What You Need to Keep in Mind: How COVID-19 is Affecting Late Fees and Eviction
Many activities have been affected by COVID-19 but something that has not is the need to cover bills and Powercat Financial is here to help pass on some great information! Something we would like to highlight today is late rent and eviction. This is a topic to highlight as you may find yourself working less hours during this time and it is important to have a plan in place to remain current on your rent payments.
The following important information was provided by Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc. (HCCI-ks.org):
- Kansas courts may have paused civil court proceedings at this time due to COVID-19, however you can still be evicted later for not paying all rent money due.
- Be sure to contact your landlord and explain that due to a sudden and unexpected loss in income as a result of the COVID-19 national emergency, you will not be able to pay the rent.
- Going along the same lines remember that you and your landlord are in the same boat. Both parties should try to work together. Being a landlord is their job and how they derive income. Many landlords depend on rent payments to pay their mortgage and/or other bills.
- You can ask for a rent payment plan which would outline a weekly, bi-monthly or monthly payment in order to get caught up.
- The landlord does not have to accept a payment plan, but if accepted, get it in writing.
- Only offer to make arrangements to pay what you can actually afford.
- Both parties must agree on the amount paid, and should sign the pay agreement, each receiving a copy.
- Always get a receipt for any rent paid.
- Be aware that late fees can only be enforced if outlined in a rental agreement.
- Ask your landlord if she/he can set aside any late rent fees due to this unusual pandemic.
- If the landlord agrees, get the agreement in writing. A landlord does not have to comply, but many, if they can, want to help.
- If you do receive any additional income, for example, a government stimulus check, or IRS tax refund, could be set aside in a savings account for rent or should be sent directly to the landlord once received to cover rent payments.
- It could also be used for necessities such as shelter or prescription medication.
- Your city may have a list of resources for rent and other assistance. HCCI has resource lists for Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan and Emporia, if needed.
An important item to note when looking at all of these tips is that the information is generalized. There are significant specifics regarding late rent and the eviction process, and each situation can be unique. You can always reach out to HCCI for free telephone counseling regarding your specific late rent, eviction or other rental related issues at 785-234-0217. Your name and number will be placed on a call log and you’ll be called back in the order of your call. Also, Powercat Financial continues to meet with students virtually through Zoom or telephone sessions so you can still meet with use to discuss your other financial questions by requesting an appointment at www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial. You can also reach out to K-State’s student legal services for advice at https://www.k-state.edu/legal/.
REFERENCES: HCCI-ks.org and see State of Kansas Executive Order No. 20-10 issued by the Governor https://governor.kansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/EO-20-10-Executed.pdf
Rebecca Kuderka – Graduate Assistant