How to talk to your landlord when you can’t pay rent during the COVID-19 Crisis

Posted on: March 31, 2020
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Wondering how to talk to your landlord about this month's rent? Here is a script you can use that was developed by the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center and SLLS. Make sure any agreement you negotiate is in writing- text or email are fine.

Sample email/text to your landlord

Hi _____, I hope you are safe and healthy. I wanted to keep you updated about my situation. I have lost income/work/my job because of the COVID-19 crisis and cannot afford to pay my rent this month at this time. Would you be willing to:

1. Waive this month's late fees?

2. Agree not to evict me for not being able to pay this month's rent on time, and instead agree that we will work out a repayment agreement that works for both of us?

Most mortgage holders can qualify for a forbearance because of COVID-19. If you receive a forbearance from your lender, would you also be willing to not charge me rent for those months?

Thanks for your flexibility and understanding,

______________ [your name]

Optional things to add based on your comfort level: 
(Note: You legally owe the full rent in your lease for this month. However, some landlords may be willing to re-negotiate the amount under the circumstances. However they are under no legal obligation to do so).

Would you be willing to reduce my rent to ________ for this month because that is what I can afford right now?

Would you be willing to waive this month's rent, or in the alternative, apply my security deposit to this month's rent? If you apply my security deposit I will agree to waive my right to claim my deposit at the end of the lease, and also agree to pay reasonable charges for damage above normal wear and tear after I move out.

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