How to write a hardship letter to a landlord

Written by mandy kalish
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How to write a hardship letter to a landlord
Landlords will sometimes grant tenants a rent reduction. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Although hardship letters are traditionally written by homeowners in order to get a loan modification or permission for a short sale, renters can write hardship letters to landlords as well. The goal of the renter's hardship letter is to get a reduction in rent or to appeal for a grace period where rent payments can be waived.

Skill level:


    Compose the Letter

  1. 1

    Address your landlord respectfully. Formal letters should begin with "Dear Mr./Ms." followed by the intended recipient's surname. If you are on a first-name basis with your landlord, you can use the first name after "Dear" followed by a comma.

  2. 2

    Introduce the purpose of your letter. State that you are writing a hardship letter because your circumstances are making it difficult for you to pay your rent.

  3. 3

    Start a new paragraph and make your main points about your hardship. Do not be too wordy; just make your main points. Reasonable hardships include divorce, illness, loss of job, failure of business, military duty, death of spouse, medical bills and reduced income.

  4. 4

    Close the letter by stating what it is you want. Whether you want a rent reduction or a grace period with no rent due, make it clear to your landlord what it is you are asking for.

  5. 5

    Sign the letter "Sincerely," followed by your name on the next line. Below your name, include your phone number so your landlord can easily contact you to discuss the letter or let you know the decision.

Tips and warnings

  • Include more than one reason for your hardship to make a more compelling case.
  • Do not exaggerate or fabricate any of your reasons. If you get caught, it will decrease your chances of rent reduction and cause bad blood between you and your landlord.

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