COVID-19 Information for Montana
The purpose of this page is to provide apartment industry professionals with an overview of the issues affecting our industry with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The page is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. This resource is not intended to provide a mandatory standard of care for the industry.
State Legal and Regulatory Information
We highly suggest you contact a local attorney before you decide to initiate an eviction action against a resident in the current environment as overlaying federal, state and county laws or restrictions on the judicial process may apply. This includes: issuing a notice to vacate, initiating any eviction-related action, or assessing fees or penalties on residents for nonpayment of rent or other lease violations. In addition to the below, you can access NAA's statutory information on late fees, eviction laws and other policy issues.
Montana is currently in Phase 2 of the Reopening the Big Sky plan. Under Phase 2 allows groups larger than 50 (with proper social distancing) to congregate.
Face Mask Mandate
Governor Bullock issued a directive requiring face masks in certain indoor spaces and for certain organized outdoor activities in counties currently experiencing four or more active cases of COVID-19. This order will remain in effect until rescinded.
State of Emergency
Governor Steve Bullock declared a state of emergency on March 12, 2020.
Status: COVID-19 Evictions Prohibited for Individuals Sheltering in Place
- Action: Prohibits evictions of members of a vulnerable population suffering significant financial hardship due to COVID-19, and who, pursuant to the EO, remain sheltered at home.
- Duration: Protections expire on a case by case basis 30 days after the individual ceases to shelter at home or the end of the emergency, whichever is sooner.
- COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: An individual who seeks the protection of these provisions to prevent a foreclosure, eviction, or disconnection after June 1 must make a basic showing to their bank, landlord, or utility that they are (1) sheltering in place under this order, are (2) a member of a vulnerable population, and (3) have been financially impacted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Notice Requirement: Before moving forward with an eviction, foreclosure, or disconnection against an individual who is a member of a vulnerable population, the entity initiating the eviction, foreclosure, or disconnection must provide adequate notice of the opportunity to seek the protection of this Directive by making the showing described above.
- Additional Commentary: The rent and mortgage assistance program established in the April 13 Directive remains in effect for the duration of the emergency. Interested individuals may apply at covidrelief.mt.gov. See NAA’s Rental Assistance Report for more information.
Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance
Gov. Steve Bullock created a program to provide rental assistance to households experiencing substantial financial hardship due to COVID-19. The program will also include relief funds designated specifically for households with children eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
Montana Housing’s Emergency Housing Assistance program provides rent, security deposit, mortgage payment, and/ or hazard insurance assistance as-needed for Montanans who have lost a job or substantial income loss as a result of COVID-19.
Initial payments may include up to three months assistance where the eligible household can demonstrate arrears for April and May, with continual inability to make their June payment. Montana Housing will pay the difference between 30 percent of the household’s current gross monthly income and their eligible housing assistance costs, up to $2,000 a month. Household income limits range from $75,000-$125,000 based on family size. Montanans receiving other forms of housing assistance are not eligible.
Total funding available is currently $50 million. The program is funded through Montana’s allocation of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
No rent freeze in effect at the state or local level. There is no statute preempting local rent regulation.
Montana does not have statutory language regulating price gouging during declarations of emergency.
Local Legal and Regulatory Information
Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance
The Whitefish Housing Authority, in conjunction with the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce and the Whitefish Community Foundation, have established an Emergency Rental Assistance Fund for renters unable to make rent payments due to COVID-19 related impacts.
All Whitefish residents are eligible to apply for up to $300 in assistance.