Need Help Paying Rent? 5 Ways to Get Rental Assistance

Falling behind on rent is a stressful situation and can lead to serious consequences, both financial and emotional. If you can’t pay rent on time, you might face late fees, constant past-due reminders, and even the threat of eviction. In extreme cases, your landlord might even pursue legal action.

These worries can be overwhelming, but there are ways to get the rent relief you need to navigate this challenging situation. 

1. Talk to your landlord 

Notify your landlord or property manager as soon as you know you can’t afford your next rent payment. The sooner you open a dialogue (ideally before the rent is due), the better. 

Begin by explaining your situation honestly. If you've established a good relationship with your landlord through timely payments and respect for the property, they may be more open to working with you to find a temporary solution. 

Here are some potential outcomes you might discuss: 

  • Rent payment plan. Propose a payment schedule that allows you to catch up on missed rent over time. 
  • Rent reduction. If you’re able to offer services like landscaping or maintenance, your landlord might consider reducing rent in exchange for help. 
  • Rent deferral. Your landlord might agree to delay rent for a short period, giving you time to secure funds without penalty. 

Remember, communication and cooperation can go a long way toward building understanding and finding common ground with your landlord. 

2. Apply for a personal loan 

Taking out a loan to pay rent can be a short-term fix, helping you avoid late fees and eviction. Plus, if you’re stretching your finances every month just to make rent, a personal loan could give you the money you need to put down a deposit on a new, more affordable place. 

Here are some personal loan options you might consider: 

Installment Loan 

An Installment Loan can give you access to a lump sum of funds that you then repay over time, typically with fixed monthly payments. This option can be helpful when you need a predictable repayment plan and the flexibility to use the money however you see fit. 

Keep in mind, however, that loan amounts, availability, and term lengths vary by state. If Installment Loans aren’t available in your area, a reputable lender can work with you to find a solution that best fits your needs. 

Line of Credit 

If your income fluctuates or you often find yourself short on cash by the end of the month, a revolving Line of Credit could be a helpful solution. 

Here’s how it works: Once approved, you can withdraw funds from your Line of Credit as needed, whether it’s to cover rent, bills, moving costs, or other expenses. You only pay interest on the amount you withdraw, not the total approved limit. 

A Line of Credit offers flexibility, allowing you to access funds when you need them without having to reapply each time. If it’s available in your state, it could provide you with a financial cushion the next time rent is due before your paycheck hits. 

Title Loan 

If you own a car, a title loan could be a viable option. With a title loan, you use your car's title as collateral to secure the loan, and the loan amount is typically based on a percentage of your vehicle’s value. 

Applying for a title loan can be a quick way to access cash, but it's important to understand the terms and risks involved: 

  • Vehicle ownership. To qualify for a title loan, you need to own your car outright and have a clear title. 
  • Loan amount. The amount you can borrow is determined by your car’s appraised value. Generally, the higher the value (and the better the car’s condition), the more money you can borrow. 
  • In-person appraisal. You will need to bring your vehicle in for an inspection and appraisal to determine your loan amount. 
  • Risk of repossession. If you fail to repay your title loan as agreed, you could lose your vehicle, so make sure you have a clear repayment plan in place. 

Advance America has partnered with LoanCenter to provide our customers with another flexible way to access financial assistance when it’s needed most. 

3. Find a quick gig 

App-based side hustles – such as driving for a rideshare service, delivering food, or renting out your backyard as a bark park – offer unprecedented flexibility, allowing you to work as much or as little as you like. 

In many cases, it's as simple as downloading an app, setting up an account, and passing a background check. This ease of entry makes side gigs a great option when you need fast cash. 

In addition to app-based gigs, consider looking for part-time jobs in your area. Retail, food service, or warehouse work often offer flexible hours and can be a reliable way to supplement your income. Compared to side hustles, a part-time job can offer more consistent earnings and give you a buffer for rent and other expenses. 

4. Reach out to state and local organizations 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a good place to start for identifying rent relief programs. Many state and community organizations, such as charities, churches, and nonprofit groups, may be able to offer rental assistance for those in need. Depending on the organization, they might provide direct financial support, help with utility bills, or connect you with local housing services. 

If you're not sure where to turn, dial 211. This confidential service, available in many states, puts callers in touch with essential resources – including rental assistance programs. Whether you need immediate rent assistance or other types of support, the professionals at 211 can help. 

Don't hesitate to reach out. Nonprofits are dedicated to supporting their communities and can be an invaluable resource when you don’t know where else to turn. 

5. Start thinking two months ahead 

After addressing this month’s rent, start planning for next month. Building an emergency fund can ensure you have a financial buffer for unexpected events. 

Here are some ways to prepare for future rent payments and build an emergency savings fund: 

  • Review your budget. Identify areas where you can cut back and set aside money for emergencies. Even small contributions can add up over time. 
  • Claim hardship. Contact your creditors to explain your situation. You may qualify for a financial hardship that allows you to defer payments or temporarily adjust your repayment terms. 
  • Explore affordable housing. Consider a more affordable living arrangement. This might involve downsizing, finding a roommate, or relocating to an area with a more affordable cost of living

>RELATED: How Much Should I Have In An Emergency Fund? 

Emergency loans for rent assistance 

When you're up against a tight rent deadline, Advance America can help. The right emergency loan could give you the extra funds you need to pay your rent on time and cover other important living expenses. Apply online or visit your nearest Advance America store to discuss your options.

About the Author

Jennifer McKnight is the Senior Content Writer at Advance America. Drawing on her past financial struggles, she’s driven to create relatable content that empowers readers on their journey to financial stability.

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