Triangle area landlords say more help is needed amid pandemic

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Almost a quarter of a million evictions will be prevented this year due to a new executive order in North Carolina.

It keeps landlords from evicting people for financial hardship.

Hundreds of thousands of families in North Carolina can’t afford to pay their rent right now due to the impact of COVID-19, putting a huge stressor on both them and their landlords.

“It’s absolutely been a really interesting year,” said Dustin Engelken with government affairs at the Triangle Apartment Association.

Engelken works with various landlords. He said the pandemic’s caused many people to not be able to pay rent, which also puts landlords in a bind.

“Landlords come in all shapes and sizes. You have large corporations that manage big portfolios, but you’ve also got a lot of people who put their retirement savings into buying that one rental home,” said Engelken.

The state recently launched the HOPE initiative. It helps eligible renters with up to six months of back rent and payments. The money goes directly to landlords and utility providers.

Within two weeks, more than 20,000 people applied for HOPE.

“It ensures renters can stay in their homes with the lights on,” said Governor Roy Cooper.

Cooper also signed an executive order this week to prevent evictions in North Carolina for people who can’t afford rent. It goes through the end of the year.

“The result during this global pandemic will be more North Carolinians staying in their homes, more landlords getting paid rent and fewer utility companies shutting off the power,” said Cooper.

Engelken said this is all helpful, but they’re fighting for more assistance and communication, especially from the federal government.

He worries if they don’t get more help, smaller rental companies will go out of business.

“It’s an uphill climb. There’s obviously a lot of businesses in need. It’s a tough situation all around,” said Engelken.

For more information on the executive order, click here. For more information on the HOPE initiative, click here.

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