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COVID-19 Information for North Carolina

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 and Local Affiliates

Please remember to use your state or local apartment association as the primary resource for the most up-to-date information on your responsibilities. Find your local affiliate.

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.

Reopening Order

North Carolina is currently under Phase 3 of its reopening plans. Under Phase 3, public and private gatherings remain limited to no more than 25 people indoors. 

Face Mask Mandate

Governor Cooper expanded the state’s emergency plan by adding a face covering requirement for any person over the age of 2 in a public place. 

State of Emergency

Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on March 10, 2020. 

Eviction

Status: Eviction Cases Can Resume

Executive Order No. 171

  • Action: Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 171 on October 29, 2020, which will become effective at 5pm on Friday, October 30, 2020.
  • Description: The order clarifies and amends the implementation of the CDC Eviction Moratorium Order as follows:
    • In an action commenced on or after 5pm on October, 30, prior to filing for a summary ejectment action the landlord must execute an affidavit and present it to the court certifying that the landlord has provided the residential tenant with a blank copy of the CDC Declaration form.
    • Only 1 declaration is required per home, despite the requirement in the CDC Order.
    • The Executive Order only prevents evictions for nonpayment or late payment if a CDC Declaration is received and not successfully challenged.
    • In the event the landlord believes the action should still proceed despite the filing of the Declaration, the landlord shall submit to the court a response to the Declaration identifying in writing why the landlord believes the action should still proceed despite the protections of the CDC Order. For example, the landlord may respond by indicating that the eviction is for a reason other than nonpayment or late payment of rent. A hearing to determine whether the action should proceed shall be held according to the timeline for hearings for eviction proceedings, or as otherwise established by the court.
    • Upon receiving a Declaration, the landlord shall take no actions to request a writ of possession, and the landlord is not entitled to the writ, but the landlord may submit a response to the Declaration and request a hearing as provided in Section 4 of this summary.
    • If a court determines that the eviction should proceed under Section 4 of this summary, and ultimately enters a judgment against the tenant, nothing in this Executive Order prohibits a landlord from requesting a writ of possession, and the landlord shall be legally entitled to a writ of possession in those circumstances.
    • In actions pending on or commenced after the date of the Executive Order, a landlord who has been provided with a tenant's Declaration pursuant to the CDC Order shall immediately notify the court that such Declaration has been received and shall submit a copy of the Declaration to the court within five (5) days of receipt.
    • The protections from eviction of this Executive Order shall extend to those residential tenants who have applied for the HOPE program and have been notified that they have met the eligibility criteria for participation in the NC HOPE rental assistance program, even if those residential tenants would not qualify for protection from eviction under the CDC Order. Once the landlord has executed the HOPE Landlord-Tenant Agreement, the tenant shall be protected from eviction under the terms of that Agreement, and not under this Executive Order.
  • Duration: October 30, 2020 – December 31, 2020.

Executive Order (Expired)

  • Action: On March 31, 2020, Governor Cooper implemented a statewide eviction moratorium through June 21, 2020.
  • Scope: Nonpayment of rent.

Court Order (Expired)

  • Action: The Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court has stayed all pending eviction cases, whether for summary ejectment or otherwise. Sheriffs are not required to execute pending writs of possession until June 30.
  • COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: No.
  • Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced that applications are now being accepted for the N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program, which will assist eligible low-and-moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus.

The new program seeks to promote housing stability during the ongoing pandemic by providing rent and utility assistance to prevent evictions and utility disconnections. The HOPE Program will provide $117 million for rent and utility assistance for renters who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, have a current household income that is 80% of the area median income or lower and are behind on their rent or utilities when they apply.

Renters who need rent or utility assistance can click here to apply online.

Applicants who cannot access the online application can also call 211 and speak with a program representative -- who will assist the caller through the application on the phone. Callers can reach 211 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The HOPE Program is funded by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant−Coronavirus funds and U.S. Department of Treasury Coronavirus Relief funds, which have been provided to North Carolina. The funds are administered by the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, a division of the Department of Public Safety, and will be distributed through community partner agencies across the state.

Renters can apply for utility assistance, rent assistance or both programs. Rent assistance is paid to the housing provider on behalf of the applicant. This includes overdue and future rent payments, for up to six months. At least one month’s rent must be overdue at the time of application. Utility payments will be made directly to the utility provider for up to six months of past due essential utilities, such as electricity, water, sewer/wastewater, natural gas and propane.

Rent Freeze

No rent freeze is in effect at the state or local level. Local rent regulation is preempted by North Carolina Code - General Statutes § 42-14.1. Rent control.

Price-Gouging Law

Under North Carolina Code § 75.38, it is unlawful to charge a price that is unreasonably excessive for a variety of goods and services during a state of emergency. Although rental housing is not specifically identified, goods and services that preserve, protect, or sustain life, health, safety, or economic well-being may be broadly interpreted to encapsulate housing.  Excessive pricing shall be determined by whether the price charged is attributable to additional costs imposed by the seller’s supplier, the price charged exceeds the seller’s average price in the 60 days prior to the declaration, and any fluctuations occurring in the regional, national, or international market. This statutory language shall hold till the expiration of the declaration of emergency or 45 days after the declaration, whichever is earlier.  

Business Liability Protections

On Thursday, July 2, 2020, Gov. Cooper established protections for businesses against civil liability. Under the rules, businesses are protected against civil liability claims resulting from customer or employee exposure to COVID-19 while on premises if the business follows applicable federal, state, and local safety guidelines. 

Local Legal and Regulatory Information

Concord

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The CARES Act allocated supplemental Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding of $400,339 to the City of Concord for grants to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. Of that amount, $18,500 has been allocated to Prosperity Unlimited, Inc. to provide mortgage and financial assistance to residents of the community. To learn more, please visit the city’s website.  

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Catawba County

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Families or individuals experiencing a financial hardship with paying their mortgage, rent, utilities or other expense due to the COVID-19 pandemic may apply for financial assistance through the COVID-19 Relief Program. Applications will be available through Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry (ECCCM) beginning July 1, 2020.

To be eligible for assistance, applicants must have experienced one or more of the following hardships resulting from COVID-19: job loss, wage reduction, illness, other household impact, childcare challenges, or unable to find employment if working prior to February 29, 2020. Applicants must be residents of Catawba County.

When applying, residents will be required to provide identification (such as a driver’s license), income verification for the past 30 days, verification of job loss or income loss, benefit award letters, alimony/child support letters, Section 8 verification, current bill(s), bank statements (checking and savings), and mortgage or rent documents.

Starting July 1, residents may apply online at https://www.ecccm.org/covid or in person at ECCCM, which is located at 245 East N Street in Newton. No appointment is required. For more information about the program, call ECCCM at (828) 465-1702.

Funding for the COVID-19 Relief Program is provided by a Community Services Block Grant from the North Carolina Office of Economic Opportunity. A one-time allocation of $312,316 was awarded to Catawba County Social Services, the county’s designated Community Action Agency, for the establishment of an emergency COVID-19 relief program. The program is administered by Social Services in partnership with ECCCM.

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Gaston County

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Gaston County is providing a one-time payment to assist qualifying families who were financially impacted due to a loss of income during the COVID-19 crisis. Interested persons can call (704) 862-7901. Leave your name and a phone number where you can be reached. Within 48 hours a caseworker will call and conduct a phone interview.

Additionally, Gaston Community Action is providing rental assistance to individuals in need. Qualifying households must have one working family member in the household. Requirements also include three-month income verification from date of application, employment verification, social security card, and a picture ID. To apply, call 704-748-9744 and leave your name and number. A return call will be made within 48 hours.  

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Greenville County

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The United Way of Greenville County has partnered with the city of Greenville, Greenville County Redevelopment Authority, Greenville Housing Fund, SHARE and United Housing Connections to launch the Emergency Housing Assistance Fund. The organizations have collectively pledged more than $450,000 to support the fund. This fund will also receive $150,000 from the United Way of Greenville County’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund and could potentially leverage another $7 million in federal housing funds for Greenville County.

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Iredell County

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Iredell County is providing emergency assistance to persons who are in need of help that would benefit a child. Types of assistance include:

  • Rent/eviction;
  • Shelter; and
  • Utilities.

Cash payment made by vendor payment.

Eligibility includes:

  • Be in a crisis situation;
  • Have at least once child under 18 in the home;
  • Meet income and reserve requirements; and
  • Must be Iredell County resident.

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Mecklenburg County

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are proud to partner with The Housing Partnership to provide rent and mortgage relief to those who have been impacted by COVID19.

If your resident is experiencing a financial hardship and cannot pay rent due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus Pandemic) the Emergency Rent Assistance Program for the City of Charlotte (ERAP-CLT) may be able to assist. 

By completing the Property Manager Application, residents will become eligible to apply to receive emergency funds to cover their out of pocket cost for rent.

ERAP-CLT is a partnership between the City of Charlotte and The Housing Partnership. ERAP-CLT is open to tenants that meet the requirements below. An ERAP-CLT representative will work with each tenant 1-on-1 to determine eligibility, provide budget counseling and provide access to additional community resources.

Tenant Eligibility Requirements include: 

  • A tenant of the approved property;
  • Must be income qualified to meet the 80% AMI and below threshold; 
  • Must have a COVID related hardship as follows: 
    • Job loss as a result of COVID-19;
    • Wage Reduction as a result of COVID-19;
    • Illness as a result of COVID-19; or
    • Childcare challenges as a result of COVID-19.

Once the property application is completed, you will be contacted by a representative from the ERAP team. If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].

Additionally, the city of Charlotte created the Deposit Assistance Program, which provides assistance to Charlotte’s residents who have found rental housing, but have been adversely impacted by Covid-19 and need help covering the first month’s rent, security deposit, and/or utility deposit.

The Deposit Assistance Program is a partnership between the City of Charlotte and Socialserve. Charlotte residents that meet the requirements below can access assistance to move into permanent rental housing. Once an application is submitted, a Socialserve representative will work with each applicant 1-on-1 to determine eligibility.

Applicants must be:

  • A current resident of the City of Charlotte; and
  • Have sufficient income or an ongoing subsidy to pay rent for the housing unit sought; and
  • Have total income at or below 80% of the Area Median; and
  • Have been adversely impacted by Covid-19; and
  • Have or be able to obtain an approval letter from a rental property.

To apply, please click here.

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Orange County

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) created the pilot Risk Mitigation and Housing Displacement Fund in an effort to: (1) encourage landlord participation in Orange County rental assistance and other subsidy programs, (2) assist with housing stabilization and mitigate displacement of low- and very low-income residents, and (3) prevent homelessness. The Fund, which is administered by the Orange County Department of Housing and Community Development Department (OCHCD) with financial contributions from the Towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill, and Hillsborough, provides assistance in three activity areas:

  • Risk Mitigation (for landlords)
  • Emergency Housing Assistance (renter assistance for security deposits, utility connections, etc.)
  • Displacement Mitigation (due to an urgent community need such as manufactured home park closures and natural disasters)

To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit the Orange County website.

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Union County

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Union County has listed qualified rental assistance programs on their website that includes non-profit organizations that provide emergency cash for tenants as well as government agencies providing long-term rental subsidies.

Many programs also provide other services such as utility payment assistance, water payment assistance, electric payment assistance, holiday assistance, medical bill pay assistance, food assistance, etc.  

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