RALEIGH (June 29, 2021) – Gov. Cooper should extend Executive Order 171, “Assisting North Carolinians at Risk of Eviction,” through at least July 31, 2021. Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended its eviction moratorium through July 2021. The CDC order provides protection for tenants who are behind in rent and facing eviction because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Cooper’s EO 171 clarifies the CDC Order and helps with its implementation in North Carolina and should be extended. The time is now to make every effort to avoid evictions of families who have struggled for over a year during the pandemic.

EO 171 mandates common-sense practices that support the application of the CDC moratorium order; these practices need to continue in order for tenants and landlords to fully recover from the financial hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, EO 171 requires that landlords, when filing an eviction action, should provide a blank CDC declaration form to tenants, and immediately tell the court if a tenant has provided the landlord a signed CDC declaration. In addition, the order sets forth procedures once a tenant provides the CDC declaration to a landlord or the court and protects tenants who receive assistance with back rent from the NC Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Eviction (HOPE) program from eviction.

There are significant resources available from the federal government to assist tenants with their past-due rent. That, in turn, will help landlords who have also been suffering because of their tenants’ inability to pay rent. The HOPE program can resolve evictions and needs time to work. There needs to be a concerted and coordinated effort throughout state and local governments and the court system to cover rent arrearages and make landlords whole in order to avoid mass evictions.

According to the most recent U.S. Census Household Pulse survey results, more than 167,000 households in North Carolina say they have no confidence they can make next month’s rent while 244,000 say they have slight confidence they can. More than 328,000 households say they are behind in rent.

North Carolina needs “all hands on deck” as it works to tackle the eviction crisis. With the protection of EO 171 in place, the state can continue its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.