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Housing & Utilities

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Update: 9/10/20 - Rental Eviction Moratorium through December 31, 2020

Nationwide Moratorium (Pause) on Evictions Declared through December 31, 2020 to Contain COVID-19 Spread

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has halted rental evictions nationwide through December 31, 2020.
  • Unpaid rent, fees, and interest will still be due at the end of the moratorium.
  • To be eligible, renters must earn $99,000 or less for an individual tax return filer or $198,000 or less for joint tax return filers.
  • Read more details from the CDC here. 

Renters MUST SUBMIT A FORM to Qualify for the Moratorium. Here’s How:

  • All adults on the lease will have to submit a signed form to their landlord.
  • They will have to confirm that they have had a substantial loss in household income, that they cannot pay full rent, and they have made best efforts to pay partial rent.
  • The renter also must specify that an eviction would likely lead to homelessness or force them to live in close quarters with others.
  • Please note the following warning in the form: This declaration is sworn testimony, meaning that you can be prosecuted, go to jail, or pay a fine if you lie, mislead, or omit important information.
  • Renters can use this form from the CDC to submit to their landlord.

To Protect Yourself, Make Sure:

  • Whenever possible, make a partial rental payment to show your commitment to paying your rent, and make sure to keep a record (receipts, canceled checks, etc.) to show the partial payments you’ve made.
  • Keep copies of all emails or letter communication with your landlord, including summaries of any verbal agreements/discussions regarding the signed form, rental payment agreements, or other discussions you’ve had (that’s right; if you’ve had a verbal conversation, follow up with a summary email to your landlord to keep track of all communication). Doing this will cut down on confusion later.

Update: 8/28/20 - City of Asheville Utility Help + Mortgage Moratorium Extended to December 31, 2020

Asheville City Offers Water/Sewer Repayment Plans and Protections from Shut-offs for Bills Delinquent Before August 18, 2020

  • The City of Asheville started notifying Asheville water/sewer utility customers of payment plans and safeguards available to them if they have delinquent balances that occurred between March 13th and August 18th 2020.
  • No delinquent fees will be added to the balance owed during this time period, service will not be discontinued for those missed payment, and this safeguard will last for a six (6) month period and runs through February 18, 2021.
  • Customers have two options for repaying past-due balances.
  • Customers can choose to pay as much as they can and are encouraged to do so regularly.  
  • Customers can also chose to sign up for a formal payment plan by calling Customer Service at 828-251-1122 or by visiting the Water Resources Operations Center at 200 Bingham Road Monday through Friday from 8 am to noon and 1 to 4 pm.
  • The balance, including any new charges, must be paid in full within the six (6) month period or their service will be disconnected.
  • Learn more about it at City of Asheville.

Moratorium on Foreclosure Continues for Certain Mortgages through December 31, 2020

  • The moratorium (pause) on foreclosures will continue until December 31, 2020 for all mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as all mortgages backed by FHA.
  • There has been no announcement regarding USDA or VA mortgages yet.
  • Learn more from our sources of FHA and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Update: 8/3/20 – Dwindling Protections for Renters

Pay Rent on Time if You Are Able

Many eviction moratoriums (freezes) have expired, but there are still some limited protections for renters.

  • Because protections for renters are so few, it’s important 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.
  • Additionally, you can call OR text the CARES Act Eviction Information Line at 1-919-590-9165 as they may be able to advise you on working out a payment plan with your landlord or help those who need in-court representation.

Update: 7/16/20 - 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 August 31.
  • 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: 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: 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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