Governor Cooper and Justice Beasley signed Orders over the weekend which place an additional 21 day moratorium on residential and commercial evictions, effective May 30, 2020. While tenants are still encouraged to timely pay rent as it becomes due, the Orders place restrictions on the steps that landlords may take to remove a tenant from the property, at least from May 30, 2020 through June 20, 2020 (the “Effective Period”). Below is an overview of the Orders as they apply to residential and commercial property.
-All evictions pending in the trial divisions, whether summary ejectment or otherwise, are stayed until June 21, 2020. Sheriffs are not required to execute pending writs of possession of real property or make due return of such writs until June 30, 2020.
-Landlords shall not, for reason of late payment or nonpayment, initiate or take any action to further summary ejectment or other eviction proceedings against a Residential Tenant.
-Residential Tenants are still obligated to pay rent, but interest, late fees and penalties are waived.
-Existing leases are temporarily modified to disallow evicting or otherwise terminating the possession of residential tenants for late payment or nonpayment of rent during the effective period.
-Residential Tenants shall be provided the opportunity to make reasonable payment arrangements to pay off, over at least a 6 month period, any rent that became due in the Effective Period and was not paid during the Effective Period, with no interest, late fees or penalties being assessed. The payoff period is calculated from the expiration of the Effective Period.
-In all summary ejectment proceedings filed on or after March 27, 2020, no writ of possession for real property shall issue unless a finding is made that the property which is subject to the complaint is not a covered property as defined by Section 4024(a)(1) of the CARES Act. The Court will have a form affidavit to be completed by a plaintiff in any such action. If the eviction action was filed between March 27, 2020 and June 1, 2020, the affidavit must be completed and submitted before final judgment by a magistrate is entered. For any summary ejectment action instituted on or after June 1, 2020, the affidavit must accompany the filing of the complaint and must be served on the defendant with the summons and complaint.
-Landlords shall not, for reason of late payment or nonpayment, initiate or take any action to further summary ejectment or other eviction proceedings against a Commercial Tenant for reason caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, perform self-help eviction of a Commercial Tenant, require Commercial Tenants to vacate their facilities, terminate any Commercial Tenant’s lease, or take any action, judicial or otherwise, to terminate a Commercial Tenant’s possession.
-The restrictions apply to Commercial Tenants only if one or both of these conditions are met:
- The landlord is aware that the Commercial Tenant’s late payment or nonpayment is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic;
- The Commercial Tenant provides the landlord with documentation or other evidence that the late payment or nonpayment is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
-Before performing self-help eviction of a Commercial Tenant, terminating any Commercial Tenant’s lease, or taking any action to terminate a Commercial Tenant’s possession for reason of late payment or nonpayment, the landlord shall inquire whether the late payment or nonpayment is caused by the pandemic and must give the Commercial Tenant 72 hours to respond. If the landlord does not comply with the inquiry requirement, the landlord’s action is voidable by the tenant.
-Commercial Tenants also must be provided the opportunity to make reasonable payment arrangements to pay off, over at least 6 months, any rent that became due during the Effective Period and was not paid during the Effective Period. The payoff period is calculated from the expiration of the Effective Period.
Click here to read the Governor’s Executive Order in its entirety: https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO142-Temp-Prohibitions-on-Evictions-and-Extending-Prohibition-on-Utility-Shut-Offs.pdf
Click here to read Justice Beasley’s Order in its entirety: https://www.nccourts.gov/assets/news-uploads/30%20May%202020%207A-39%28b%29%282%29%20Order.pdf?v6tK3XJVqgOY0Ps80nAcS6s5ghD2XLeU