Executive Order Imposes New Requirements for Landlords

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 171, which relates directly to residential evictions in North Carolina and attempts to provide some clarity of the CDC Agency Order issued earlier this fall. This Executive Order is effective October 30, 2020 at 5p.m. through December 31, 2020.

The CDC Agency Order provides for protection from eviction for nonpayment of rent for certain residential tenants. In order to receive protection, the tenant must submit a Declaration under penalty of perjury that the tenant meets certain requirements. See CDC Moratorium on Evictions for a previous blog post containing more information about the CDC Agency Order and requirements of the Declaration.

Since its inception, the CDC Agency Order has created quite a bit of confusion for tenants, landlords, and the court system itself. Governor Cooper’s Executive Order reinforces that the CDC Agency Order applies to all residential tenants in North Carolina who qualify for protection from eviction under the terms of that Order and, further, makes clear that the protections apply to qualifying residential tenants regardless of whether or not the property is federally subsidized. The Executive Order also sets forth new obligations for a landlord in order to ensure that all tenants who qualify are aware of the opportunity to complete a Declaration for protection from eviction.

Under the Executive Order, a landlord is now required to provide the CDC Declaration Form to residential tenants in any action for eviction that is commenced on or after October 30, 2020 through December 31, 2020. The landlord is further required to execute an Affidavit and present it to the court certifying that the landlord has provided the tenant with a blank copy of the Declaration. Only one Declaration per household must be provided to the landlord by the tenant, regardless of how many individuals reside in the unit or signed the lease agreement.

A landlord who receives the tenant’s Declaration must immediately notify the Court, and must submit a copy of the Declaration to the Court within five (5) days of receipt.

If the landlord believes the summary ejectment should proceed despite the filing of the Declaration, the landlord must submit a written response to the Court stating why the action should still proceed. A hearing will be held to determine whether the ejectment should proceed. If the summary ejectment is granted after the hearing, the landlord may move forward with obtaining a Writ of Possession.

If Court granted a landlord’s eviction action prior to October 30, 2020 and the landlord receives a tenant Declaration prior to obtaining a Writ of Possession, the landlord shall take no steps to request the Writ of Possession. However, the landlord may submit a response to the Declaration and a hearing will be held before the Court to determine whether the landlord may move forward.

A violation of this Executive Order may be subject to prosecution pursuant to NCGS 166A-19.30(d) and is punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor.

The Executive Order specifically provides that neither the CDC Agency Order nor the Executive Order relieve any residential tenant from the obligation to pay rent or comply with any other terms of the lease agreement. The Orders do not protect tenants from eviction for reasons such as criminal activity, actions threatening the health or safety of other tenants, or violating building codes or ordinances.

If you have questions about evictions in North Carolina, please contact Law Firm Carolinas to speak with one of our attorneys.

Click here to read the Executive Order: https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO171-Assisting-North-Carolinians-At-Risk-of-Eviction.pdf

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