Struggling to pay rent? Clark Howard says help is out there

ATLANTA — It's the beginning of a new month and you likely have to make a rent payment.

Channel 2 Consumer Advisor Clark Howard says there are steps you can take that could give you some relief.

“The feds have said that no one can evict anybody during this emergency who is in a property with a loan that is underwritten by a federal agency. A lot of landlords don’t know that yet. So, they cannot legally evict you until the emergency lifts,” Howard said.

Rent discounts, extensions, flexible due-dates and converting your security deposit to a rent payment are all common types of assistance being offered by some landlords.

Protections for renters

If you are renting from an owner who has a federally backed mortgage, the CARES Act provides for a suspension or moratorium on evictions. If your landlord has a federally backed mortgage or multi-family mortgage, you cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent for 120 days beginning on March 27, 2020, the effective date of the CARES Act. After the 120-day period is up, the landlord cannot require you, the tenant, to vacate until providing you with a thirty-day notice to vacate.

If the property you rent isn’t covered by the CARES Act, many states have suspended all evictions and foreclosures due to the pandemic. Check the websites of your state government, state court , or legal aid program for details and updates.

Where to get additional help

If you need help working with your servicer or understanding your options you may want to reach out to a professional to help you with your specific situation.