Are unemployment loans scams?

I’m semi-considering doing something stupid. Please let me know just how stupid it is.

I have roughly another five months of unemployment available - I’m receiving the maximum amount - and no debt other than my car loan and a large tax bill that I was planning to apply for an extension on. I’ve been living on a cash/debit card basis for about a year now, but my credit is moderately bad from a bankruptcy and, more importantly, the continuing unemployment situation, and all of my old credit cards are long canceled.

Unfortunately, I also have basically no savings left or other easily liquidated assets (i.e. I’d have to hit eBay with random personal crap that’s not worth much in the grand scheme of things). And when I dropped off my rent check yesterday, my landlord asked if I had found a permanent job yet so that we could extend my lease past the end of May - the implication being that they’re going to have to start looking for a new tenant with a regular income pretty soon (an entirely reasonable position - I don’t hold it against them!). They’d kindly taken me in the first place because I could show them a bank statement with a number of months’ rent in savings, but I’ve slowly burned through that money on moving expenses, lawyer’s fees during the divorce, etc. They’re not going to want to extend the lease without me being able to show the same cushion. And moving is 1. difficult due to the aforementioned issues, despite having a current cash flow, and 2. expensive.

Obviously the best solution would be to get a job this month, but alas, as many people have noticed lately, that’s not that easy to pull off, despite my best efforts. I was planning on just scraping by for as long as my unemployment lasts, and maybe ask to borrow a month’s rent from my grandmother if something major and unexpected happened. (Obviously, if I don’t have a job by the time my last unemployment and/or tax bill extensions end I have a really, really big problem, but let’s leave that for now.) Unfortunately, that plan didn’t account for me moving again in another month and a half. And I’m pretty sure that I don’t have a relative or friend with enough free cash available to lend me a sizable chunk to show off for the landlord.

Mulling it over, I hit google on a whim, and discovered that there are web sites who advertise personal (non-payday) loans for the unemployed. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that they charge usurious amounts of interest, but that could be acceptable to me under the circumstances. But I’m more than a little worried that these are actually scams. I’ve tried just googling the names and URLs, and haven’t gotten anything useful one way or another. Does anyone know anything about these loans in general, and/or any particular company specifically?

Is your unemployment not enough to cover your rent and other bills? I know nothing about New Jersey law but I don’t see how anyone can evict you if your rent is paid on time. When your lease runs out typically you go on a month to month if they refuse to renew a lease. But I don’t see how they can force you to move if you owe them no money. Certainly they are free to raise the rent with whatever the state requires as far as notifying you of that increase. That would be rather cold of them to do though. Your personal finances are really none of their business as long as you aren’t doing something illegal and are paying them on time. So you having to prove your financially sound for the future seems to be something you don’t legally have to prove since you already live there and have always paid your rent. Sounds as if they are asking you to again qualify yourself worthy of a new lease on a place you already qualified yourself for. If that’s the case I would simply say fine I’ll go on a month to month and when you do land a good job give them notice you are moving, take your deposit back and tell the assholes you’ll find other accomodations.

As far as the loan you are speaking of, I don’t see how it could be a scam. If you agree to whatever the finance/interest charges are, where’s the scam? So please explain what “scam” you are afraid they may be running? You can call payday loans a scam but I don’t see how since the terms are laid out for people to see what they are agreeing to. Certainly, it’s a business where they take advantage of those in “need”, but that isn’t technically a scam. It’s just stupid people agreeing to terms not in their best interest. Sort of like idiots that buy things through a rent-to-own program instead of just saving their money to buy the item when they can truly afford it. Just as the loan you are refering to is probably not in your best interest if all your using it for is to impress your landlord (i.e. doesn’t seem like a true emergency). You have 5 months of payments left that you may very well need. What you are considering is as you put it “stupid”. But you already know that.

Well, I’m not exactly living high on the hog, but yes, I’m covering my bills at the moment, and can even afford to get the occasional pizza delivered.

It actually never occurred to me that I could stay if they didn’t want me to after the lease runs out. Is that seriously how it works? Seems like that would be unfair to a landlord that ends up with a crap tenant that pays the rent on time but causes other problems, or if they decide they don’t want to be a landlord anymore.

They’re not really assholes, by the way. It’s not easy to find a place that will rent to an unemployed person with pets, much less at a reasonable rate. And they’ve been burned bad by a previous nightmare tenant that they’re still having legal issues with, so they’re nervous about everything. But they worked with me. I don’t particularly want to be an asshole to them if I can avoid it without causing myself a major disaster.

Yes, typically when a lease runs out a tenant or landlord has the option to go on a month to month rent agreement. Not paying rent is only one reason a person can be evicted. The other things you mentioned can also be grounds for eviction such as a “crap tenant” which I’m assuming to mean a variety of different things. Noisy, dirty etc. If the tenant fights it then the landlord has to prove his case in court. But just the fact that you are unemployed is not sufficient grounds in any state I know of as long as the rent is being paid and you are not a “crap tenant”. It may be sufficient to not grant a new lease of 6 months or so, but it does’nt prevent you from going on a month to month. Check with the tenants group/society in your area for specific laws. I’d really think that since you are paying them they wouldn’t want to lose you and take the chance of getting a bad tenant. Now understand that depending on the laws of where you are, a landlord is not obligated to be a landlord except to be bound by the terms of the lease. If they decide to sell the place for instance and your lease overruns to the next owner you should be good up to the date of the lease expiring so long as they give you sufficient notice (usually 30 days) that you have to move. If someone were to tell me to move based on the fact that I was living on unemployment I would most certainly make them evict me and have my day in court. Just keep paying your rent on time. I really hope you think long and hard about cashing in on some high interest loan just to impress your landlord with a bigger balance in your checking account. Good luck in your job hunt. I hope things work out for you. I know this must be very stressful. I thank God for the friends I have helping me out right now or I’d be in very dire straits myself. Have you checked with any temp agencies about work? You won’t neccessarily lose your unemployment benefits if you get some temp work but it may decrease your check by whatever amount you are able to make from it plus it can often lead to full time employment. Just a thought. Hang in there kiddo, you seem like a person with a good heart and good Karma tends to be kind to people like you.

One last thing, try talking to your landlord and assure them that if it gets too close to your benefits running out you won’t force them to evict you and you will leave peacfully.

That’s very useful, thank you!

I’m going to resort to temping pretty soon, I think. I had seriously considered taking the census worker test a couple of months ago, but I did the calculations and realized that a 40 hour week at Trenton’s pay scale would be just a little less than I was receiving already, and decided that time would be better spent on the job hunt than working full time to just make the same amount. Doing that would have extended my benefits though (theoretically, if congress keeps funding it), so I’m sort of regretting that decision now.

I’ll definitely do that.

Risha, I found this online. I haven’t looked at it but maybe it can help you. It’s the website for the New Jersey tenants organization. Sounds like you have a good landlord but just in case things get to where you need advice give it a look! Good luck!

Bookmarked! I’ll take a look. Thanks again for all your help.

In case you’re feeling like you still need an answer to your thread title:


Well, I am still curious in general.

Any particular reason why the yes? Do you know someone who got taken by one?

I have a neighbor who almost got taken by one. Not taken in the “dishonest loan shark” sense, but in the “did he really understand what he was getting himself into?” sense.

But he saw a “Dateline”-type show where the CEO of one of the Payday Loan places admitted that many customers get sucked into taking out additional loans to pay the high interest on the first loan. That was enough for our friend – he saw himself in many of the disgruntled customers who were portrayed as stuck in a frustrating cycle.

I think my original thought process/concerns were more along the lines of “is this someone who is going to take my information online and then steal my identity?” But, yes, that’s definitely the big problem. Payday loans are particularly bad with that, is my understanding, since you’re paying a huge interest rate literally every week.

Digs: Since you have to give the loan place a post dated check with the amount you are to re-pay, how is it possible to not know the terms you are agreeing to? Just because a person is stupid enough to take one of those loans doesn’t neccessarily make the loaner a scammer. I’ve done payday loans before and I knew what I was getting myself in to. It was stupid of me to agree to those terms but it is also my right to be stupid. Just as it is your friends right to be stupid and the merchants right to take advantage of that fact. I value my freedom to make stupid choices and do not welcome Big Brother looking out for me in my day to day stupid activities. Some people are going to take that to mean something other then what it truly means so I’m not going to defend the statement because to me it makes sense and those that truly know what I mean by it will most likely agree with it.

Risha, I hope things are working out for you. Did you find out anything more about going on a month to month lease if your landlord won’t allow you a new term lease? I didn’t think of what you mentioned about someone taking your information online and using it for some sort of fraud. You should definitely be careful about that happening. There seems to be lot of places that will do the kind of loan you are talking about that are “legitimate”. So if you decide to go that route (and I hope you won’t because I can’t see it being very beneficial to you, but as I already stated we’re all free to make the decisions we want) then just deal with places that you know to be real businesses and not some schmoo like me with a website offering to lend you money.