SOUTHEASTERN, N.C. — After months of being frozen under state orders, many eviction proceedings can now move forward in North Carolina.
The latest ban on evictions for nonpayment expired June 20 and the state has not since extended the freeze. Put in place to protect tenants amid a volatile job market as the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, the eviction ban stalled pending eviction proceedings already underway before mid-March and prevented new filings from being initiated.
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Beginning Tuesday, June 30, a separate order lifts, allowing sheriff’s offices to once again carry out writs of possession — the process that ensures the physical removal of tenants. This happens several steps into the eviction process and would likely immediately involve pending pre-pandemic evictions before new proceedings make their way through the court system.
Evictions in North Carolina were first put on hold by North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley. In a March 15 memo, Beasley informed all local court systems that summary ejectments (evictions) must be postponed.
On May 30, Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 142 put a three-week hold on both residential and commercial evictions for the reason of late or nonpayment. The order applies to the 21-day time period between May 30 and June 20, banning late fees accumulated during the period. If late fees had already piled up, the penalties were required to be paused through the order’s expiration. Tenants shall also be given additional time to pay costs billed during the time frame, with no late fees, for up to a six-month period.
On the same day as the governor’s order, Chief Justice Beasley reported the state court system had accumulated more than 9,000 pending evictions. In the May 30 order, Beasley stayed pending evictions until June 21. Sheriffs will again become responsible for executing writs of possession on Tuesday, June 30.
As of Friday afternoon, neither Cooper nor Beasley not extended their orders or issued new ones addressing the topic.
On March 27, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which does provide continued eviction relief for certain federally-backed loans. The CARES Act moratorium on evictions expires July 25. The ban covers federal mortgages owned or securities by Fannie Mac or Freddie Mac or loans insured by other federal programs.
Foreclosure relief for federally-backed loans expired May 17 through the Act, but the programs each individually extended the foreclosure moratorium until June 30.
The eviction ban on federally-backed securities imposed by the Act expires July 25. An estimated one-third of residential mortgages are not federally-backed, according to the National Consumer Law Center.