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What to Do When You Can’t Afford Rent

According to a 2014 report by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, 21.3 million

people are spending more than the recommended 30 percent of income on rent. Twenty-six

percent of these people are spending more than 50 percent of their income just to keep the

rented roof over their heads. With the 2014 median new apartment rent skyrocketing to

$1,372, it’s not surprising that so many people are struggling to manage rent along with all

their other bills. If that’s a situation you find yourself in and breaking the lease isn’t an

option, here are some tips that might help ease the financial burden:

• Take on a temporary roommate. If you have the extra room, then advertising for a

roommate might be a viable option. While having a roommate can be challenging, it

can make rent more manageable until your lease is up and you can downsize to a

more affordable apartment. Be sure to check your lease agreement to ensure you

aren’t breaking any rules by taking on a roommate.

• Sublet and move back home. If permissible in your lease, you may be able to sublet

your apartment and move back home or to a more affordable place. This does carry

some risk since the person you sublet to might stop paying rent, so be sure to be

very careful when choosing someone.

• Find a new renter to take over your lease. Your landlord may allow you to break the

lease without penalty if you find a new renter to move in and take over payments.

• Negotiate with your landlord. If the reason behind your inability to pay is

temporary, then your landlord may be willing to work out an installment plan with

you. Just make sure you talk to them about it as soon as you can—ideally before you

get behind on payments.

• Get help. There are many public programs that can help you supplement your

income and pay rent. If you don’t qualify for one of them, you can try to get help

with your other bills and expenses so that you have more available cash to go

toward rent.

About Dennis M. Postema

Dennis M. Postema, RFC, is a successful entrepreneur, best-selling author, coach, speaker and registered financial consultant. He is the founder of MotivationandSuccess.com, StoriesofPerseverance.org, FinancingYourLife.com and TheRetirementInstitute.org.

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