A landlord can evict you for non-payment of rent. As a tenant, you are legally responsible to pay the full amount of rent in a timely manner. The lease will set the terms of your rental payments. Generally, the rent is due on the first of the month. If you don’t pay your rent on time, the landlord can file an eviction action against you. It doesn’t matter if you have a disability, your money was stolen, you just lost your job, it is the wintertime, and/or you have children. You can still be evicted for non-payment of rent.
If you will not be able to pay your rent, you should tell your landlord as soon as possible. You should not wait until the day it is due or a few days later. Explain why you can’t pay the rent and ask to make a payment arrangement. If your landlord agrees to enter into a payment arrangement, get this agreement in writing and keep a copy for your records. Remember, if you do not keep the agreement, the landlord will be able to evict you. The eviction process is discussed on the eviction article.
When you do have an unexpected loss of income, you may be able to get help from a local agency or the county assistance office for rent payments. Assistance may only be available during certain times of the year and usually only once per year. Local religious and community organizations may also offer emergency financial help. Look at our Getting Help guide or call 211 for referrals in your area.
When you sign a lease with other people, you should understand the lease terms. Each person may be responsible for the full amount of the rent if the other tenants leave without paying. This is called “joint and several liability.” So, if one of the people who signed the lease leaves or cannot pay the rent, the others will be responsible to pay the full amount due. If you think you will only be responsible for your portion of the rent, review the lease carefully or seek legal advice before signing.