TULSA, Okla. — With rent due dates coming up across the state, many are finding themselves short or unable to pay because of the affect COVID-19 has had on their lives.
The good news is that there is help, and attorney Ryan Owens with The Bethany Law Center says it's easy to get started.
"We are dealing with all kinds of health consequences and financial consequences,” Owens said. “I know it feels very isolating. It feels like ‘Oh gosh, I can’t pay my rent, I’ve done something wrong’. This isn’t your fault, this isn’t the landlord’s fault. This is something that’s bigger than all of us, that’s going to take all of us working together to get a response to it.”
Owens says if you're on reduced income, or have been laid off or furloughed, the most important thing is to visit the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission website.
OESC has all of its information online right now. When you go to their page, everything is laid out, including a checklist of what you'll need.
"They file for unemployment, they get state assistance plus federal assistance of $600 per week, at least until the end of July, to help them get through these tough times,” Owens explained.
Owens says because Gov. Stitt waved waiting requirements, you can get help by way of a debit card in 7-10 days.
However, while you’re going through the process, he says communication is going to be key: "talk to your landlord, and let them know. You need to let them know you’re in the process of securing these benefits, or you’re looking for ways to satisfy these obligations, and start this conversation,” Owens said.
Owens says it’s also helpful to go over your lease agreement with an attorney or trusted friend, and pay special attention to the force majeure and payment sections.
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