WFTX — Having trouble keeping up with your rent? Or are you worried it might be an issue as eviction moratoriums expire?
We checked with Chris Fiore who is an eviction attorney and negotiator.
He says even when the eviction moratorium expires at the end of June, you still may be eligible to keep renting where you are because there are programs to help you pay your rent.
He says there are similar programs to help landlords to receive their money so they’re not left holding the bag if tenants can’t make their rent.
But if you’re not able to pay your rent – and the pandemic is not the reason – he says you still can negotiate.
He reminds you that a lease a legally binding document. But it doesn’t hurt to ask for flexibility.
Below is a partial transcript of our conversation. (edited for clarity and brevity.)
WFTX: If I'm a renter and I think there's got to be a better way. What would you advise me if I want to stay where I am and my landlord still gets what he or she needs?
CHRIS FIORE/EVICTION ATTORNEY & MEDIATOR: Be very open-minded, listen to the other side, compromise on your position. Meaning, make some offers, some financial offers, to the landlord. Often times the landlord, if you cannot see a way out of the lease, the landlord may be interested in finding a way, to close out the lease, allow the tenant to break the lease and leave, under conditions both sides can agree to so there's no animosity, there's no ill will as they part ways. So I would say compromise, be open-minded, listen to the other side, and be creative. You might be surprised by what a landlord might accept.
WFTX: That said, what are some creative things you could offer like "Maybe I take over the lawn service or do some improvement projects. Something like that maybe?
CHRIS FIORE/EVICTION ATTORNEY & MEDIATOR: I think that's certainly an option. I think you have to be truly open-minded. And consider all options. And the reason I say that is that it depends perhaps, whether your landlord is a one property landlord, like one house, and they may be open to some really creative solutions. It might depend on what the tenant has to offer. Whether it's lawn services or anything else. But if you're dealing with an apartment complex that has a lot of units. And the corporate office is in another state or something like that, and they have liability issues, then, of course, your ability to negotiate might be different. And the options you give the landlord might be different. Whatever you do, I would strongly urge everybody, both sides, the landlord and the tenant, to reduce that agreement to writing, signed by both sides, reference the lease, take some precautions, and specifically put it in writing. Whatever agreement you reach.