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How to get an emergency loan to pay for rent
7 places to turn to for help when you're worried about missing a payment.
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When you’re facing late fees from your landlord or a possible eviction, a short-term loan for rent may be the first solution you turn to. But the high cost can cause even more problems down the road. Instead, you might want to first look into housing assistance programs and other lower-cost alternatives before taking out a payday loan.
Rental relief available during the coronavirus outbreak
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act forbids landlords with federally backed mortgages from evicting tenants due to nonpayment — but that only covers about 30% of rental units, according to data collected by the Urban Institute. And even if your landlord isn’t legally allowed to evict you during this health crisis, nonpayment is still grounds for eviction once the moratorium is over.
While there are no federal relief programs currently available, you may be able to get help through state or local programs. Check your local housing assistance programs to see if there are special options in place for renters affected by the coronavirus or facing temporary financial difficulty. And lean on nonprofit credit and housing counselors for help navigating the situation.
For more resources, check out our guide to financial assistance during the coronavirus.
What's in this guide?
Do lenders offer emergency loans for rent?
Yes, it’s possible to get a short-term loan to cover rent in an emergency. However, borrowing money to pay for rent isn’t ideal: It can lead to a cycle of debt that could put you in a worse financial situation. Instead, you might want to consider alternatives first, such as negotiating with your landlord or applying for housing assistance.
I’ve been evicted. Can I use a loan to help?
Yes, you can use a loan to help cover rent if you’re facing eviction — but you might want to reach out to a lawyer to discuss your options first. They can help you determine whether your landlord violated any of your tenant rights during the eviction process. And they might be able to help you find an alternative way to cover your rent so you don’t need to borrow.
7 ways to pay for rent in an emergency
A short-term loan is best saved as a last resort. Here are seven other options to look into before taking out a payday loan to cover rent:
- Short-term housing assistance. Many cities, counties and states offer voucher programs that can help with short-term housing emergencies. Visit your local housing authority to go over your options and apply for aid.
- Rent assistance grants. If you’re facing eviction and homelessness, you may qualify for a rent assistance grant. Some state and local housing authorities also offer grants to help cover back rent.
- Negotiate with your landlord. Your landlord may be willing to put you on an alternate payment plan or a modified lease during a financial crisis. If they agree to adjust your contract, get it in writing to avoid any issues later on down the road.
- Local charities. Charities and faith-based organizations in your area may offer housing assistance. This might include help with rent or temporary housing if you’re facing eviction.
- Family and friends. You might have someone in your corner willing to help cover rent. While not a long-term solution, it can help you make it through a financial rough patch without accruing late fees from multiple missed rent payments.
- Personal loan. If you have fair to good credit, consider taking out a personal loan from an online lender. These come with much better rates and terms than payday loans. And you may even be able to get your funds the next day.
- Credit card cash advance. Although not ideal, a cash advance is typically less expensive than a payday loan. If you have a credit card with an open balance, you may be able to pay a portion of your rent with an advance.
What do I need to apply for housing assistance?
Depending on the program, you might be asked to provide some or all of the following:
- Copy of your lease
- Copy of your eviction notice — if applicable
- Proof of financial hardship
- Government-issued photo ID
- Social Security number
How to get an emergency loan for rent
If you’re waiting to see if you’ve been approved for housing assistance but still need to cover your back rent, follow these steps to apply for a short-term loan:
- Compare short-term lenders to find an option that fits your needs.
- Click Go to Site to fill out the lender’s application.
- Submit your personal information and wait for an approval decision.
- If approved, receive your funds within one to two business days.
You can also search for payday loan storefronts in your area, which may be able to fund your loan the same day you apply.
What information will I need to apply?
While the information you need to provide will vary by lender, most will ask for the following:
- Proof of income
- Government-issued photo ID
- Social Security number
- Bank account information
Compare short-term loans for rent
How to avoid needing a short-term loan for rent in the future
Although emergencies can feel inevitable, here are a few measures you can take to avoid needing a short-term loan for rent in the future:
- Enroll in government assistance programs. There are several state and federal assistance programs — including subsidized housing, housing vouchers and public housing — you can turn to if the cost of living is too high for your current financial situation.
- Sign up for credit counseling. If you consistently need to borrow to make ends meet, a credit counselor can help you create a budget and debt repayment plan. To find a reputable service near you, check out the US Department of Justice’s list of approved credit counseling agencies.
- Consider debt consolidation. Borrowing a loan for debt consolidation may help you combine some of your high-interest debts into one monthly payment. And for some people, it can reduce the amount you pay overall — easing the strain on your budget and making rent more affordable.
- Get a roommate. If you have extra space in your house or apartment and your landlord approves, a roommate can help cut down on your rent and utility costs until your lease ends and you can find less-expensive housing.
- Take on a second job. Though not always feasible, taking on a side gig or part-time job can help supplement your income if you aren’t bringing in enough to pay your bills.
- Download a savings app. Apps like Chime and Albert can help you automatically save by rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar and putting the funds aside in a savings account.
If you’re facing an emergency and don’t have enough money for rent, you might want to first look into housing assistance offered by government agencies and local charities. Still short on funds? Look into these payday loan alternatives before turning to your short-term loan options.
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