Practical Effects of NC Moratorium's End and CDC Moratorium's Continuation

Posted By: Jon Lowder Blog ,

The following update on yesterday's eviction moratorium actions comes from AANC:

STATE MORATORIUM 
In a six-three vote, the North Carolina Council of State rejected Governor Cooper’s proposal to extend the moratorium one additional month in conjunction with the CDC moratorium. The North Carolina eviction moratorium will expire Thursday, July 1.
 
The CDC moratorium is still in effect until July 31, which the CDC stated will be the final extension of the order. An estimated 200,000 North Carolina renters are behind on rent payments. As of June 28, the HOPE Program awarded $66 million to 19,000 households since May 17 and has about $800 million in rental assistance funds remaining. The program reports the average time to process checks is about 14 days. Several counties are also processing rental assistance through local programs and can be found on the HOPE website.
 
Under the CDC Moratorium, renters are protected if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • Received a federal stimulus check in 2020 or 2021
  • Have been financially impacted by COVID-19
  • Earn less than $99,000 or $198,000 for joint filing per year
  • Have used best efforts to obtain rental assistance
  • Eviction would result in homelessness 

With the current expiration of the NC moratorium, if the CDC order is struck down between now and July 31, eviction proceedings will be able to resume.

U.S. SUPREME COURT RULING

While many have closely monitored the legal proceedings regarding the legality of the CDC’s moratorium, yesterday evening, the Supreme Court upheld the CDC eviction moratorium. In a five-four vote to keep the ban in place, the moratorium will stand. In a brief opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh said he agreed with U.S. Judge Friedrich’s ruling, but voted to leave the ban on evictions in place because it’s due to end in a month and “because those few weeks will allow for additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds.”

The practical effects of these events in North Carolina are: 

a) New eviction filings should not have to include a mailing of a blank CDC Declaration, but it is still safest for landlords to provide notice of the CDC program to residents as the CFPB has opined it is a Federal Fair Debt Violation not to do so,
b) new eviction filings should not have to include an Affidavit to attest to the mailing of blank CDCs,
c) participation in a rental assistance program such as HOPE only affects the ability to evict based on the agreements/contracts signed by the parties, so a letter saying a resident applied for assistance should not impair a landlord’s ability to evict, but magistrates may react to this differently and I am sure many landlords will work with residents who have applied for the funds,
d) CDC Declarations should not protect the "whole household" any longer - a lockout can proceed against an "unprotected" tenant even if one of the house members provided a Declaration. It is unclear whether a “partial” eviction would have any positive effect or whether a sheriff would lockout based on a partial eviction in this situation, and

e) there is no longer a structure in NC for challenges to CDC declarations, so it is unclear whether the structure for such CDC challenges will be continued by the courts, or that there will be any uniformity in the courts.