Housing

UPDATED as of May 31, 2020. Information provided by NC Justice Center

Can I be evicted right now for not paying my rent?

No. New rules are in place to keep you from being evicted for non-payment of rent until June 20, 2020. If you already had an eviction case pending in the court as of May 30, 2020, a new court order says that nothing can happen in your case until June 21, 2020 or after. If you were supposed to have an eviction court hearing before June 21, you should call the court before your court date to make sure it is cancelled. If you receive an eviction notice in upcoming weeks, contact Pisgah Legal Services at 828-253-0406 or apply online at www.pisgahlegal.org.

Can my landlord evict me in some other way besides taking me to court?

No. Your landlord cannot evict you by: sending you a letter, telling you to leave, changing the locks, calling the police, cutting the electricity, or any other method. This includes tenants who live in hotels. Your landlord can only evict you by taking you to court. Right now, eviction cases based on non-payment of rent are not allowed before June 20, 2020.

Do I still owe rent?

Yes. You are still obligated to pay rent to your landlord. You just can’t be evicted right now if you can’t pay. You should speak with your landlord and see if they can provide you any flexibility during this time. NOTE that for rent owed between May 30 and June 20, 2020, your landlord is required to give you a six-month payment plan to pay it off, and cannot charge late fees for rent owed during that period.

Can my landlord charge me a late fee if I don’t pay my rent on time right now?

It depends. Under a new order from the governor, the landlord cannot charge late fees for rent owed between May 30, 2020 and June 20, 2020. However, the landlord can charge late fees for rent that was paid late in earlier months. You should talk to your landlord to see if they will waive any late fees.

What if I live in public housing or receive government housing assistance?

If you live in public housing, have a Section 8 voucher, or receive any other rent assistance from the federal government, there is a new law stopping all evictions until July 24, 2020. This law may also protect you if your landlord has a certain type of mortgage. Please speak with a legal services organization to see if this law might apply to you. The courts will also require all landlords to state whether this law applies to them in upcoming eviction cases. If your income has gone down, you should talk to your landlord.

Will my electric, gas or water be shut off if I can’t pay?

No. The governor has issued an order that water, gas, and electric utilities CANNOT be shut off during the time of the coronavirus crisis. This order has recently been extended through July 29, 2020.

Can my utility company or my landlord charge me a late fee if I do not pay my utilities?

No. The governor’s order says that water, gas, and electric providers CANNOT charge you a late fee if you do not pay your utilities during this coronavirus crisis. This rule is effective through July 29, 2020.

Do I still have to pay my water, electric, and gas bills?

Yes. You are still responsible for paying the bill, they just cannot shut off the utility if you cannot pay. You should talk to the utility company or your landlord. They have to offer you a six-month payment plan to pay back what you owe.

What about telephone or internet bills?

The governor’s order doesn’t cover these types of bills and service can be terminated for non-payment. However, you should still contact the utility provider and see if they will work with you. Some internet providers are providing free internet to families with children or college students in the home.

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