Emergency Eviction Prevention Assistance

Frustrated

EVICTION IS THE WORST PART OF ANY LANDLORD'S RESPONSIBILITY.

EVICTION IS THE WORST PART OF ANY TENANT'S EXPERIENCE.

But if you own rental property, it can be necessary.

And if you manage rental property for someone else, then eviction is an important part of your job. You can't put it off forever.

You know when an eviction might be coming. The rent is often late, and your tenant makes promises that aren't kept. Maybe there is no response to your calls and messages. It seems like your tenant is ignoring or avoiding you, and it is frustrating.

Then you call your lawyer, or maybe file the eviction complaint yourself. Your next few weeks will be spent taking possession of your unit, preparing it to show, evaluating applications, running background checks, incurring extra costs, and losing revenue.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made managing rental properties harder than ever. More tenants can't pay their rent, and the economic slowdown has depressed market demand.

But landlords' overhead expenses haven't gone down, and it's tougher to stretch revenue to cover them.

But if you just can't pay the rent, it is going to happen.

And if your income has gone down this year or you have had extra expenses, you can only wait so long for things to get better.

You feel the pressure building. You can only stretch your money so far. You intend to pay the rent in a few days, but when the time comes it is just not possible. You get calls and messages from your landlord. But what can you say? You feel frustrated.

Then the sheriff brings you a summons. In a few days you will have to move, and you will have an eviction on your record. That might make it hard to find a new place to live. It will also probably make it harder to get jobs, car loans or a home mortgage in the future. 

The COVID-19 pandemic sure hasn't helped. It's easy to lose a job or have your hours cut. What if you don't know anyone you can move in with? What if you have no choice but to move someplace cheaper, and maybe more dangerous, or farther from work opportunties?

BUT THIS DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THE END OF THE STORY.

If a landlord and tenant are willing to work together, the Pitt County Department of Social Services may be able to pay much of the back rent and help prevent eviction. Eligibility requirements include:

  1. The landlord and tenant must be in the eviction process. The landlord or landlord's attorney must have filed a Complaint in Summary Ejectment at the Pitt County Courthouse. The tenant must have received, or be about to receive, a Magistrate Summons from the sheriff.

  2. All of the people in the tenant's household must have had a total income from all sources of no more than a certain amount during the calendar month preceding the date of the application. This amount varies according to the number of people in the household. For example, a household of 2 people must have had a total income of $3,558 or less, and a household of 4 people must have had a total income during the previous calendar month of $4,446 or less.

  3. The tenant's inability to pay rent must be due to the direct or indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. These effects may include, for example, job loss, reduction of work hours, interruption of child support payments, medical expenses, quarantine requirements, or inability to work because the tenant must stay home to care for children or other family members.

  4. The landlord must be willing to forgive part of the back rent, and the tenant must be willing and able to pay part of the back rent. Tenants are encouraged to seek help from family, churches, and community agencies.

  5. The landlord and tenant must be willing to sign a new lease, or to extend the tenant's current lease for at least six months.

The first step is for the landlord and tenant to simply talk things over. If both are willing to consider the program, the next step for a tenant is to apply using the online application. Landlords and property managers can also get the process started by completing an online contact form

Anyone who has questions can find answers by downloading the Frequently Asked Questions summary, or by contacting DSS at (252) 751-9900.

Tenants can also see if they qualify to get help with utility bills.

Applications can be reviewed and approved very quickly. And preventing an eviction can be the best part of everyone's day.

Happy