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The Rebound: What To Do If You Can't Make Rent

Posted at 5:08 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 23:51:50-04

Like so many Oklahomans, Kalee Lemonds never expected to worry about paying her rent.

"I was definitely scared. Didn't know how to come to them at first," Lemonds said.

She works at a dental office and because of the pandemic, her hours have been cut dramatically.

This past month, she wasn't sure how she would manage with a limited income. So, she went to her property manager at the Brittany Square Apartments about her financial situation.

"It was a big relief. Just knowing that we would not have any work and there were options," Lemonds said.

Capital Assets Inc. is the management group of her complex, along with eight other properties around Tulsa.

"As we saw this virus situation growing through March, we just started talking about how we could help. We didn't want to, you know, our goal is to have residents occupy the apartment and stay in the apartment, and we just want to work with them as much as we could. So, we knew that there was going to be some kind of impact and we just wanted to let them know that we were going to work with them, and we wanted them to stay in the apartments," said Greg Wright, president of Capital Assets Inc.

"If you communicate with them and kinda let them know what's going on, they're willing to work with you. There's no late fees or anything and payment plans for the whole month. So, it is a help," Lemonds said.

The general advice from landlords is to be honest with them and make sure to provide some documentation.

"We've asked them to provide either unemployment paperwork that they've had from when they had to file for unemployment or pay stubs that show reduced hours from the last couple of pay periods and things like that that shows they have been impacted, just things that we all have, but the main thing is to communicate with your landlord and the management company on-site," Wright said.

Concerns have been growing over evictions, however, Keri Cooper with the Tulsa Apartment Association says landlords don't want to lose their tenants.

"When we look at April, as of now, we’re at 15 to 20 evictions have been filed for the month of April, which typically in that time period we were over 300 in the previous year and I think that just speaks to the number of housing providers that are out there working with residents and doing payment plans and really working on solutions to keep them in their housing," Cooper said.

If you received a notice of eviction, that doesn't mean you have to leave your home.

The eviction paperwork still has to go through the court system before a landlord can legally remove you from the property and eviction hearings have been suspended since March in Oklahoma.

Kalee says, that was something she was worried about before approaching her management, but says she's glad she didn't let that stop her from communicating.

"It means I'm not gonna lose my home. I'm not gonna be on the street. I have a place to lay my head, somewhere I can come home that's safe and I know there nothing I have to worry about for that moment," Lemonds said.

If you need help with your rent, you can also call 211.

For additional resources, visit The Rebound.

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