Rent Due in Days: Time for Executive Order on Evictions, Rental Fees. and Foreclosures

FARGO, ND —  A coalition of nonprofits and advocates called on Gov. Burgum today to sign a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures that would allow people to keep stable housing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues disrupting our daily lives. The order would end 90 days after the emergency is declared over, allowing renters time to return to work before they’re at risk of eviction.

The federal moratorium only applies to subsidized housing, and while the State Supreme Court order halted many eviction proceedings, there are still gaps that leave people uncertain of whether they can remain in their homes. The order also does not stop interest, fees, and penalties from accruing. Some landlords are still moving forward with “soft evictions” that result in homelessness.

Last week, Rep. Mary Schneider sent a letter to the governor’s office respectfully urging him to sign an executive order temporarily halting evictions, foreclosures, utility shut-offs, and related late fees and interest.

Rep. Mary Schneider, D-Fargo said:

“The governor has said we’re all in this together, and that includes the thousands of North Dakotans who are out of work due to no fault of their own. Their jobs went away, at least for now, while we all try to slow the spread of COVID-19. They want to pay rent, and have paid their bills in the past, but now don’t have the income or resources to do so. Landlords can still issue three-day notices, that if allowed, may pressure tenants into homelessness. If interest, penalties, and rental fees keep accruing, others may find themselves in a hole they can’t climb out of.”

Rep. Gretchen Dobervich, D-Fargo, a public health worker, said:

“A temporary moratorium doesn’t mean people won’t pay their rent. For most, unemployment benefits won’t cover costs of living, so we’re asking for some basic protections to keep people from becoming homeless. The state Supreme Court order has gaps, and the federal moratorium only applies to subsidized housing. People must have some certainty during this time of crisis.”