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What North Carolinians Need to Know About CDC Eviction Moratorium

According to data from the Aspen institute, by the end of 2020 one quarter of rental households in North Carolina could be at risk of eviction. (Adobe Stock)
According to data from the Aspen institute, by the end of 2020 one quarter of rental households in North Carolina could be at risk of eviction. (Adobe Stock)
September 8, 2020

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a nationwide moratorium on evictions from now until the end of the year, but renters aren't automatically protected.

Isaac Sturgill, managing attorney of the Housing Practice Group for Legal Aid of North Carolina, said the moratorium is aimed primarily at helping tenants who have fallen behind on their rent payments due to income loss or medical expenses from the pandemic.

But he added it only protects what the agency calls covered persons.

"And to be a covered person, the tenant has to take some proactive action," Sturgill said. "So, the tenant must sign a sworn affidavit and deliver it to the landlord. That's the mechanism under the order the tenant has to use in order to get the protection under this order."

The CDC said it's taking the action to prevent widespread homelessness that could increase the spread of the coronavirus.

Residents can find a copy of the declaration form on the CDC's website.

Sturgill added the order allows for criminal charges against individuals who lie about their income or financial situation on the affidavit.

He said it remains unclear what protections exist for people staying in temporary housing, adding that many North Carolina families, especially those with poor credit histories, live in hotels or motels and have nowhere else to go.

"So one of the big questions that may come up is, if you're a person living in a hotel in North Carolina, and that is your primary residence and your permanent residence, for all intents and purposes, does this order apply to you?" Sturgill explained.

Sturgill pointed out there are several types of evictions not covered by the moratorium.

"And those are evictions for engaging in criminal activity while on the property, evictions for threatening the health or safety of other residents, damaging or posing an eminent and significant risk of damage to property," Sturgill added.

It's estimated there are currently more than 700,000 North Carolinians at risk for eviction.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - NC