Gov. Burgum Misses Chance to Speak Up for Renters While Extending Business Closure Orders

BISMARCK, ND — On the day rent is due for thousands of North Dakotans suddenly without a paycheck, Gov. Burgum extended mandatory business closure orders through April 20. Burgum has declined to issue a moratorium on evictions, rental fees, and foreclosures, which would protect the workers who can’t make a paycheck as we all work together to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

Without the moratorium, some landlords will begin issuing three-day notices that convince some tenants to leave their homes without anywhere to go. Rental fees and penalties will begin to accrue for people who have no options, putting them at risk of debt long after the disaster is over. Along with a moratorium, policy considerations should include rent assistance for tenants who are suddenly unemployed and bridge loans or grants for landlords who offer flexibility to struggling tenants.

The Democratic-NPL Party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen said:

“With Gov. Burgum’s responsible decision to extend the timeline for mandatory business closures, comes the reality that for at least another few weeks thousands of North Dakotans won’t be getting a paycheck. For those who suddenly can’t make rent, evictions can begin, and late fees will start accumulating. The governor missed another opportunity to send them a signal of support.”