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As another month rolls around, so too does another round of bills that hundreds of thousands of Texans are trying to pay. Times have been tough for the past few months. You know this; your landlord knows this too. Communicate with your landlord! The last thing you need right now is an eviction. If you are trying to work with them, they will work with you. Don’t assume that because you are struggling that you don’t have to make your rent payments in Houston, TX, but don’t assume you’ll need to leave if you can’t fully pay either.

Many in the Houston area have either lost their job or haven’t made nearly the income they were pre-Covid 19. Less work and less money puts your ability to pay your bills in serious jeopardy. In Texas, you can be evicted for a number of different reasons, including not paying rent. However, there may be a few things you can do to postpone the eviction or perhaps even stop it altogether.

First, know your rights. The federal government has halted evictions until Aug. 23, but only for properties that are covered by federally backed mortgages. Some counties and cities have enacted their own moratoriums, sometimes for longer periods and with extra provisions, like a grace period for tenants to pay back what they owe. Some cities have added additional time to this memorandum, but Houston is not one of them. Even if this does apply to you, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to pay rent until then. If means what you owe will be compounding and you’ll be evicted as soon as this “freeze” is over…if you don’t take the time now to speak with your landlord.

Talk to Your Landlord. If you know you will not be able to pay the full amount this month or have even received an eviction notice, you may be able to come to an agreement without going to court. An eviction will cost both of you money and time, so your landlord may be willing to stop the eviction if you agree to certain terms. This may include paying the rent you owe in smaller amounts throughout the month. He or she may even agree to a lower amount, just so you can pay them something. If you can’t come to an agreement that prevents you from moving out, perhaps you can agree on a certain date and time for when you will move out of the rental unit without a full legal eviction.

Remember, they don’t want to evict you just like you don’t want to be evicted. For the reasons mentioned above, like costing money and requiring a lot of time on their part, your landlord does not want to evict you. They want you to pay the rent, though. If you’re out of work, you’re making less than you used to, or you’ve experienced the death of a loved one who used to contribute to the finances in the home, your landlord would rather you communicate this with them and work something out rather than go to court.

If you work something out with your landlord, you may be able to delay your eviction or cancel it altogether and work out a new lease agreement. The only way to do this is by communicating with your landlord!