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With rent due Wednesday, many worry about keeping a roof over their heads during coronavirus pandemic

Rent will be due for many on the first of the month Wednesday, regardless of their ability to pay.

With many families worried about finances due to the coronavirus, some are debating whether to buy food or pay rent.

Harris County is currently under a “stay home, work safe” order but it doesn’t guarantee tenants a roof over their heads.

On Wednesday, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said if needed, she would extend her order to prevent tenants from being evicted during the month of April.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said families should not be evicted during this time due to financial strains. The mayor said tenants and landlords should be working together.

“The hope is that landlords will work with people who are renting,” Mayor Turner said. “We are all in this together. Renters didn’t choose for this virus to be showing up at this time. Hoping that property owners and renters are getting together. People are paying first and last month rent ... go ahead and utilize the last month’s rent.”

Howard Bookstaff with the Houston Apartment Association said it’s important for tenants and renters to communicate.

“Nothing changes with respect to the due dates on their lease and so forth so they really need to communicate with their landlords as soon as possible,” Bookstaff said.

Bookstaff suggests talking to your landlord or leasing office about your financial situation and get the plan in writing. He also suggests taking it one month at a time.