HOPE Program, North Carolina

The HOPE Program is a statewide initiative statewide throughout North Carolina that may provide rent and utility assistance to eligible low- and moderate- income renters who have experienced financial hardship due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

The HOPE program used funds from the State’s CARES Act funding to create a $117 Million fund for tenants to pay up to 6 months of rent, past or future, as well as a separate fund for paying past due utility balances. Although those funds were used up by mid-November, subsequent Federal funding is in line to re-supply the program in the near future. Also important to note: Landlords whose tenants apply for relief under the HOPE Program have been declared by Governor Cooper (via Executive Order) to be protected from eviction as though they had submitted CDC Declarations. This applies even if the Landlord does not agree to accept the HOPE Program funds!

Here are some helpful links to read more on this program:

Updates:

1/27/21: Governor Cooper has issued a new Executive Order #191. The effect of this new Order for our Landlord clients is limited in that it merely extends the end date of his prior Executive Order #184 and by default #171 until March 31; no other tweaks were made. The provisions relating to protections to tenants with CDC Declarations and HOPE Program applicants remain in effect, in other words.

10/28/20: This afternoon, Governor Cooper unexpectedly issued a new Executive Order affecting eviction filings for the State through (at least) Dec. 31 (Now March 31st) This Executive Order was summarized by our friends at the Apartment Association of North Carolina, and their summary is below.

UPDATE FROM AANC- 10/28/2020

“Good Afternoon,

Today Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 171 which will become effective at 5 PM on Friday, October 30th. Below you will find a detailed breakdown of the Order by AANC General Counsel Norm Praet. The association will reach out to the Chief Justice and the Administrative Office of Courts to confirm that an affidavit will be forthcoming from the courts to satisfy the requirement of Section 1.

Executive Order 171
CDC Declaration Form

[AANC] was not aware of the Order prior to the issuance. However, the CDC Order specifically provides that states can supply more restrictive eviction guidelines and this order appears to be consistent with that directive. The association will continue to review the order and provide any additional information.

This executive order clarifies and extends the CDC Orders as follows:

In an action commenced on or after 5 pm on October, 30, prior to filing for a summary ejectment action the landlord must execute an affidavit and present it to the court certifying that the landlord has provided the residential tenant with a blank copy of the CDC Declaration form.

Only 1 declaration is required per home, despite the CDC Order.

The Executive Order only precludes evictions for nonpayment or late payment if a CDC Declaration is received and not successfully challenged.

In the event the landlord believes the action should still proceed despite the filing of the Declaration, the landlord shall submit to the court a response to the Declaration identifying in writing why the landlord believes the action should still proceed despite the protections of the CDC Order. For example, the landlord may respond by indicating that the eviction is for a reason other than nonpayment or late payment of rent. A hearing to determine whether the action should proceed shall be held according to the timeline for hearings for eviction proceedings, or as otherwise established by the court.

Upon receiving a Declaration, the landlord shall take no actions to request a writ of possession, and the landlord is not entitled to the writ, but the landlord may submit a response to the Declaration and request a hearing as provided in Section 4 of this summary.

If a court determines that the eviction should proceed under Section 4 of this summary, and ultimately enters a judgment against the tenant, nothing in this Executive Order prohibits a landlord from requesting a writ of possession, and the landlord shall be legally entitled to a writ of possession in those circumstances.

In actions pending on or commenced after the date of the Executive Order, a landlord who has been provided with a tenant’s Declaration pursuant to the CDC Order shall immediately notify the court that such Declaration has been received and shall submit a copy of the Declaration to the court within five (5) days of receipt.

The protections from eviction of this Executive Order shall extend to those residential tenants who have applied for the HOPE program and have been notified that they have met the eligibility criteria for participation in the HOPE program, even if those residential tenants would not qualify for protection from eviction under the CDC Order. Once the landlord has executed the HOPE Landlord-Tenant Agreement, the tenant shall be protected from eviction under the terms of that Agreement, and not under this Executive Order.”

 

 

How does Gov. Cooper's new Executive Order help me as a landlord?

This FAQ document has lots of helpful information. One benefit of the Executive Order is that every Landlord is entitled to a hearing to question a tenant who has tendered a Declaration and may not actually meet the criteria to qualify for the “temporary halt” in their eviction case.

What does Gov. Cooper's Executive Order require if I want to file new evictions? ( NC Only)

The most important change is that every Landlord in NC must provide every tenant that they plan to file a case against (no matter the basis of the case) with a copy of the CDC Declaration form before they submit the case to us for approval and filing. The case must ALSO be accompanied by an affidavit confirming the Declaration form was provided.

If I receive a Hope Letter, what do I do with it?

Make a note of the date you receive the letter and upload it to us using this link.