The surprise sweeping move by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to place a national moratorium on evictions was a welcome action for many tenants who are struggling financially. But the process is not automatic.

The order, which begins September 4 and runs through December 31, halts evictions for reasons of non-payment only. It was done under the CDC's authority to help in protecting against the spread of the coronavirus. 

It covers any leased residential property but does not include hotels or temporary housing situations. The measure should take effect for those currently in any stage of the eviction process as well. For example, any scheduled lockouts should be canceled.

But to be eligible, tenants must meet four criteria: have an income of less than $99,000, be unable to pay rent due to job loss or medical expenses, would become homeless if evicted, and will make partial payments as able.

Renters must also sign a sworn affidavit confirming the criteria applies to them, under penalty of perjury.

Isaac SturgilI is the head of Legal Aid of North Carolina's Housing Practice Group. He says it's important that people know it's the tenant's responsibility. 

“And once they sign that affidavit, they have to deliver it to their landlord,” says Sturgill. “Once that happens, that's when the protections are triggered, and at that point, under this order, it is illegal for the eviction to proceed.” 

Sturgill also points out that the relief is a temporary solution, and unless further action is taken, tenants will be on the hook for any past rent come January 1.

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you're experiencing

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