BISMARCK, ND — The North Dakota Supreme Court amended the order halting eviction hearings to now allow evictions, which means North Dakotans who have lost employment through no fault of their own and lack other resources, may now be ordered out of their homes. Rent is due a week from today, and renters only get three days notice to vacate. North Dakota ranked near the bottom nationally for covid-19 housing policy even before the court lifted its order.
Last month, distressed renters, advocacy organizations, religious groups, and the Dem-NPL called on the governor to enact a moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, late rental fees, interest, and penalties as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.
Gov. Burgum declined to issue the moratorium, leaning on the court’s order, which still allowed landlords to pressure tenants into leaving. He said renters would be better off when CARES Act relief arrived. Unemployment payments have stalled for weeks, and many small business owners were not able to access PPP loans because of gaps in the program.
Rep. Mary Schneider, who sent a letter to the governor calling for the moratorium, said:
“This is an outrageous betrayal that impairs the housing security of vulnerable North Dakotans. Thousands have been without a paycheck for a month and are still waiting for the unemployment payments promised to them. Their savings are being decimated, if they have any at all, and they’re afraid of what’s going to happen next. They’re not asking for a handout, only the security that the moratorium would provide. The governor no longer has an excuse for not issuing an executive order, or any of a number of actions taken in other states to prevent needless homelessness.”