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Preserve Tenancy with Pay & Stay Agreement

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Governor Sununu extended the moratorium on evictions for failure to pay rent until June 5, 2020. Nothing in the Governor’s moratorium eliminates or waives the rent. A tenant will still have to pay rent to the landlord to avoid a future eviction.

The federal CARES Act prohibits some landlords of federally subsidized units or properties from filing new evictions for failure to pay rent until July 25, 2020. The Act also prohibits some landlords from charging fees or interest for late payment during this period. The Act doesn’t eliminate or waive rent.

If a tenant can’t pay rent due to COVID-19, that tenant should consider asking the landlord to enter into a payment plan that will allow the tenant to pay past-due rent in smaller partial payments, once the tenant has income again. The tenant should also apply immediately for rental assistance at their town or city welfare office.

For the tenant’s protection, the agreement must be in writing. And a tenant should not sign the agreement unless the tenant understands everything in the agreement.

When negotiating a payment plan, the agreement should include:

1. A ledger of all amounts currently owed;

2. The date(s) and amount(s) of all the payments;

3. Whether the payment plan includes the rent that will become due during the payment plan;

4. What will happen if a payment is missed; and

5. A promise from the landlord that by agreeing to the payment plan, the landlord will not take legal action against the tenant.

A tenant letter asks the landlord to consider a payment plan. If the letter is successful, the "pay & stay agreement" helps get the details in writing so it can be enforced.

If you have questions about how to write a “tenant letter” and a “pay & stay agreement,” call the Legal Advice & Referral Center (LARC).

If you are facing eviction or have questions about your tenant rights, apply for help from LARC.

Call weekdays between 9 AM and 1 PM: 1-800-639-5290 OR apply anytime online.

Date: 
May 2020
Author: 
LARC

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