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Consider These Renting Options to Help You Avoid Debt

Consider your options for rent aid(Photo:

With roughly two months until the U.S. While the Department of Health and Human Services ends the three-year Covid public health emergency, more than 5 million households in the United States are still behind on their rent.

According to data from the National Equity Atlas, tenants owed nearly $11 billion in rental debt during the first two weeks of February. Renters who are behind on their payments owe an average of $2,094.

Fortunately, the public health crisis resulted in the establishment of a number of new safeguards for struggling renters, some of which are still in place.

“In some cities, there may be rental assistance or free legal aid available, as well as community organizations and tenant unions that can help them understand their rights and possible solutions,” said Jacob Haas, an Eviction Lab research specialist.

If you’re in debt, here are some alternatives.

Consider your options for rent assistance.

The majority of rental assistance programs that were established during the pandemic have now closed, but some are still accepting applications.

On the website of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, you can find a state-by-state breakdown of relief options and their current status.

Renters should keep track of available rental assistance opportunities and apply as soon as they see one open, say advocates. Money tends to run out quickly.

The Texas Rent Relief Program began accepting applications for assistance on Tuesday, but it is set to end on Thursday. According to a notice on the organization’s website, “within the first 24 hours of re-opening, requests for assistance far exceeded available funding.”

As of February, renters in the U.S. continued to owe nearly $11 billion in debt.(Photo:

Examine your financial resources

Although it is not a recommended strategy, some tenants are paying their rent with credit cards. Because few landlords or property managers accept plastic, you’d need to use a third-party processor like Plastiq or PayPal.

According to Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at, this option should only be used in emergency situations.

“The biggest risk is carrying a balance and paying interest on your rent,” Rossman says. “This can significantly increase an already significant expense.”

Instead, he advises tenants to request an extension or payment plan from their landlord. Borrowing from family and friends, as well as your retirement plan, are other options, according to Rossman, though withdrawing from your nest egg has its own set of consequences.

Learn about your rights as a tenant.

Experts advise researching and familiarizing yourself with any rights you may have as a tenant. During the pandemic, many of these rights were expanded.

Landlords in some cities, for example, are now limited in how much they can raise your rent. If you’re facing eviction due to an illegal increase, you should know that you may be able to bring this up in housing court or with your landlord.

You are entitled to a certain amount of notice with an eviction in some places, such as at least 90 days in certain cases in Portland, Maine. Educators and families with school-age children in Oakland, California, recently received new eviction protections during the school year.

Meanwhile, if your landlord has raised your rent above a certain threshold, you may be eligible for relocation assistance in a few cities, including Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

Consult with a lawyer.

If your landlord has moved to evict you, housing advocates advise you to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

According to one study conducted in New Orleans, more than 65% of tenants who did not have legal representation were evicted, compared to only 15% of those who had a lawyer present at their hearing. can help you find low-cost or free legal assistance with an eviction in your state.

Tenants facing eviction now have the right to free counsel in an increasing number of cities and states, including Washington, Maryland, and Connecticut.

A more comprehensive list of these locations can be found at

Read also: Erasmus Rentals Increase By 27.5% Compared To Last Year

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