RALEIGH, N.C. — Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order strengthening eviction protections to help keep North Carolina renters in their homes amid the pandemic, according to a news release.
Gov. Cooper says he issued the order, Executive Order 171, on October 28th as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the state and many people continue to work from home, and learn remotely.
“Many families are trying to do the right thing, but this virus has made it difficult. Roughly three to 400,000 households across North Carolina are currently unable to pay rent. Therefore, today, I have signed a new Executive Order to prevent evictions in North Carolina for people who can’t afford the rent,” said Governor Cooper. “The result during this global pandemic will be more North Carolinians staying in their homes, more landlords getting paid rent, and fewer utility companies shutting off power.”
This new order adds to the existing 2-week-old NC HOPE initiative, which helps pay landlords and utilities directly to keep North Carolinians in their homes, according to a news release.
Gov. Cooper says this order comes after the pandemic has left thousands of families struggling to pay their bills.
The CDC put a temporary, nationwide ban on evictions from September 4th through December 31st, 2020, but confusion over who this protects has led to some unwarranted evictions in parts of North Carolina, according to a news release.
Gov. Cooper says Executive Order 171 will require landlords to make tenants aware of their rights under the CDC order, and from now on, landlords must give residents the option to fill out a declaration form before any eviction action is taken.
The order also clarifies the existing CDC order so that it applies to all residents who meets the eligibility criteria, regardless of whether they live in federally-subsidized properties, according to a news release.
Since Gov. Cooper launched the $117 million NC HOPE initiative two weeks ago, over 22,800 eligible applicants have applied. Due to the high demand of those needing financial assistance at this time, Gov. Cooper says the state will continue to boost the program to help residents make ends meet.
“The HOPE program is going a long way to help families stay safe in their homes by using coronavirus funds responsibly to pay landlord and utilities directly,” said Governor Cooper. “My administration is continuing to find ways to help struggling renters, but we still need Washington to put partisanship aside and send more relief to North Carolina.”
Gov. Cooper says residents can apply for the NC HOPE intiative by clicking here or calling 2-1-1.
North Carolina is also funding the Back@Home program which will provide financial relief to some landlords and tenants at risk of homelessness, according to a news release.