Rent and mortgage are due: What to do if you can’t make the payment

Posted at 5:07 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 11:28:38-04

Even before COVID-19 existed, the Federal Reserve reportedonly four out of ten adults would be able to cover an unexpected emergency expense of $400 or more.

More than 240,000 Wisconsinites have applied for unemployment since March 15. Making the first rent or mortgage payment since the pandemic surfaced, is undeniably a problem for a lot of people.

Some financial experts say your rent or your mortgage needs to be your priority during this health crisis, but if you're struggling to come up with the money for groceries and medicine, you need to reach out to your landlord.

"Talk to your landlord about what your financial situation is," said Matt Koz with the Tenant Resource Center in Wisconsin.

If you rent, Koz reminds everyone, Governor Evers has placed a ban on evictions and foreclosures until May 26. Koz says after that, tenants can look into eviction prevention funding programs.

"The best place to start if you have no idea what agencies in your community do this, is to call 211, the first call for helpline, and see what they might point you to and follow up on all of them," Koz said.

For homeowners, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureausuggests asking your mortgage servicer questions like, "What options are there to temporarily reduce or suspend my payments?" and "Are there forbearance, loan modification, or other options?. Finally, you can ask, "Can you waive late fees?"

As far as other monthly bills, like your utility, cell phone, or cable bill, a lot of companies are offering temporary financial breaks if the Coronavirus has you struggling to make ends meet.

Click here to see TMJ4's earlier story about collectors offering relief to consumers. Credit card companies and cell carriers are waiving fees, utility companies like WE Energies are offering budget plans where you can spread out your payment.

If you were already dealing with debt before COVID-19 existed, there are even more stepsyou can take to ease the burden of the pandemic's impact.

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