The first of the month is coming and you can’t pay rent because of coronavirus loss of job or income. What to do?
Last night, both the House and Senate passed a multi-faceted bail-out package. The package offers relief for homeowners, checks to some tax-payers, but not much for renters.
New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy put temporary moratoriums on evictions. The landlord is barred from evicting you while the moratorium is in effect. But, there is no relief for the rent payment that is due. What is going to happen when the moratorium has been lifted and you missed two rent payments?
What is going to happen right now if you miss a payment? Sure, the landlord can’t evict you, but what about the rental payment owed?
First, your landlord, under the Federal bail-out package that was just passed, may be able to seek some relief from his/her mortgage company. If a tenant can’t pay the rent, the landlord may be able to skip a mortgage payment.
Second, if it comes to landlord/tenant court and a landlord is looking to collect back rent, I would expect, at least in the immediate future, that Judges will encourage landlords to make long-term payment arrangements that allow tenants, once re-employed, to pay back-rent over time.
So, what should you do right now?
- Be proactive and contact your landlord in advance to let he/she know you have lost your job. Discuss a plan to skip a payment now and offer a solution for how to catch-up later (see a sample letter you can use below).
- If you can’t work this out on your own, or, the landlord is not being cooperative, contact my office for help.
UPDATE: Use this letter we drafted to contact your landlord.
If you can’t pay rent because of coronavirus job loss and you need help, call our office.