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How to negotiate a rental payment plan with your landlord (and avoid eviction)


Tenants in 2020 certainly know that life does not always go according to plan. When problems paying your rent start surfacing, it is important to communicate this to your landlord – the sooner, the better. Negotiated payment plans could become the bridge to finding a solution to the payment problem.

What are negotiated payment plans?

Negotiation for a payment plan starts with a simple conversation and a process of satisfying needs by reaching a mutual agreement. As a tenant, enter the conversation confidently because ultimately, you and the landlord both want to find a solution that works as best as possible.

Why would you need to negotiate with your landlord?

Negotiating for payment relief or an amendment to your rental contract is important if you may not be able to afford rent in the next month or two. If you become aware of a problem that will impact your income, perhaps already know that there will be a delay, or even if your employment falls through – reach out proactively to your property manager or landlord to alert them.


Negotiating with your landlord can solve your problem in the short-term via possible rental relief and in the long-term by restructuring your contract at a lower rent. The landlord can also agree to use your deposit to cover the shortfall. Landlords may even be willing to shorten your lease to help!

What will happen if you wait until the deadline?

Do not wait until the deadline has already been missed to tell your landlord about it. If you know you are going to struggle with payment or delayed rental payment, you may struggle to negotiate in good faith with your landlord, and you might be evicted from your property!

If you do not want to end up being evicted because you waited too late, you can do the following:

  • Agree with your landlord to pay later,
  • Use the deposit to cover the outstanding rent,
  • Drop rental,
  • Share with a housemate.

Always remember the sooner you contact your landlord about your problem, the more options or offers there are to solve the problem.

What can you expect from landlords?

The landlord may give you multiple choices as to how to resolve the situation, depending on your specific situation. The law is on the landlord’s side – a lease is a contract for which there are obligations that you, as the tenant, must meet (pay). But given the global COVID-19 situation, many landlords are understanding and willing to assist with rental deferment deposit utilization and rental contract amendments, to really help you in a tough situation. This is why communicating is so important.

5 steps to preparing for a rental amendment conversation with your landlord:

  1. Read through your lease to determine your obligations. Also, understand what a cancelation penalty might apply if you stop paying altogether.
  2. Email your landlord explaining your current situation and proposed solutions/ request to amend the lease terms.
  3. Make sure that you can show the calculated difference between what you propose and what the contract would have earned the landlord. This will help explain his loss and/or recovery of loss that you’re proposed.
  4. Keep your pledges, promises, and commitments in writing. Ask for their confirmation of a new solution in writing as well. Landlords negotiating partial payment arrangements with their tenants will undoubtedly request that you sign an amendment outlining the arrangement.
  5. Keep committed to doing what you can, where you can. Although the market is tough for consumers everywhere, the landlord wants to keep you as a tenant – and ideally, you want to stay! So listen and really try to meet the landlord halfway with what she/he asks for.

Not great at negotiating?

Let HouseME do the negotiating for you! We are a team of innovative property managers looking to give the South African market a fluid digital rental experience. We have a range of services for both landlords and tenants all geared towards making renting smooth and straightforward.


Landlords can enjoy products like Rental Guarantee and Eviction Coverage. While Tenants can enjoy hassle-free rentals with no deposits and find the perfect new home within your budget. Get started here.

About the guest author

Malakah Alnabhani has studied at King Abdulaziz University, Biochemistry Department. Trained at MenaBev company in the sales department, and has been training at the ideal idea for medical equipment in the laboratory sales department.



About HouseME: 

HouseME Founders Ben Shaw and Kyle Bradley

We’re on a mission to transform residential renting using technology and placing data-centric decision making at its heart. We’re committed to be the smartest way to rent, for landlords and tenants alike, making the whole process fair and stress-free. Register here and start renting smart. 


 HouseME’s Co-Founders, Kyle Bradley and Ben Shaw.


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