Woman at home reading paperwork at kitchen table trying to figure out how to pay her rent

What to do if you can't pay rent or mortgage

Many people may need short-term help with their rent or mortgage. Get insights on how to navigate this situation.

Housing is most Americans' largest monthly expense, accounting for about 32% of monthly costs. An unexpected job loss or surprise bills, coupled with little or no savings, could leave many people unable to pay their rent or mortgage. If you or someone you love is faced with this difficult situation, there are steps to take to get help.

Ask for help with rent

Call your landlord before you miss a payment to explain your situation and discuss options. For renters, landlords may waive late fees, negotiate payment plans or even forgive payments to help you avoid being evicted.

Ask for mortgage help

The same goes for a mortgage loan: Always contact your bank or lender before you miss a payment. Lenders may be able to temporarily or permanently lower your payment through refinancing, or provide information about government programs to help pay mortgages or forbearance. Be sure to check your homeowner's insurance policy to see that your home remains fully insured during any period like this.

Reduce expenses

If you don't have a budget, create one. Comb over it to find ways to cut spending, and ask credit card or loan issuers about hardship programs to reduce your payments. If you need help in this process, work with a government-approved credit counseling service.

Consider government programs

There are many government programs to help pay mortgages or assist renters in distress. If your situation is related to a major disaster or crisis, specific assistance programs may be available. Or, check the Department of Housing and Urban Development's rental help resources to learn about grants or other assistance from area charities, religious institutions or government agencies.

Look into personal resources

If you're in a position to borrow from family (and you believe your situation to be temporary), consider a short-term family "loan."Make sure to have a detailed plan that both parties agree on to pay the money back. If you have a 401k, taking an early withdrawal is an option, but considering you will likely incur a penalty, it should be taken as a last resort.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

Neither State Farm nor its agents provide tax or legal advice.

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