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How to Get Help with Rent During COVID-19

How to Get Help with Rent During COVID-19

Can’t afford your rent due to the coronavirus pandemic? You’re not alone. Millions of Americans have been adversely affected by the outbreak, which has caused them to lose money and not be able to afford their rent.

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Although help has been offered to people who are renting from HUD-backed properties and people who have mortgages, there hasn’t been any definite relief for most renters.

Before we begin, it’s important that we lead this article with a disclaimer. I am not a lawyer, a social worker, or anything like that. I’m just a journalist with great research skills. Please understand that there is no guarantee that anything suggested in this article will work for your specific situation. My goal is to give you the best possible chance for success, but I can’t guarantee outcomes.

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How to Write a Formal Letter to Your Landlord

If you have been financially impacted by the pandemic, you should appeal to your landlord directly for assistance. However, verbal agreements rarely provide legal protection. In order to protect yourself, you should ensure that all negotiations occur through writing. You can do this via email or regular mail.

Regardless of how you choose to send it, you should submit your request in a formal business letter. I use formal business letters for everything. I have successfully avoided legal action, negotiated debts and even health care treatment with formal business letters. Never underestimate the impact of a formal letter.

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In your letter, you should outline several key points. Be sure to include a statement that you’ve been financially impacted due to coronavirus and make a compelling case that working with you is in the landlord’s best interest.

Does that sound overwhelming? Don’t worry. I’ve drafted a sample letter that you can use. Just copy, customize and send!

Here’s a template letter you can use.

You are welcome to copy this letter, customize it with the relevant details and send it to your landlord. However, please do not share it with others. If you want to share the letter, please share this link. Sharing our links helps me support my family during this outbreak.

You can access an editable document here. Upload it to Google Drive and open it in Google Docs to edit it for free.

If you’d rather copy and paste the letter into your own document editor, here’s a plain-text version. Just modify the sections written in bold/italics and you’re good to go!

Sender’s Name

Sender’s Address Line 1 (Number and Street)

Sender’s Address Line 2 (City, State and ZIP)

March 26, 2020

Landlord’s Name

Landlord’s Title (Property Manager, Owner, etc)

Company Name (if applicable; otherwise delete this line)

Landlord’s Address Line 1 (Number and Street)

Landlord’s Address Line 2 (City, State and ZIP)

Dear (Landlord’s Name),

As you know, millions of Americans are struggling financially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. I have been adversely impacted by the outbreak as well. I have lost a significant portion of my income and I am unable to meet my current obligations as a result of those losses. 

I am reaching out to you today because I need some sort of temporary rent relief. I am unable to pay the full amount due. I realize that this creates a financial hardship for you and I am very sorry.

However, I do believe that it is in your best interest to work with me on this matter. 

After all, eviction only makes sense when you can get a better-paying tenant to move in. That is highly unlikely, given the current economic situation. Millions have filed for unemployment. Moody’s Analytics has speculated that more than 80 million jobs are at risk. CNN has estimated that 50% of American jobs will be lost. Overall, people simply aren’t in a financial position to afford their current rent, let alone the expense of moving into a new unit. 

Furthermore, empty units are more likely to be vandalized or subjected to other forms of property crime. This has been demonstrated by numerous studies. Since coronavirus has left many people without an income, it is reasonable to conclude that homelessness and criminal activity will increase. An empty unit could be subjected to squatters, copper thieves or other criminal activity that would cost you more money in the long run.

I would like to remain in this property and do everything that I can to meet my rent obligation. It is my hope that we can work together during this crisis. 

Thank you for your consideration, 

(Sender’s Name)

What should I do after I send the letter?

If you do not hear from your landlord within five business days of sending the letter, send a follow up. You may want to send the follow-up letter by both email and regular mail.

A sample follow-up letter can be found here, or you can copy and paste the letter below.

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Sender’s Name

Sender’s Address Line 1 (Number and Street)

Sender’s Address Line 2 (City, State and ZIP)

March 30, 2020

Landlord’s Name

Landlord’s Title (Property Manager, Owner, etc)

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Company Name (if applicable; otherwise delete this line)

Landlord’s Address Line 1 (Number and Street)

Landlord’s Address Line 2 (City, State and ZIP)

Dear (Landlord’s Name),

I am following up on my previous correspondence, which I sent you via (email / mail) on (date)

My financial situation has not improved since my previous correspondence. I am still unable to pay the full amount of rent due. I am sincerely sorry for the inconvenience that this will cause to you, but I remain optimistic that we can reach a mutually beneficial resolution to this matter. 

Please respond as soon as possible.

(Sender’s Name)

What if my landlord doesn’t respond?

There is no guarantee that your landlord will respond or agree to any sort of relief. However, it would be foolish of them not to. Keep records of when you sent the letters and what you sent. Document all interactions between you and your landlord. This evidence may be useful to you if you end up facing eviction or other challenges.

Get more help during the coronavirus crisis here!

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Have too much month at the end of your money? Me too - and that's how Low Income Relief got started. I have over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Over the years, I've worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. My work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, eHow.com, Livestrong.com, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), The Chronicle (Centralia, WA) and others. At Low Income Relief, I use my professional research and reporting experience to help low income families save money and make ends meet. It's been my full-time job since 2016, and it's truly an honor to serve you.

Laura

Monday 15th of March 2021

This website and related YouTube are phenomenal. Articles are well written, thoroughly researched, and provide helpful examples. These resources are especially needed in this time of uncertainty and I’m grateful to have found them.

Hannah Benge

Tuesday 23rd of March 2021

Thank you so much for this compliment! Nikki does a fantastic job compiling information for us! We are so glad you found us and we are glad we can help! Thank you for your words and for following us! -Hannah

Cheri Gemmill

Saturday 20th of June 2020

You are amazing for what you are doing for low income family's totally amazing God will always bless you in life.thank you for being who syou are..Cheri gemmill in Mesa az