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Eviction Prevention Tips for Renters

We understand the importance of having a safe and secure place to call home. If you're facing eviction, we urge you to act now and seek help from trusted resources to avoid losing your home. Connect with a NeighborWorks HUD-certified housing counselor who can help you: 

To find a NeighborWorks organization in your area, visit our network directory. For additional help finding a housing counselor and other resources, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides information and is a trusted resource.

To help ensure that as many as possible are able to keep their homes and avoid eviction, we recommend that consumers protect their homes and families by being proactive. Far too many consumers are waiting for something to happen instead of taking proactive steps to help themselves. NeighborWorks recommends taking these three steps to get started:

  • Find a HUD-certified housing counselor to work with at a NeighborWorks network organization or other local nonprofit housing organization and schedule a meeting immediately. Find NeighborWorks HUD-certified housing counselors
  • Prepare for meetings and court appearances. Don’t walk into any meeting or appearance empty-handed and be prepared to show you have made efforts to pay your rent or access help. 
    • Bring any written communication to your landlord asking for a repayment plan that works for you. Haven’t asked yet? A housing counselor can help.
    • Bring your approved application for rental emergency rental assistance if you have one. 
    • Call the court clerk for important dates like your court date and the deadline to file why you shouldn’t be evicted.

We encourage consumers to not sit idle and to explore all of their options. Together with their NeighborWorks HUD-certified housing counselor, consumers can get connected to critical information and resources. Here are our top 5 tips for preventing eviction: 

  • Know your tenant and debt collection rights.
  • Seek legal help.
  • Find out how to request a repayment plan with your landlord.
  • Apply for rental assistance. 
  • Connect with a trusted partner, a HUD-certified housing counselor, who can help you navigate the process and find needed resources.

Tips for Renting a Home

Renting a place to live can be a positive and exciting step if you take time on the front end to understand what you can afford and what you need.

Five quick tips

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Before you start to look

  • Determine your net income (what you take home after taxes and deductions) to get an accurate picture of your money.
  • Subtract your monthly payments and expenses from your net income to see how much money you have left to spend each month.
  • Establish a rental budget.  Rent should account for 30 percent (or less) of your income.  Keep in mind that paying less rent will allow you to live more comfortably and with less stress.
  • Make sure you have a back-up plan in place in case you lose your job or fall short on funds. 

Questions to ask

Searching for the perfect place and signing a lease can be a confusing process with many important factors to consider.  Getting answers to the following questions can pay off in the long run.

Costs for you

  • rental guide 3What is the average cost of utilities?
  • Do you need to pay a security deposit?  If yes, how much is it?
  • What damages would cause the property manager to take a deduction from your security deposit?  Get it in writing.
  • What does the landlord mean by "normal wear and tear" (which will not be taken out of your security deposit)?  Get it in writing.
  • Is there a fee for terminating the rental agreement early?
  • Do you need renter's insurance?  If yes, how much is it?

Building information

  • rental guide 4Does the building have roaches, termites or other pests?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Are there families with children in the building?  College students?
  • Is there good cellphone reception and Internet access in the building?
  • Does the building have functioning, clean laundry facilities?  If not, where is the closest laundromat?
  • Does the bathroom have proper ventilation to prevent mold (which can be deducted from your security deposit)?
  • Does the building have a maintenance crew to fix things or do you have to hire someone independently for repairs? If you hire someone, would the money you spend be deducted from your rent?
  • Are there working sprinklers?  Are the smoke alarms connected to the fire department?
  • Is there a safe place to park your vehicle?  Do you need a permit to park in the street? Where would your guests park?

Neighborhood information

  • rental guide 2Can you access public transportation nearby? How would you travel if you could not use a car?
  • What is traffic like in the area?
  • How long will it take you to get to and from work? Be sure to think about the day of the week and time of day you will be commuting.
  • Are there grocery stores and shops within walking distance?
  • What is the crime rate in the area? Is it safe to walk alone at night or go for a long run before/after work?
  • If schools are important to you, what district is the home associated with? What is the quality of those schools?
  • Where is the nearest hospital, police station and fire department?
  • Is there a 24-hour drugstore nearby?

Additional resources

Stop Home Scams

COVID-19 has made housing security even more uncertain for Americans. Up to 21% of renters are at risk of eviction and the number of seriously delinquent mortgages hit its highest level in more than five years. In response, housing scams are on the rise across the country. 

That's why NeighborWorks America launched a national public education campaign, Stop Home Scams, designed to alert and empower you to protect your home, access trusted assistance and report illegal activity to the proper authorities in this critical moment. Learn how to spot a scam, report a scam or get involved in this campaign. 
Renter Tips
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