Around the state of North Carolina and the rest of the country, Landlords are wondering what their rights are in cases of their tenants not paying their rent due to financial constraints as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In North Carolina, Governor Cooper along with Chief Justice Beasley of the NC Supreme Court have enacted a judicial order that halts the ability to process evictions in small claims court until June 20, 2020. This means that even if you have eviction paperwork filed, your case is unable to be heard before June 21, 2020.
What this means for Landlords is that you are still able to initiate eviction proceedings by filing a summary ejectment in small claims court in the county in which your property is located, but there will be no decision made, or court hearing held on your case until the judicial order expires on June 21, 2020.
In addition, if your property meets one of the conditions under the CARES Act, you must comply with the regulations passed by the federal government when considering initiating the eviction process. Currently the CARES Act halts evictions for specific properties for 120 days from March 27, 2020, it’s day of enactment. However it does not prohibit action in cases that: (1) were filed prior to the CARES Act taking effect or after the 120 day moratorium; (2) involve non-covered properties; or (3) involve evictions based on reasons other than the non-payment of rent or the non-payment of fees and other charges.
But, this does not mean that your tenants are relieved of the obligation to pay their monthly rent in accordance with the lease agreement. Your tenants are still expected to pay their rent on time and it will continue to accrue.
Hopler, Wilms, & Hanna, PLLC can navigate you through this process in more detail to help you understand what the eviction process may look like in court throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Evictions in small claims court are going to take different shape throughout this time as the court system will be working tirelessly to work through a backlog of summary ejectments.