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Politics
Coronavirus news and updates about the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Gov. Cooper Expands Protections For Renters Facing Eviction

cooper.jpg
NC Department of Public Safety

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order Wednesday expanding protections for people who cannot pay rent because of lost income or high medical bills.

The order is meant to supplement a nationwide ban on evictions from Sept. 4 through Dec. 31, which protects renters from getting evicted only if they meet certain eligibility requirements and only if they sign and deliver a declaration form to their landlords.

Under Cooper's executive order, North Carolina landlords will now be required to provide a blank declaration form to tenants before taking any eviction action, eliminating the possibility that renters might be evicted despite qualifying for protections.

In order to qualify, tenants must still meet five requirements set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • The tenants must have attempted to obtain government assistance for rent or housing.
  • The tenants don't expect to make more than $99,000 in 2020 (or more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return).
  • Tenants are unable to pay rent because of lost income or extraordinary medical bills.
  • The tenants have attempted to make timely partial rent payments.
  • Eviction would likely force the tenants to become homeless or move into a crowded shelter or other shared living situation.

At a Wednesday news briefing, Cooper said North Carolina will continue to provide up to six months of rent and utility assistance to qualifying renters who apply through North Carolina's Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program.

"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 the power," Cooper said.

A recent report from the National Council of State Housing Agencies estimated that between 300,000 and 410,000 households in North Carolina are currently unable to pay rent, and an estimated 240,000 eviction filings will be submitted by January 2021.

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