RALEIGH — Governor Roy Cooper announced on Dec. 23 that he plans to extend the state’s evictions moratorium on residential evictions for non-payment of rent through at least January 31, 2021.

“This holiday season, too many families are struggling to pay rent as the pandemic surges,” said Governor Cooper. “As the first of the month approaches and rent becomes due, I wanted people to know that we plan to extend the moratorium on evictions.”

The details and language of the moratorium are forthcoming and will be based on how or whether Congress extends the federal moratorium.

The order, enacted earlier this year, is a continuation of the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) temporary residential eviction moratorium into effect nationwide from through December 31, 2020. The CDC order protects residential tenants from eviction for nonpayment of rent. However, confusion over who this order protects has caused inconsistent enforcement and unwarranted evictions in some parts of the state.

Executive Order No. 171 requires landlords to make residential tenants aware of their rights under the CDC Order. For eviction actions commencing after Executive Order No. 171, landlords must give residents the option to fill out a declaration form before starting any eviction action.

The Order also sets forth procedures to ensure protection for residential tenants once they provide the required declaration form to the court or to the landlord.

Executive Order No. 171 also clarifies the CDC moratorium so that it clearly applies to all North Carolinians who meet the CDC’s eligibility criteria, regardless of whether they live in federally-subsidized properties. The Order ensures that recipients of the N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program are still able to qualify and that these renter protections will apply to North Carolinians regardless of the CDC Order’s status in other courts.

The Duplin Times can be reached at duplinnews@ncweeklies.com or 910-296-0239.