Housing

Dealing with late rent

If you're behind on your rent, don't just worry about getting evicted. There are still a few things you might be able to do to avoid it.

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Understanding the Basics

See what you need to know to take action.

For a lot of people, rent is the biggest bill of the month. It can also be the most important one. After all, rent keeps a roof over your head. If you have fallen behind in your rent, you may be very worried about getting evicted.

You are correct to worry. But you still have rights. And you can still take action.

Know this: eviction from subsidized housing or from a mobile home park is different. Learn more about what to do if you’re facing eviction from subsidized housing or from a mobile home park.

Before eviction becomes a reality for you, your landlord has to do two things:

  • Give you a formal 3-day eviction notice
  • File an eviction case against you in court

From the point that a landlord gives you a formal notice, it will take about 30 days until you will be forced out of your house. 

Avoiding Eviction

Here’s what you can do first, to try to avoid being evicted.

  • Resolve the issue. Before you fall too far behind in your rent, negotiate a payment plan with your landlord. Be sure to get that payment plan in writing.
  • Get rental assistance. Depending on where you live, there might be a rent assistance program available to help you.
  • Manage your debt. If you are having money trouble, you are not alone. There are plenty of people in the same boat. And there are a lot of debt management resources you can reach out to, before it’s too late.

Here’s what else you need to know.

If You Have Received a Notice

If you’ve already received a notice or letter, read it carefully. It could mean one of three things:

  • You received an informal warning letter from your landlord. Even though it’s informal, take it seriously and take action.
  • You received a formal 3-day notice. With this, your landlord has taken the first step in the court eviction process.
  • You received a hearing summons. Unfortunately, the court is now involved. This could result in a bad mark on your credit and rental history. Here’s how to prepare for your eviction hearing.

Forms and Letters

Find forms and letters that you can fill out yourself.

Local Government and Community Resources

Find courts and helpful resources in your community.