If you still have a place to live, but you fear getting evicted or having your house foreclosed on, the time to act is now.

Start by figuring out how much you are behind in the rent or mortgage payments. Then, make a repayment plan you can discuss with your landlord or mortgage company. Can you pay off the entire back rent immediately? Can you pay some of the overdue amount each week while making the rest of your rent payments on time?

Some landlords or mortgage companies may require that you pay back the entire amount you owe at one time, but some may be more flexible. It's a good idea to have a plan prepared when you discuss the situation—it shows your commitment to solving the problem.

You also should reread your lease or rental agreement, which may state whether you have to pay a fee if your rent payment is late. The lease also should detail what action the landlord can take if you can't pay the rent.

The wording in a lease can be complicated. Consider asking local Community Action Agency staff to help explain it. A staff member may also put you in touch with a tenants group or lawyer who can help explain your rights as a tenant. This knowledge can be helpful when talking to your landlord.

Read on for some ways to work with a landlord or mortgage company. Keep in mind that these are only suggestions, and shouldn’t be taken as legal advice.

If you’re faced with losing your housing, the My Housing Options worksheet can help you find another place to live.

Visit the NEFE Smart About Money Economic Survival Tips website for more tips to protect your house from foreclosure.

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If you’re faced with losing your housing, the My Housing Options worksheet can help you find another place to live.