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Housing & Utilities

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Update: 7/6/20 - NC Extends Freeze on Utility Shutoffs

North Carolina has extended the freeze on utility shutoffs. Customers cannot have their utilities disconnected through July 29, 2020.

  • Customers cannot be charged late fees during this time.
  • Utility bill payments are still due on the normal date. If you can afford to make your utility payments on time, do so to avoid having to make additional payments later.
  • If you can’t afford your utility bills during this period, utility companies are required to offer you a six-month payment plan to pay back what you owe.
  • Phone and internet bills are not covered by this order. If you can’t afford these types of bills, contact the provider and see if they will work with you. Some internet providers are providing free internet to families with children or college students in the home.
  • See the FAQ for the executive order here and find more helpful information from the North Carolina Justice Center here.

Update: 6/16/20 - Pay Rent on Time + Protections for Renters

Paying Rent Remains a Top Priority

Pay Rent on Time if You Are Able

  • While there are currently restrictions on evictions (see below), these protections are temporary, and evictions will be allowable again. It is important to continue to pay rent on time if at all possible.
  • If you can’t afford to pay your rent in full, talk to your landlord and explain the situation. Many landlords are willing to work with tenants to provide flexibility.
  • If your landlord attempts to evict you or you are worried that you will not be able to pay your rent, call Pisgah Legal Services at (828) 253-0406.

Protections for Renters

NC Moratorium on Evictions Through June 20

In North Carolina, there is a moratorium (pause) on evictions due to non-payment of rent through June 20. This temporarily protects against new evictions, as well as most pending cases.

  • These protections apply only to eviction for non-payment. Landlords can still evict tenants for other lease violations.
  • For rent owed between May 30 and June 20, 2020, your landlord is required to give you a six-month payment plan and cannot charge late fees for rent owed during that period.  If needed, work with your landlord to establish that repayment plan.  Make sure to get the plan signed and in writing and document all communications with your landlord.
  • Find more information here.

Additional Federal Protection from Eviction for Some Renters through July 24

The CARES Act offers limited protection for renters in certain situations. If you are renting from a landlord who has a federally insured or Government Sponsored Entity (GSE)-backed mortgage, if you live in federally subsidized housing, or if you get a federally subsidized grant or voucher, you cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent between March 27 and July 24, 2020.

  • Find out if your housing is covered, here.
  • Even if the CARES Act eviction moratorium applies to you, rent payments are still due on the usual date. So, if you can pay your rent, continue to do so to avoid the potential of future eviction.
  • These protections only apply to eviction for non-payment. Landlords of these properties can still evict tenants for other lease violations.
  • Get more information on these protections here.
  • Even if you believe that your living situation qualifies you for these limited protections, it’s still important to call Pisgah Legal Services at (828) 253-0406 if you think you won’t be able to pay your rent.

Update: 6/16/20 - Mortgage Help

Mortgage Support During COVID-19

  • Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, USDA, VA and HUD (which backs the majority of mortgages in our country) continue their moratoriums on foreclosures through June 30. Additionally, they are providing forbearances to borrowers impacted by the coronavirus. Forbearance could allow for a mortgage payment to be suspended for up to 12 months. Here’s more info.
  • Worried about your mortgage payment? First, log into your account on your mortgage servicer’s website to see what programs are currently available and their response to COVID-19. If you don’t see what you need, call your servicer’s phone number located on your monthly loan statement.
  • You can also find out what type of relief you qualify for, here.
  • Check out this handout we created called: Forbearance: What to Know and What to Ask Your Lender.

Update: 3/31/20 - Utility Assistance

Utility Assistance and Help During COVID-19

Find Local Resources through 2-1-1

  • United Way hosts a free information and referral service through their 2-1-1 program. If you need financial assistance to pay utilities, they can direct you to the best local agency to help. If you have an (828) area code, simply dial 211 on your phone to be connected to a representative that can assist you or visit the 211 website here

Governor Cooper Signs Executive Order Mandating Rules for Utility Companies

  • Effective, March 31, 2020 electric, gas, water, and wastewater services are prohibited from disconnecting utilities for non-payment for the next 60 days.
  • This order directs utility companies to give residential customers 6 months to pay outstanding bills and prohibits the companies from charging collection fees, penalties, or interest for late payments.
  • Read more about it here

Duke and PSNC/Dominion Energy

  • Duke is suspending disconnections and waiving late fees for their customers.
  • PSNC/Dominion Energy will not be shutting off your power or gas for nonpayment and they are currently reconnecting residential customers whose services were shut off.
  • Even though utilities are not being disconnected, this does not mean providers are forgiving the bill. Pay what you are able, when you are able, to avoid building up a large bill that is difficult to pay off after the crisis passes.

City of Asheville Water and Trash

  • City of Asheville is suspending all water account disconnections. This is not a cancellation of bills; so pay what you are able when you are able or call 828-251-1122 to set up a payment plan.
  • If you buy water from your landlord and your landlord disconnects your water, contact Pisgah Legal Services or call 1-800-489-6144 for help.

Cell Phone and Internet Providers

  • Many phone and internet providers are waiving late fees and suspending disconnections during COVID-19. To find out what your provider is offering, Google: The name of your provider and COVID (such as Verizon and COVID).

Find Internet in Your Area

The North Carolina Department of Information Technology has compiled a list of new and existing free or affordable service offerings statewide here. To find out what service providers are available in your area and a list of their services, use their Interactive Map:

  • Enter your home street address in the address field and click the magnifying glass.
  • After clicking search, directly under the search box, a list of providers in your area will appear. You can contact these companies to get internet set up if you don’t have it.
  • To see what free or low-cost services are provided by those companies, scroll through the list of company names at the bottom of the page until you find the company that services your area.   
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