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Lost Your Job, No Money for Rent due to the Coronavirus, should you Panic?

Have you been furloughed or fired from your job, are you concerned about what will happen when your next rent payment comes due, how you are going to put food on the table for your family? Worried you and your family are going to be evicted? It’s a good time to panic right, don’t worry, you are not alone.  Many Floridians are in a similar position due to the effects of COVID-19, i.e., the Coronavirus.  However, you may have a way out of an impossible financial situation, depending on the contents of your residential lease.  Click on this link for more information on small businesses.  

WHAT CAN I DO IF I HAVE BEEN FURLOUGHED OR FIRED?

Obviously, with no money coming in and not being allowed to work its a good time to panic right. No, its time to assess what we have and how long it’s going to last us and what steps we need to take to be in a better position and survive. First, you need to know what money you have on hand to live off of, this means “CASH” and “CREDIT”, what are your expenses, make a list. Once you make a list of your expenses, look at which ones you can cut out to save money. From what we know of other countries who were hit by the coronavirus earlier, we can estimate that this pandemic may last about four months. Therefore we need to plan to survive for maybe five or six months to be conservative. Remember, we may not go back to things right where we left off, it may take some time.

Once you know what monies you have available, which include your credit card limits and your monthly expenses, you will know how many months you can survive. Now that you know this valuable information, you should figure out ways to lower your expenses or eliminate some of them. Do you really need Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, etc? Maybe, but maybe you don’t need the pet groomer. Once you trim expenses, figure out ways to lower your bills, whether it’s calling to get a better cable rate or phone rate, etc. Once you’ve trimmed the fat on your expenses then you need to find out ways to obtain new forms of income. File for unemployment, I know its tedious, time consuming and demoralizing but its something coming in to help pay the bills. The Federal Government is sending stimulus checks to most Americans, don’t go on Amazon and spend it, add it to your list you should call “survival cash” because for now, this is a one-time event. Don’t panic, things will get better!!!

do you have a lease, should you keep paying the lease?

First, it may be a good time to talk to your landlord, he/she should understand that we are in a crisis and you have been forced to stay home and have lost your job as a result. You may be able to discuss alternatives in payment, maybe work out a different payment plan where you don’t pay for two or three months and then pay an additional amount toward the end of the lease to catch up. Right now, most jurisdictions are not allowing for evictions to go forward in the court system and if your landlord knows that he may be more willing to enter into a different payment arrangement with you as he knows he can’t evict you for the moment. But don’t think this will last, at some point, the court will allow the landlord to begin evictions and if you haven’t been paying and haven’t changed your agreement, the landlord can evict you if not now, eventually. Always try to formalize any agreement with the landlord in writing, even if it’s just an email back and forth where the terms are written and you both agree.

If you can’t agree with your landlord in changing your payment for these months, then you should review or have your contract reviewed by an attorney. Many contracts contain provisions for different scenarios that are unknown but could happen during the lease like a storm which makes the home unlivable, etc., allowing the tenant relief from having to pay rent. One of these provisions often found in a contract is called a “force majeure clause”, which if contained in your lease, may excuse the tenant from complying with their normal obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise, making performance inadvisable, commercially impracticable, impossible or illegal.  While these types of clauses vary; if one is contained in your lease, it may provide you with another option if you are unable to pay your rent by the due date. 

The attorneys at G&R Law are able to assist you in this time of need, whether it is reviewing your finances to help you with a budget or your lease to see if it contains this force majeure clause free of charge.  If your lease does contain a force majeure clause, G&R Law will work with you during these trying times and within your financial means to negotiate with your landlord on your behalf and ensure you are able to stay in your home for as long as possible.   

Please click on the link to contact G&R Law, to set up your free of charge telephonic appointment. 

Stay safe during these trying times.  

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