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State Eviction Protections End While National Moratorium Continues

Pamela Atwood, Director of Housing Policy

Tuesday, the Council of State voted not to extend the statewide eviction protections implemented by Governor Roy Cooper through a series of executive orders since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The executive orders (most recently EO # 171) affirm that the national eviction order should be adhered to and that landlords must inform tenants of the protections they may be eligible for under the CDC order, and offer a copy of the declaration form tenants can use to invoke coverage. Additionally, if the landlord has received a tenant declaration and had no question of the tenant’s eligibility, they were required to follow the order. For tenants who applied, were eligible, and were awaiting the disbursement of their assistance funds, landlords were explicitly prohibited from filing for evictions. EO #171 is set to expire on June 30. 

While these protections have not been universally followed across the state from court to court, they were able to assist thousands of households from being evicted. Governor Cooper submitted a request to the Council of State seeking to extend EO #171’s duration to run alongside with the national CDC eviction moratorium extension to July 31. 

Instead of continuing the protections and preventing thousands of households at-risk for eviction, the Council of State denied Governor Cooper’s request. With the CDC order still in place for another month, the move by the Council of State adds confusion over the status of evictions, while placing thousands of North Carolinians in harm’s way without clear protection from at the state level. The HOPE Program continues to take applications and process assistance payments, however, the denial from the Council of State adds unnecessary strain to the process by making it less clear that tenants awaiting assistance should be allowed to stay in place.

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