The order (pdf) comes amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic that has left thousands out of work. Cooper, a Democrat, said some 300,000-400,000 households in the state are currently unable to pay their rent and are at risk of eviction.
It aims to clarify an existing residential eviction moratorium outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that makes it a requirement for landlords to inform tenants of the CDC protections available to them, and how to claim them.
The order notes that the CDC moratorium applies to all eligible residents, regardless of whether they live on federally subsidized housing.
The new order will remain in effect for the rest of the year.
“Many families are trying to do the right thing,” Cooper told reporters at a press briefing. “They’re having to make tough choices, but this virus has made it difficult.”
According to a report prepared for the National Council of State Housing Agencies, an estimated 240,000 eviction filings could be submitted by January 2021. Together, landlords face a rental shortfall ranging from $632 million to $824 million.
“The result during this global pandemic will be more North Carolinians staying in their homes, more landlords getting paid rent and fewer utility companies shutting off of power,” Cooper said.
Recipients of the state’s HOPE initiative, launched two weeks ago, are also eligible to qualify for the protections, Cooper said.
Under North Carolina’s HOPE program, tenants who receive 80 percent or less of the median income of a county can receive up to six months back rent and utility payments, which is paid directly to utility providers and landlords.
That program received more than 23,000 applications since its launch, Cooper said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.