Changes in Tenant Rights Due to Pandemic Influences
We are living in unprecedented times. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced people all over the world to re-evaluate how they go about their daily lives. In light of this, there have been some changes in tenant rights due to pandemic influences.
It’s noteworthy that these changes are temporary and open to amendments until things can normalize. In the meantime, here are answers to some of the more common concerns.
Can My Landlord Evict Me Through Means Other Than Court Action?
You cannot face eviction during this pandemic in North Carolina through an eviction letter, police action, cutting off your electricity supply or by having your locks changed. The only action your landlord can take at this time is taking you to court.
Are you still In Debt over Arrears?
While you can not be evicted at this time, you will still be obligated to pay what you owe your landlord.
For arrears that you accrued between May 30 and June 30, your landlord is required by law to give you a six-month repayment period. They also can not charge you late payment fees and other penalties during this duration.
However, it’s advisable to immediately talk to your landlord and come up with a repayment agreement to settle what you owe. If you attempt to make partial payments during this time, you will have less debt to contend with once life normalizes. This will be beneficial to both you and your family.
Will I be Charged Late Fees for Making Rent Payments Late?
This depends on when you missed payments.
If the arrears accrued between May 30 and June 20, your landlord is prohibited from charging late fees.
However, you will still be obligated to pay late fees charged for late payments that came about before this period. Similarly, your landlord can advise on whether they will charge you late fees if you fall behind on payments after the period described above.
Will I be evicted if I live in Public Housing or Receive Government Housing Assistance?
Federally subsidized housing has a moratorium on evictions from non-payment under the CARES Act. This means that tenants cannot be evicted until after July 24 2020 for reasons of non-payment.
However, your landlord can still evict you for other reasons.
Can My Landlord or Utility Company Charge me Late Fees on Utility Bills?
There is a Governor’s order that prohibits electricity, water and gas companies from charging late fees on utility payments during this time. This order is in effect until July 29 2020.
There is also a similar order in place, for the same duration that prohibits your utility service providers from disconnecting your gas and electricity over non-payment.
Do I Have to Pay My Utilities?
Much like your rent, your accrued utility bills, you will still have to settle accumulated utility bills once the pandemic is over. In the meantime, utility bill companies are required to give you a six-month repayment plan. Again, try and make partial payments whenever you can to keep your financial burden under control.
Can my Intent and Phone Service be interrupted?
Your phone service and internet are not considered essential to survival and are exempt from Governor’s orders.
However, you can talk to your service providers and see if they are willing to extend a payment plan and partial payments. Some internet providers are providing free intent to homes with school-going children to ensure educational continuity. Speak to your provider as well to find out if they have this provision.
Do You Have More Questions?
At SLT properties, we understand you might be going through a lot of anxiety during this period.
We have, therefore, endeavored to help you with any questions you might have. Feel free to contact us with your queries.