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NC Moratorium On Evictions Expires Soon, Putting Strain On Some Tenants

an eviction notice on a front door
Steve Rhodes
Creative Commons/

A statewide moratorium on evictions in North Carolina expires this Sunday, unless Governor Roy Cooper extends it.

Eviction proceedings were suspended at the end of March. But as some tenants discovered, that didn't stop their landlords from trying to evict them anyway.

Some landlords are sending fake eviction notices, or calling tenants to tell them they must leave. That's illegal, but tenant advocates say they are seeing it more often.

"You know, we used to see maybe one or two of those cases a month in my office, and now we are getting them every single day,” said Peter Gilbert, a supervising attorney for Legal Aid of North Carolina.

Gilbert says he wants to work with landlords to come to a resolution, like a payment plan for back rent or even a new lease. That way, tenants will be less likely to face an official eviction proceeding when the moratorium is lifted.

The economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has particularly put a strain on low-income tenants. 

While Gilbert says he has seen landlords try to evict residents in recent weeks anyway, he's also seen landlords open to working with tenants.

Because of the slower economy, some landlords know it could be hard to find new tenants, so they'd rather work out a plan to keep existing renters in place.

"We've found that we've had more room to negotiate with landlords now,” Gilbert said. “So we're having good luck with negotiating and settling these cases"

Jason deBruyn is the WUNC health reporter, a beat he took in 2020. He has been in the WUNC newsroom since 2016.
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