In an ideal world, renters would pay their rent on time and landlords would use this money to pay for the mortgage, utilities, insurance and upkeep. Experienced landlords would also have a slush fund built up to cover a month or two of late rent payments. But as we know, life is far from ideal.

If you have overdue rent (rent arrears), you might be getting threats of eviction from your landlord. This is an incredibly scary situation when you need a place to live but aren’t generating the income you were. What can you do?

Our best advice is to learn about your rights as a tenant, educate yourself on your options and talk to a rental attorney in New York for legal direction.

New York City Eviction Moratoriums Extended…But Only Through August

Due to the pandemic, many tenants have lost their jobs or had their hours cut. Without the same income coming in, it’s extremely difficult to pay rent on time. Thankfully, Governor Cuomo signed an extension of the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020.

This moratorium prohibits residential and commercial evictions, foreclosure proceedings, credit discrimination and negative credit reporting related to the pandemic until August 31, 2021. While these protections have been critical to keeping people in their homes, not everyone qualifies.

And, once the moratorium is lifted, landlords will expect to receive their rent payments on time. However, the economy is still slowly recovering and not everyone is back to work or working the same hours. So what happens when you have unpaid rent? Will you be evicted from your home or apartment?

It’s important to know that you have options. Unpaid rent is a frustrating problem for landlords, but they still have legal obligations and cannot evict tenants without a court order. Let’s learn more about overdue rent, what this means for you and how a rental arrears attorney in New York can help.

I Have Past Due Rent but I Don’t Want to Move. What Can I Do?

The term ‘residential rental arrears’ refers to overdue rent that hasn’t been paid. These priority debts are serious. If you don’t deal with them, you can be evicted from your home. The best advice in this situation is to sort things out as soon as you can. Do not ignore it!

Here are some tips for working through this problem and protecting yourself from eviction:

  • Make a list of your debts and put them in order of priority
  • Write down all income and expenses to determine how much you have to put toward your debts each month
  • Work out what you can afford to pay your landlord each month

What Happens if I Can’t Work Out an Agreement with My Landlord?

By being upfront and honest about your situation, and working to pay at least some of your rent, you can hopefully avoid eviction. But there is always the possibility that your landlord will move forward with the eviction. And, if you have rent arrears on a previous property, you’ll probably find it difficult for another landlord to rent to you.

If you know you’ll be unable to pay your rent, the next step is to talk to a rental arrears attorney in New York. They may recommend that you file for bankruptcy, a process that helps people who have taken on an unmanageable amount of debt. Bankruptcy is designed to protect people from being harassed by the creditors.

Can Bankruptcy Help with Rent Arrears?

When you file for bankruptcy, all collections for debt are stopped. This is known legally as an ‘automatic stay.’ While you can still be evicted for other things unrelated to rent (such as illegal behavior) you cannot be evicted because you’re behind on payments.

Some people end up dropping the bankruptcy proceedings after they’ve maximized their automatic stay. Others continue with the process. It’s important to note that the type of bankruptcy you file – Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 – can impact what you pay to your landlord.

With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a bankruptcy trustee is in charge and they get to decide whether to reject or assume the lease. With Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a payment plan is put into place so that you can repay a portion of your debts over a period of 3 to 5 years. Generally speaking, you have more control over how your rent payments are handled with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Speak with a Rent Arrears Attorney in NYC Today

If you are facing eviction due to rent arrears, bankruptcy can help you delay the process. And because it stops all creditors, including your landlord, from collecting debts, it can help you get back on your feet. To learn more about your options for staying in your home after falling behind on rent payments, contact a rent arrears attorney from Midtown Bankruptcy today.