Now that you’re renting
Take care of the property and promptly report any problems to your landlord. Don’t be a pest, however, by calling the landlord for simple things you can do yourself, such as changing a light bulb. Be respectful or your neighbors and keep your noise levels appropriate. Pay your rent on time!
What to do if you can't pay rent on time
Communication is key if you find yourself in a bind and can’t pay your rent on time. Don’t hide from your landlord; this will only compound the problem as they may feel you are deliberately refusing to pay your rent. If you are finding that you cannot make ends meet, ask yourself in what ways you may be going over budget and see if you can cut back on your spending. For more information, see the section on Spending.
In communicating with your Landlord, you may be able to get an extension to pay off your rent. However, when asking for an extension, be reasonable in your request. Don’t expect your landlord to accept a payment two weeks late with no qualms as they probably have payments to make, too. If you absolutely cannot make the full payment within a few days, try to pay at least a portion of it. If you can do this, the landlord may be able to justify a longer extension.
What if my rent is already in arrears?
So you’ve gotten letters from your landlord and they are considering a way to have you evicted from their property because you’ve been unable to pay? You want to hide at the end of each month and ignore the phone calls you suspect are from your landlord? Don’t fall into this trap. Although it is embarrassing to not be able to pay your rent, even if you are in arrears, communicate with your landlord! Avoid false promises that only delay payment times, because the time will pass and you will be expected to make a payment. Sit down and try to work out how much you owe in rent and how much you can save or cut back on. Work out a plan that will allow you to tell the landlord by what date you will be able to clear up any rent arrears. Don’t get overwhelmed if your rent goes into arrears, be creative and find legal ways to get extra money so you can slowly chip away at the arrears.
Never submit a check you know is going to bounce. This will not buy you any time, and you’ll end up owing more money as you’ll have to pay bank fees for the returned check!
Having a Roommate
Consider getting a roommate if you’re trying to lower the burden of your rent. Make sure you interview and sort out arrangements with your prospective roommate. Examine whether your lifestyle and that of your new roommate are compatible.
You may want to have all roommates sign the lease, so that you become “jointly and severally liable” for rent and damages. This means that if anything happens, you will only be responsible for your share, and not the whole thing.
Another option is where one person basically becomes the “landlord” of the apartment by renting one or several rooms of the apartment to other people through “subletting.” Subletting is the practice of renting out to others a space or parts of a rental space that you, yourself, are renting from someone else. You and your roommate can also prepare a lease agreement or contract that details how you both will pay the rent and any shared expenses, such as utilities. Before you sublet, however, make sure you are abiding by the terms of your rental agreement.