by HUD. HUD sets the lower income limits at 80% and very low income limits at 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which you choose to live. Income limits vary from area to area so you may be eligible at one HA but not at another. The HA serving your community can provide you with the income levels for your area and family size, or you can also find the income limits here on the internet.

 

 

How Do I Apply?

If you are interested in applying for public housing, contact your local HA. If you have trouble contacting the HA, contact the local HUD Field Office.

How Does the Application Process Work?

The application must be written. Either you or the HA representative will fill it out. An HA usually needs to collect the following information to determine eligibility:

  • Names of all persons who would be living in the unit, their sex, date of birth, and relationship to the family head;
  • Your present address and telephone number;
  • Family characteristics (e.g., veteran) or circumstances (e.g., living in substandard housing) that might qualify the family for tenant selection preferences;
  • Names and addresses of your current and previous landlords for information about your family’s suitability as a tenant;
  • An estimate of your family’s anticipated income for the next twelve months and the sources of that income;
  • The names and addresses of employers, banks, and any other information the HA would need to verify your income and deductions, and to verify the family composition; and
  • The PHA also may visit you in your home to interview you and your family members to see how you manage the upkeep of you current home.

After obtaining this information, the HA representative should describe the public housing program and its requirements, and answer any questions you might have.

Will I Need to Produce Any Documentation?

Yes, the HA representative will request whatever documentation is needed (e.g., birth certificates, tax returns) to verify the information given on your application. The PHA will also rely on direct verification from your employer, etc. You will be asked to sign a form to authorize release of pertinent information to the PHA.

When Will I Be Notified?

An HA has to provide written notification. If the HA determines that you are eligible, your name will be put on a waiting list, unless the HA is able to assist you immediately. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, the HA will contact you. If it is determined that you are ineligible, the HA must say why and, if you wish, you can request an informal hearing.

Will I Have To Sign a Lease?

If you are offered a house or apartment and accept it, you will have to sign a lease with the HA. You may have to give the HA a security deposit. You and the HA representative should go over the lease together. This will give you a better understanding of your responsibilities as a tenant and the HA’s responsibilities as a landlord.

Are There Any Selection Preferences?

Sometimes there are. Giving preference to specific groups of families enables an HA to direct their limited housing resources to the families with the greatest housing needs. Since the demand for housing assistance often exceeds the limited resources available to HUD and the local HAs, long waiting periods are common. In fact, an HA may close its waiting list when there are more families on the list than can be assisted in the near future.

Each HA has the discretion to establish preferences to reflect needs in its own community. These preferences will be included in the HAs written policy manual. You should ask what preferences they honor so you will know whether you qualify for a preference.

How is Rent Determined?

Your rent, which is referred to as the Total Tenant Payment (TTP) in this program, would be based on your family’s anticipated gross annual income less deductions, if any. HUD regulations allow HAs to exclude from annual income the following allowances: $480 for each dependent; $400 for any elderly family, or a person with a disability; and some medical deductions for families headed by an elderly person or a person with disabilities. Based on your application, the HA representative will determine if any of the allowable deductions should be subtracted from your annual income. Annual income is the anticipated total income from all sources received from the family head and spouse, and each additional member of the family 18 years of age or older.

The formula used in determining the TTP is the highest of the following, rounded to the nearest dollar:

  • 30 percent of the monthly adjusted income. (Monthly Adjusted Income is annual income less deductions allowed by the regulations);
  • 10 percent of monthly income;
  • welfare rent, if applicable; or
  • a $25 minimum rent or higher amount (up to $50) set by an HA.

What is the Role of the HA?

An HA is responsible for the management and operation of its local public housing program. They may also operate other types of housing programs.

On-going functions: (a) Assure compliance with leases. The lease must be signed by both parties; (b) Set other charges (e.g., security deposit, excess utility consumption, and damages to unit); (c) Perform periodic reexaminations of the family’s income at least once every 12 months; (d) Transfer families from one unit to another, in order to correct over/under crowding, repair or renovate a dwelling, or because of a resident’s request to be transferred; (e) Terminate leases when necessary; and (f) maintain the development in a decent, safe, and sanitary condition.
Sometimes HAs provide other services, that might include such things as: home ownership opportunities for qualified families; employment training opportunities, and other special training and employment programs for residents; and support programs for the elderly.
How Long Can I Stay in Public Housing?

In general, you may stay in public housing as long as you comply with the lease.

If at reexamination your family’s income is sufficient to obtain housing on the private market, the HA may determine whether your family should stay in public housing.

Home Buying Programs That Help

Home-Buying Programs That Help

Buying a home can be difficult, but don’t give up. If you dream of owning your own home, a home-buying program can help. The following federal and community-based organizations might be just what you need.

Before you look for national home-buying programs, see what you can learn about home ownership programs available in your own state. To do this, you can visit our Housing Agency List and contact your local agency. You can also check with the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association.

Counseling

You might also consider meeting with a housing counselor that can answer your questions about the home-buying process, obtaining a mortgage, and more. A counselor can also tell you about various home buying programs in your area.

HUD Homes

Additionally, you might consider buying a home through Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD sells properties in every state. A HUD home is a 1-to-4 unit residential property acquired by HUD as a result of a foreclosure action on an FHA-insured mortgage. HUD becomes the property owner and offers it for sale to recover the loss on the foreclosure claim. Often these properties are sold at highly discounted rates. You can search online for properties in your area and learn more about HUD properties by visiting HUD.

Apply for a Habitat for Humanity House

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, Christian housing ministry that believes every person should have a decent, safe, and affordable place to live. They look at three criteria when considering who to help get into a home:

The need of the individual applying for the home.
The individual’s willingness to partner with Habitat.
The individual’s ability to repay the interest-free loan.

Individual Development Accounts (IDA)

An Individual Development Account is a matched savings account, usually set up by a community organization for the purpose of helping low to mid-income families save money toward the purchase of a home, or to be used for education or launching a small business.

Many organizations contribute money toward IDAs. Some IDAs will match what the recipient is saving, while others contribute twice the amount that the participant is saving. This, of course, can help you tremendously in saving toward your goals. In addition, programs that offer IDAs often include economic literacy training as well.

Qualifying for Rental Assistance

 

 

Qualifying for Rental Assistance

To qualify for housing assistance, a family’s household income must not exceed the Annual Income Guidelines as set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). And Its a Requirement that one has a current copy of the credit report to show that they are unable to get financing through other means or have marginal credit thus eliminating them from getting a conventional mortgage or home loan.

 

 

In addition to falling within income limits, adults must be able to provide valid identification and proof of US citizenship. You will also need to provide your social security number and disclose your income and assets. Finally, your local housing authority will run a criminal background check. If you are on the sex offender registry or have a record of crimes that should land you on the registry, you cannot qualify for Section 8 housing or rental assistance. If you you have been convicted of other crimes, you might be denied assistance but can usually appeal the decision.

Before requesting assistance, make sure you meet minimum requirements. Here you can check your criminal record. It is recommended that you run your background check regardless of whether you’ve been convicted of a crime, as state and government agencies often have errors in their databases.

Finally, to verify that you fall within income limits, click here and choose your state. If you meet the requirements for your area, contact your local agency to complete your paperwork.

What is Section 8 Housing?

 

 

What is Section 8 Housing?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP), also known as ‘Section 8’, is a federal program that provides financial assistance to those who qualify. The program helps low-income families and individuals, the elderly, and persons with disabilities by paying a portion of monthly rents due to landlords of homes and apartments.

 

 

How It Works

A person selected to participate in HCVP is issued a rental voucher and then has 120 days to locate a housing unit suitable to the family’s needs and desires in the private rental market (the family also has the option to stay in their current location if the unit meets the requirements).

Once the family selects a unit, a local housing agency must inspect the unit before initial leasing (and at least annually thereafter) to ensure that the unit meets HUD’s housing quality standards (HQS). The housing agency will then pay a rental subsidy each month to the landlord or property owner on behalf of the family that was issued a Section 8 Voucher.

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) works with multiple regional housing agencies as well as local agencies to administer these Section 8/HCVP subsidies.

Eligibility Requirements

Household gross income determines eligibility for the program. Seventy-five percent of Section 8 vouchers issued must be awarded to families whose overall income is not more than 30% of the median income in the area in which they live. Overall, household income typically must be less than 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area. These parameters are set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Local agencies can provide further details regarding eligibility.

Application Process

To file an application, you must first contact a DHCD local or regional administering agency. Or you can download a hard copy of the application from your state’s DHCD page and then submit it to one of the regional agencies. Keep in mind that demand for housing assistance often exceeds the available resources which can result in a waiting list, so it’s important to plan ahead.

More About Section 8

Other details about Section 8 housing you should be aware are following.

First, Section 8 tenants are not allowed to pay more the 30% of their income toward rent. Any deficiency will be covered by the housing agency and paid directly to the landlord or property owner. The amount of rent that can be covered, however, is determined by the fair market rental values.

Second, there is no restriction governing how long a family/individual can participate in the Section 8 Housing Program.

Third, both landlord and tenant benefit from the Section 8 program. By choosing to participate in the Section 8 Housing program, landlords must meet housing quality standards (HQS) as dictated by HUD. This ensures a safe and clean living environment for the tenant.

However, as a Section 8 beneficiary you will have to adhere to certain guidelines in order to retain your monthly assistance. If both tenant and landlord abide by the Section 8 restrictions, then the tenant has a nice, affordable place to live, and the landlord gets paid regularly and on time. It is in the interest of all parties to comply with the Section 8 guidelines.