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The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact Pisgah Legal Services or a private attorney if you need to speak with an attorney regarding your specific situation. You can apply online for Pisgah Legal at www.pisgahlegal.org/free-legal-assistance or call 1-800-489-6144.

Can rent be deferred during the Covid-19 pandemic?

No. At this time, landlords can still require that rent be paid each month, even if you have had to stop working because of business closures or shelter in place orders. There may be some relief available through local agencies such as Eblen Charities or Salvation Army (more here). If you are worried that you will not be able to pay your rent because of a recent job loss, you should contact your landlord as soon as possible. Your landlord may be willing to defer some of your rent or set up a payment plan. You can also call Pisgah Legal Services at 828-253-0406 to learn more about your rights if you are concerned about not being able to pay your rent.

There may be some relief available through local agencies such as Eblen Charities or Salvation Army. Please call 211 to learn more about rental assistance programs. Buncombe County residents can also apply to the One Buncombe Fund for direct assistance grants. Learn more at onebuncombe.org.

What happens if I can’t pay my rent? Can I still be evicted during the Covid-19 pandemic?

At this time, North Carolina courthouses are still open to accept new filings and hear some select cases. However, the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court has ordered that almost all nonemergency court cases be postponed until at least June 1. That means that your landlord could still go to the courthouse and file an eviction against you. However, your court hearing will not be scheduled until after the postponement period has ended.

I thought the court was closed, why did I get served with a summary ejectment?

Though your hearing date will be delayed, you may still be served with summary ejectment or eviction papers by the Sheriff. If you are served with eviction papers, please contact Pisgah Legal Services right away. Even though your court hearing will be delayed, you have the same rights and defenses you may otherwise have under North Carolina law.

My landlord locked me out without filing for eviction, what do I do?

Call law enforcement immediately, then call Pisgah Legal Services. Even if you are behind on your rent, your landlord must still give you proper notice, file for an eviction in court, and be granted possession of the unit before you can be removed. If your landlord does anything to force you to leave your unit (changing the locks, turning off the water or electricity, etc.) without going through the court process, that is an unlawful “self-help” eviction and you should call local law enforcement immediately. Pisgah Legal Services may also be able to help get you back into your unit.

My case is pending appeal to the District Court, how do I pay my rent bond each month?

At this time, courthouse and clerk’s offices are still open to accept filings and other payments. If you currently pay a rent bond each month, you can pay that rent bond in the clerk’s office as you normally would. Some clerk’s offices will also accept payment by mail if you are paying with a certified check. Be sure to call your county’s civil clerk’s office ahead of time to ensure they will accept payment for your rent bond by mail.

I live in subsidized housing, am I protected if I can’t pay my rent?

If you live in subsidized housing, you should report any change in income to your landlord right away. Because your rent is based on your income, you are obligated to tell your landlord any time your income changes, either up or down. If you lose your job due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you should notify your landlord immediately and ask that your rent be recalculated. At this time, there is not a federal moratorium on evictions in public housing.

I have already been evicted, can the Sheriff lock me out?

If your landlord could have obtained a Writ of Possession before May 31, they MAY still be able to obtain one and have you locked out.  If not, they have to wait until after June 1 to get one.  You may also have until June 1 to appeal.  Call Pisgah Legal Services to find out your appeal rights.

What about my utility bills?

Duke Energy has currently put a moratorium on electricity shut offs. Additionally, some water utility companies have done the same. Duke Energy is also waiving late payment, return payment, and other fees for its customers. If you are having trouble paying your utility bills, you should contact your utility provider immediately. You may also be eligible for assistance through your local Department of Social Services and other agencies.

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The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact Pisgah Legal Services or a private attorney if you need to speak with an attorney regarding your specific situation. You can apply online for Pisgah Legal at www.pisgahlegal.org/free-legal-assistance or call 1-800-489-6144.