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State Moratoria Support Households Experiencing Financial Hardship

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Summer/Fall 2020   


State Moratoria Support Households Experiencing Financial Hardship


      • Minnesota enacted an eviction moratorium and an avenue for tenants to file complaints.
      • Delaware halted all eviction processes, including filings and hearings, and prevented utility companies from terminating service or issuing late fees due to nonpayment.
      • Minnesota and Delaware offer rent and mortgage relief to prevent homelessness and maintain stability for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A three-story multifamily building with sidewalk and cars in the front.
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office contacts landlords who may have violated the state's moratorium and works to resolve the situation. (Greenway Terrace in Ramsey, Minnesota.) Josh Nguyen, Minnesota Housing

The economic uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused housing insecurity among a growing number of families who are facing a loss of income and the inability to make their rent or mortgage payments. Implementing short-term eviction and foreclosure moratoria can alleviate some of the immediate impacts of economic upheaval and help homeowners and renters remain in their homes. On August 8, 2020, President Trump signed an executive order to minimize evictions and foreclosures resulting from pandemic-induced financial hardship. The order directs federal agencies to examine the public health impacts of halting evictions; identify federal funds for temporary financial assistance to renters and homeowners; and offer assistance to public housing agencies, affordable housing owners, landlords, and federal grant recipients to prevent evictions and foreclosures.1

Many states and localities have also enacted eviction and foreclosure moratoria in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statewide moratorium can be more effective than multiple actions by local government officials and agencies, which may stop some phases of eviction but not all. Eviction moratoria designed to halt all phases of eviction, including notices to vacate, filings, court hearings, and the physical execution of eviction by a law enforcement officer, also can be more effective at protecting public health during the pandemic and supporting vulnerable households. A moratorium that only halts court hearings, for example, would not prevent landlords from issuing notices, which could cause tenants to leave and potentially become homeless. Banning physical evictions while allowing court hearings to proceed can damage tenants’ credit and hinder their ability to secure new housing.2 Strong moratoria also prohibit late fees to protect residents from additional financial hardship. Minnesota and Delaware are among the states that have implemented successful moratorium policies to prevent spikes in homelessness at a time when sheltering in place is critical. The two states have also used allocations from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to finance housing assistance to help families remain in their homes even after the moratoria are lifted.

Minnesota Suspends Evictions During Its Peacetime Emergency

The COVID-19 pandemic hit at a time when Minnesota’s housing market was already strained.3 According to a 2019 report from Minnesota Housing Partnership, 1 in 4 Minnesotans are cost burdened (meaning that they are paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs), including 44 percent of the state’s 611,160 renter households and nearly 20 percent of its 1.54 million owner households.4 The COVID-19 pandemic has left more Minnesotans suffering from lost income and unable to afford housing costs. The state’s unemployment rate grew from 2.9 percent in March 2020 to 9.9 percent in May 2020.5 More than 941,000 Minnesotans applied for unemployment insurance benefits between March 16, 2020, and September 7, 2020.6

As COVID-19 cases began emerging in Minnesota, the state worked quickly to institute protections to mitigate the virus’ spread and help people shelter in their homes without being evicted.7 Ten days after declaring a state peacetime emergency on March 13, 2020, Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order (EO) 20-14, which placed a moratorium on nonemergency evictions and writs of recovery.8 The moratorium prohibited property owners, mortgage holders, or others from filing an eviction order if, after March 1, 2020, a household continued living in the property after receiving a lease termination notice, after the redemption period for a residential foreclosure ended, after a tenant violated a provision in the lease, or after nonpayment of rent. All landlords had to suspend lease terminations and notices to vacate except in emergency cases in which the tenant endangered the safety of residents or others on the premises, based on clarifying language in EO 20-73.9 Sheriffs were prohibited from physically evicting tenants except under very limited circumstances involving criminal activities or the endangerment of others.10 Assistant Attorney General Katherine Kelly noted that EO 20-14 halted the issuance of writs of recovery, and even if a landlord had a writ of recovery, sheriffs were ordered not to execute it.11

Photo shows one- and two-story attached homes with green lawn and a play area with slides in the foreground.
Minnesota’s eviction moratorium includes enforcement mechanisms such as fines for those who violate the regulations. Minnesota Housing

Jennifer Ho, commissioner of Minnesota Housing, noted that EO 20-14 “was based on a public health need, and not just the health of those who are financially impacted by COVID-19. It really was designed to have a broader reach.” Tenants were not required to submit documentation to landlords proving financial hardship because of COVID-19. Because the order did not suspend rent payments, Governor Walz and Ho have encouraged those who are able to pay their rent to continue doing so and those who are not to communicate with their landlords. Rather than assisting only some renters while displacing others, said Ho, EO 20-14 was designed to be broad in coverage to prevent evictions and additional homelessness. As EO 20-14 was being developed, homeless shelters were also trying to deconcentrate quickly to slow the spread of COVID-19, which made protecting residents from eviction even more vital.12

Although EO 20-14 did not offer a foreclosure moratorium for homeowners and landlords with mortgages, it “requested” that financial institutions suspend all pending and future foreclosures and related evictions resulting from a residential property owner’s decrease in income or increase in out-of-pocket medical expenses caused by the pandemic. It also “strongly urged” financial institutions to avoid imposing late fees or other penalties for late mortgage payments.13 Many financial institutions “want to do the right thing by their customers,” and Minnesota has been successful in getting banks to consider strategies to keep homeowners in their homes, said Ho.14 On July 2, 2020, the offices of Attorney General Keith Ellison and the governor announced an agreement with 31 Minnesota financial institutions to offer mortgage relief for property owners who were financially impacted by COVID-19 but were not covered by the CARES Act. Offering protections similar to those of the CARES Act, the agreement includes a 90-day forbearance period for single- or multifamily mortgage holders effective July 1, 2020.15 According to Sadaf Rahmani, policy research associate at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office (AG’s Office), lenders cannot initiate foreclosure proceedings on residential property owners who have applied for payment forbearance under this agreement. “Foreclosures are expensive for banks and credit unions as well, and avoiding them makes the most financial sense,” Rahmani added.16 Rather than requiring a lump-sum payment at the end of the forbearance, participating financial institutions are allowing single-family homeowners to either tack on the missed or reduced payments over the lifetime of the loan or extend the maturity of the loan to compensate for the missed payments. In addition, participating financial institutions will suspend all late fees for missed mortgage payments and will not report late or missed payments to credit bureaus.17 Such measures offer the flexibility and relief that many residential property owners need to make ends meet during the pandemic.

EO 20-14 did not relieve tenants of their obligation to pay rent, a provision that supported landlords who rely on rent to make mortgage payments.18 HousingLink — a nonprofit organization that collects data, information, and resources on affordable housing in Minnesota — conducted a nonstatistical survey in June 2020 among renters with active user profiles on the HousingLink website to gauge their ability to pay rent in the midst of the pandemic. The survey determined that 72 percent of renters (out of 907 respondents) had remained current on their rent payments since the start of the pandemic. However, 26 percent of renters (out of 639 respondents) indicated that they would not be able to continue paying rent without the weekly $600 in federal unemployment insurance benefits, which expired on July 31, 2020.19 Libby Murphy, deputy policy director for the Minnesota Housing Partnership, attributes some of the strong rent collections in spring 2020 to the addition of these federal unemployment insurance benefits to the state’s unemployment insurance, which offers up to a maximum of $740 in benefits per week.20 With questions mounting about what would happen after the federal CARES unemployment benefits expired, President Trump took unilateral action on August 8, 2020, signing an executive memorandum to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits totaling $400 per week, with a federal contribution of 75 percent and a state contribution of 25 percent.21

Overcoming Challenges

Having mechanisms in place to encourage compliance with moratoria can help states achieve positive outcomes. Minnesota’s EO 20-14 granted the AG’s Office the authority to enforce its provisions.22 A person who “willfully” violated the order was guilty of a misdemeanor — a criminal offense — with a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to 90 days. The AG’s Office enforces civil laws and could enforce EO 20-14 through its section 8.31 authority, whereby violators of the order would face a civil penalty of up to $25,000 per violation.23 According to Kelly, instances of legal action against landlords were rare, and in most cases, “gaining compliance through a mutual agreement was much more productive in the long term than just threatening legal action.” The AG’s Office resorted to legal action in only a few cases in which landlords attempted self-help evictions through actions such as shutting off utilities or changing locks. In these cases, the AG’s Office successfully filed temporary restraining orders to require landlords to restore utilities and unlock doors.24

A five-story building with landscaping and a covered outdoor area with benches in the foreground.
To keep residents stably housed, the original eviction moratorium halted lease terminations, notices to vacate, filings, and physical evictions carried out by law enforcement. Minnesota Housing

Under EO 20-14, tenants who believed their landlords were wrongly evicting them could complete an online complaint form on the AG Office’s website. After receiving the form, the AG’s Office contacted the tenant and the landlord by phone. The team gathered facts from tenants and advised them of their rights and protections under the order. Next, the team collected information from landlords and determined whether EO 20-14 was being violated. The calls to landlords were often lengthy, said Kelly, because the AG’s Office sought to explain the rationale behind EO 20-14 and the individual situations of the tenants.25 The AG’s Office does not ask tenants if they have been affected by COVID-19 medically, financially, or otherwise because the orders do not require tenants to be impacted by COVID-19 or prove financial hardship to be protected from eviction. Kelly indicated, however, that “almost all tenants [who] report violations…tell us that they have been impacted by COVID in some way (financially, health-wise, disruptions in the rental marketplace, etc.).”26

From March 2020 through the first week of July 2020, the AG’s Office received 900 tenant complaints that landlords were violating the moratorium.27 Nearly half of the complaints came from tenants who were unable to pay their rent because they lost their jobs and were told by their landlords to either pay their rent or move out. Some complaints came from tenants whose landlords wanted them to move at the end of their lease despite their being unemployed or unable to find another housing arrangement. Reports also came from tenants whose landlords falsely told them that the moratorium only protected them if they could prove that they were directly affected by COVID-19.28 According to Kelly, most of these complaints were resolved after the AG’s Office called the landlords to inform them about the rules of the order, because many landlords were unaware of the suspension.29 Nonprofit organizations such as HousingLink and the Minnesota Multi Housing Association were also vital resources for educating landlords and tenants about the moratorium; they hosted webinars, issued guidance on mediation, shared COVID-19 preparedness resources, and created tenant/landlord hotlines.30

Some housing organizations have predicted that demand for homeless services and assistance will increase.31 Murphy anticipates that more families will experience housing instability and doubling up as a result of the financial challenges caused by COVID-19. Although EO 20-14 prohibited landlords from filing evictions, some still occurred, Murphy said. Once someone has an eviction on their record, their likelihood of experiencing housing instability, housing cost burdens, or homelessness increases.32 Unlike many states, Minnesota courts can order that eviction case records be expunged at the request of a tenant if the court determines that the case is “sufficiently without basis in fact or law.”33 Many tenants, however, are unaware that they can ask for expungement during their court hearing. Once the eviction hearing is complete, requesting expungement is difficult, Murphy explained.34

Front view of a two-story multifamily building.
Delaware’s Sixth and Twenty-Third Modifications to the emergency declaration prohibit landlords from charging late fees and interest on residential rental units. Delaware State Housing Authority

In May 2020, Minnesota Management and Budget predicted a bleak economic outlook for the state, depending on the trajectory of several factors such as the pandemic and state revenue.35 Stakeholders are concerned about how to meet the state’s future need for affordable housing. Minnesota lacks approximately 114,000 units that are affordable to households earning 30 percent of the area median income.36 Small-building landlords supply 6.2 million rental units in the United States, many of which are a natural source of affordable housing for low-income renters. Landlords of such units are as vulnerable to economic shocks as their tenants. Without a reliable stream of rent payments, some small landlords may default on their properties, sell them to new owners who may convert the rentals into personal housing, or sell them to investment groups that may renovate the units and increase the rent, thereby making them unaffordable to those in need.37 If the state is not increasing housing opportunities, “we will certainly see people experiencing homelessness more frequently and for longer durations,” Murphy noted.38

EO 20-14 lacked a grace period for late rent payments and allowed late fees to accrue.39 Murphy pointed to the need for a more formal procedure to notify tenants of the past due amount owed, due dates, and the consequences of nonpayment. In addition, making tenants aware of resources available to them for financial or legal assistance is critical to preventing future evictions. EO 20-14 also did not preclude landlords from reporting delinquent rent payments to credit bureaus, which can negatively affect tenants’ credit scores and their ability to access housing in the future.40

Keeping Residents Stably Housed

Effective August 4, 2020, Governor Walz rescinded EO 20-14 and EO 20-73 and issued EO 20-79, which allows evictions in limited circumstances, such as if a tenant damages the property or if a landlord or landlord’s family member will be moving into the rental property. Landlords must give tenants seven days’ notice of their intent to file for eviction to allow tenants and landlords a chance to resolve the matter without court action. In addition, officers can begin executing writs that were issued before March 24, 2020, when EO 20-14 was enacted. This order remains in effect until the state peacetime emergency is rescinded.41 On September 11, 2020, Governor Walz extended the peacetime emergency through October 12, 2020, which may be extended again on or before its expiration.42

Because Minnesota has a projected budget shortfall, the state has shifted its attention toward the federal CARES Act rather than a new state appropriation as a source of emergency housing assistance, said Ho.43 On July 14, 2020, Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan announced the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program to prevent homelessness and maintain stability for those affected by the pandemic. Funded through CRF under the CARES Act, the $100 million program will be administered by local organizations that will conduct eligibility screening and outreach and process applications and payments. To be eligible for the program, applicants must be Minnesota residents; have an income at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level; have a past due housing expense incurred between March 1, 2020, and December 30, 2020; and be unable to make the payment because of unemployment, illness, or another issue related to COVID-19. The funds, dispersed directly to landlords, mortgage servicers, utility companies, or manufactured home park owners, can be used toward rent and mortgage payments, manufactured lot rents or home payments, utilities, homeowner association dues, homeowner’s insurance, and other costs as approved by Minnesota Housing.44

A woman stands next to a dishwasher in a kitchen with food items on the counter.
To ensure residents would have no disruption in utility service, Delaware requires utility companies to offer four-month payment plans for customers with past due accounts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Delaware State Housing Authority

Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) have been another vital source of support to prevent homelessness and help those experiencing homelessness because of COVID-19. In addition to $22.8 million received at the state level, several counties and cities in Minnesota also received ESG funding and allocated some of their dollars toward housing assistance.45

Delaware Enacts an Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium

As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in Delaware, residents began to feel the economic effects. From March 2020 to May 2020, Delaware’s unemployment rate increased from 5 percent to 15.9 percent.46 Unemployment claims set a state record, and the unemployment office fielded an “overwhelming” number of calls and questions about the unemployment claims process.47 Between March 14 and March 28, 2020, the number of filed unemployment claims in the state rose from 472 to 19,137.48 Effective March 13, 2020, Governor John Carney declared a state of emergency due to the public health threat of COVID-19, and on September 3, 2020, he extended the emergency declaration for a sixth time.49 Shortly after Governor Carney issued the initial declaration, public policy scholars at the University of Delaware determined that more than 136,000 Delawareans hold low-wage occupations that are “at high risk for COVID-19-related job loss.”50 Delaware residents were already experiencing housing cost burdens before the pandemic began. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reported that 78 percent of very low-income renters in Delaware were cost burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. In addition, 23 percent were extremely low-income renters, and 76.1 percent had severe cost burdens, paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing costs.51 Recognizing the potentially serious consequences if Delawareans lost their housing as a result of COVID-19, on March 24, 2020, Governor Carney issued the Sixth Modification of the Declaration of a State of Emergency enacting an eviction and foreclosure moratorium.52

The Sixth Modification protected tenants from any “action for summary possession,” which is Delaware’s eviction process covering the notice of termination, filing, court hearing, and writ of possession or physical eviction.53 John Whitelaw, advocacy director at the Community Legal Aid Society, Inc., noted that the Sixth Modification shut down the Justice of the Peace Court (JP Court), which hears eviction cases in Delaware. From March 17, 2020, to July 1, 2020, all eviction processes were frozen, including new filings and cases in which a final judgment had been issued but no writ had been executed.54 The Sixth Modification allowed landlords to file for evictions only on tenants they deemed to have caused irreparable harm or threat to others or the property.55 Court actions and eviction orders that commenced before the state of emergency began were granted a 31-day extension from the date the governor lifts the emergency declaration. In addition, constables had to wait seven days from the termination of the emergency declaration before executing writs of possession for tenants who had received final judgments on eviction before the state of emergency. Landlords were prohibited from assessing late fees or interest on unpaid rent.56 On March 30, 2020, and April 30, 2020, Governor Carney signed the Eighth Modification and Fourteenth Modification of the emergency declaration, respectively, which extended the same protections to owners of manufactured homes on leased land and holdover tenants. Landlords could not require holdover tenants to pay more than the monthly rental amount under their previous rental agreement. The Fourteenth Modification required landlords to prorate tenants’ rent for each day of the holdover.57

Front view of a two-story multifamily building with a staircase in the front.
Tenants can participate in an alternative dispute resolution process, which helps to prevent evictions and resolve cases without formal trials. Delaware State Housing Authority

The Sixth Modification also protected owner-occupied properties of one to four units from foreclosure and prohibited late fees and interest. Financial institutions that initiated residential mortgage foreclosure actions before the state of emergency began had to extend deadlines to at least the 31st day following the termination of the emergency declaration. The modification also halted the sheriff sales of properties that received final judgment on foreclosure before the state of emergency until a date no earlier than 31 days after the governor lifts the emergency declaration. If a residential property had been the subject of foreclosure action and sold at a sheriff sale before the state of emergency, law enforcement officers could not execute writs of recovery until at least the 31st day after the governor lifts the emergency declaration. Delaware also instituted protections for residents to ensure no disruption in their utility services. Residential utility companies such as electric, water, natural gas, telephone, and cable and internet providers could not terminate service or charge late fees. The Sixth Modification granted the Delaware Public Service Commission the authority to enforce these mandates and penalize any violations.58

Mitigating a Backlog of Cases

A major challenge under the Sixth Modification was that the JP Court was unaware of how many eviction cases were in its backlog. Effective July 1, 2020, language pertaining to evictions, foreclosures, and utilities in the Sixth and Fourteenth modifications was deleted and replaced by the Twenty-Third Modification. Unlike the Sixth Modification, the Twenty-Third Modification allows eviction filings and mortgage foreclosure actions to proceed.59 According to Whitelaw, the Twenty-Third Modification and the JP Court order “were really designed not so much to move cases quickly but to get a sense of how many cases they’re going to have to deal with. So it’s more about being able to get a handle on what’s going on than it is about scheduling new cases quickly.”60 The Twenty-Third Modification reopened the JP Court, which issued an order to resume accepting filings and supporting documents indicating that the property under consideration is not covered by the federal CARES Act moratorium on evictions.61 Law enforcement officers still may not physically evict tenants and homeowners because of sheriff sales, writs of possession, or actions for ejectment while the emergency declaration remains in effect unless the JP Court determines that “enforcement is necessary in the interest of justice.”62 As of September 1, 2020, the court had not formalized a process for making this determination. In addition, late fees and interest for residential rental units may not be charged or accrue while the emergency declaration is in effect. Holdover tenants as well as residents who own manufactured homes on leased land are still protected from physical eviction.63

As the JP Court begins addressing its backlog of cases, stakeholders must adapt the resolution process to the pandemic by developing new ways to mediate cases and direct tenants to available resources. Although several eviction cases have been filed as of July 1, 2020, this backlog of cases will take time to resolve. Few trials have been scheduled, and, because of the heavy caseload, eviction cases will not be heard for at least 12 weeks after the governor lifts the emergency declaration. Even so, the extreme backlog could create further delays in issuing judgments. The Twenty-Third Modification permits the JP Court to determine whether cases can be resolved using other methods. Through an online dispute resolution and an alternative dispute resolution and mediation, the JP Court aims to prevent unnecessary evictions and resolve as many cases as possible without holding formal trials. Whitelaw predicted that the bulk of these cases will stem from nonpayment of rent rather than rules violations. The alternative dispute resolution process in the Twenty-Third Modification will be vital to connecting tenants who are past due on their rent to the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) to obtain financial assistance to resolve the cases.64

Landlords generally support rental assistance measures because such funding would help them make their mortgage payments and keep them afloat financially. Without rental payments, “there will be some landlords who can’t pay [their mortgage] obligation,” Whitelaw stated.65 Although some lenders have been willing to grant landlords interest-only payments and mortgage deferrals, they take these actions only on a case-by-case basis. The Delaware Apartment Association (DAA), a nonprofit organization representing multifamily housing owners, managers, and developers, supports state allocation of funding for rental assistance. Through information and resource sharing, DAA is currently focused on ensuring that members give residents appropriate information on applying for rental assistance programs and navigating unemployment benefits to help them manage financial hardship.66

Preventing a Wave of Evictions

Whitelaw emphasized that the state’s actions kept people in their homes. As of early September 2020, “we have not had an eviction crisis in Delaware, in large part because of the intervention of the governor and the court system,” he stated. Without grace periods to pay past due balances, however, the state could witness a surge in evictions. Whitelaw predicted a new wave of evictions among those who relied on the weekly $600 federal unemployment benefit to meet their basic needs. “The reduced amount of federal unemployment benefits will not be sufficient for many tenants to be able to pay rent and obtain other necessities, but it is certainly better than a complete elimination of the benefit,” he said.67

Programs to mitigate future evictions will be critical for keeping residents stably housed when the emergency declaration is lifted.68 The Twenty-Third Modification stipulates that the resolution process can include housing support services, as determined by DSHA, “if requested by either party or the Court.”69 On July 1, 2020, DSHA and the Delaware Department of Justice announced a partnership to develop a comprehensive plan focused on educating homeowners and renters on the eviction and foreclosure process. The two agencies will partner to offer integrated services, including financial assistance, to help residents affected by COVID-19 retain their homes.70 The state received approximately $15 million in federal funding for direct housing assistance, $2.33 million of which was ESG funds under the CARES Act to mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19 on those experiencing homelessness, receiving homeless assistance, or at risk of becoming homeless.71 In addition to the federal support, DSHA and the Delaware Department of Justice plan to allocate $250,000 and $100,000, respectively, to support public awareness and advocacy organizations.72

Aerial view of a residential area of Wilmington, Delaware with commercial buildings in the background.
The Delaware Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program offers eligible low-income homeowners at risk of foreclosure up to $5,000 paid directly to the mortgage servicer.

In late March 2020, DSHA announced the Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DE HAP) for renters facing financial hardship because of COVID-19. Initially, DSHA allocated $2 million for DE HAP, and New Castle County contributed $500,000 of its CARES Act CRF to the program.73

Unable to meet the high demand for financial assistance, DSHA temporarily stopped taking applications, but on August 10, 2020, DSHA reopened the program with $40 million combined from the state and New Castle County’s CRF. Under the revised guidelines, eligible renters can receive up to $5,000 to pay past due rent or current rent, with payments made directly to the property owner. Applicants must be Delaware residents and have a postpandemic household income at or below 60 percent of the area median income for the county in which they live. With a new application portal on DSHA’s website, landlords and property owners must submit applications on tenants’ behalf. In addition, through DSHA’s existing Delaware Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (DEMAP), low-income homeowners in the state at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure because of a pandemic-related job loss, reduced work hours, or unpaid leave can receive up to $5,000 per household paid directly to the mortgage servicer. By collaborating with HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in Delaware who will process DEMAP applications, DSHA is working to ensure the efficient distribution of assistance.74

Payment plans for past due utilities can also offer relief for residents struggling with financial hardship. The Twenty-Third Modification requires every public, nonprofit, and municipal utility that operates water, wastewater, gas, or electric service in Delaware to offer a four-month payment plan to customers with past due accounts who indicate that they have been affected by illness, healthcare costs, reduced income, or job loss because of COVID-19. Although some utility companies may request proof of COVID-19 impact, they cannot apply eligibility criteria such as installment plan history, and customers are not required to make a deposit or downpayment to enroll in the plan.75

Nonprofit and philanthropic organizations have also emerged as an additional avenue of support for families affected by the pandemic. The Delaware COVID-19 Emergency Response Initiative has raised funds for several nonprofit organizations that provide social services, emergency assistance, food, and virtual educational resources to families and individuals across the state. A vital component of this initiative is an assessment to determine how nonprofit organizations can sustain assistance given the long-term impacts of the pandemic and allocate funding to have the most impact across the state.76


Ensuring that families have safe places to call home during the COVID-19 pandemic will remain a priority of HUD Secretary Ben Carson and President Trump. As stated in President Trump’s EO, families who are dislocated from their homes may have to live in homeless shelters where maintaining social distance is difficult, double up with family members, or travel to other states, putting their health at risk.77 Minnesota and Delaware’s moratoria offered some of the nation’s more stringent policies to help families avoid housing instability and financial hardship. Under their original moratoria, both states halted the filing and court processes for hearing eviction cases and prohibited law enforcement from physically evicting tenants. Minnesota’s eviction moratorium includes enforcement mechanisms such as fines, whereas Delaware’s moratorium prohibited utility companies from terminating service. The protections offered by moratoria are temporary, and some of them have expired, so the states expect to see a flood of evictions when the moratoria are fully revoked. If Minnesota and Delaware rescind the moratoria, the recent order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will protect residents from eviction due to nonpayment of rent through December 31, 2020.78 Both states have reopened courts and have begun to assess the backlog of cases. Emergency rental and mortgage assistance financed through CRF in both states as well as extended unemployment insurance benefits can help families pay for housing needs, and, in turn, help landlords recoup financial losses. As states lift moratoria, resource sharing across state agencies and nonprofit and legal aid organizations will be critical in raising awareness among tenants and landlords about programs available to assist them.

Related Information

Legal Aid Organization Assists North Carolinians Facing Eviction

  1. The White House. 2020a. "Executive Order on Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 by Providing Assistance to Renters and Homeowners."
  2. Emily Benfer, Eric Dunn, Norrinda Brown Hayat, and Rachel Blake. 2020. "What an Effective Eviction Moratorium Must Include"; "COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard Methodology," Eviction Lab website ( Accessed 9 September 2020.
  3. Interview with Jennifer Ho, 1 July 2020.
  4. Minnesota Housing Partnership. 2019. "State of the State's Housing 2019 Biennial report of the Minnesota Housing Partnership."
  5. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Midwest Information Office: Minnesota" ( Accessed 30 June 2020.
  6. Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. "Unemployment Insurance Statistics" ( Accessed 9 September 2020.
  7. Interview with Jennifer Ho.
  8. State of Minnesota Executive Department. 2020a. "Emergency Executive Order 20-14 Suspending Evictions and Writs of Recovery During the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency."
  9. Ibid; State of Minnesota Executive Department. 2020. "Emergency Executive Order 20-73 Clarifying Executive Order 20-14 Suspending Evictions and Writs of Recovery During the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency"; Interview with Jennifer Ho.
  10. Interview with Jennifer Ho; State of Minnesota Executive Department 2020a.
  11. Interview with Katherine Kelly, 7 July 2020.
  12. Interview with Jennifer Ho.
  13. State of Minnesota Executive Department 2020a.
  14. Interview with Jennifer Ho.
  15. The Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. 2020. "AG Ellison, Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Flanagan announce financial institutions will provide additional mortgage-relief options to homeowners facing hardship due to COVID-19," 2 July press release.
  16. Email correspondence with Sadaf Rahmani, 9 July 2020.
  17. The Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison 2020.
  18. Interview with Jennifer Ho.
  19. Housing Link. 2020. "Paying Rent During the COVID-19 Pandemic"; "Simplifying Affordable Housing," Housing Link website ( Accessed 3 August 2020.
  20. Interview with Libby Murphy, 2 July 2020; Minnesota Unemployment Insurance. "Information Handbook" ( Accessed 3 September 2020.
  21. The White House. 2020. "Memorandum on Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019."
  22. The Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison 2020a. "Attorney General Ellison ready to enforce order suspending evictions during emergency," 24 March press release.
  23. State of Minnesota Executive Department 2020a; Interview with Katherine Kelly, 7 July 2020; The Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison 2020b. "Attorney General Ellison files another lawsuit to protect tenants from forced removal during COVID-19 pandemic," 17 April press release.
  24. Interview with Katherine Kelly; The Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison 2020b; The Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. 2020. "Attorney General Ellison's office wins halt to illegal removal of tenants during emergency," 7 April press release.
  25. The Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison 2020a; Interview with Katherine Kelly.
  26. Email correspondence with Katherine Kelly, 4 September 2020.
  27. Ibid.
  28. Marissa Evans. 2020. "Minnesota attorney general's office fielded 400 complaints since eviction proceedings stopped," Star Tribune, 6 May.
  29. Interview with Katherine Kelly.
  30. "COVID-19," Housing Link website ( Accessed 21 July 2020; "We are here to help," Minnesota Multi Housing Association website ( Accessed 21 July 2020; "COVID-19 Updates and Resources," Minnesota Multi Housing Association website ( Accessed 21 July 2020; "Minnesota Multi Housing Association," Minnesota Multi Housing Association website ( Accessed 21 July 2020.
  31. Brian Arola. 2020. "Evictions could increase demand for homeless services," Mankato Free Press, 12 May.
  32. Interview with Libby Murphy.
  33. Minnesota Legislature. Office of the Revisor of Statutes. 2019. 484.014 Housing Records; Expungement of Eviction Information; Susan Fleurant and Colleen Healy Boufides. 2020. "Eviction Expungement: A Civil Legal Tool to Improve Housing Stability and Health," The Network for Public Health Law.
  34. Interview with Libby Murphy.
  35. Minnesota Management and Budget. 2020. "Interim Budget Projection."
  36. Interview with Libby Murphy.
  37. Jung Hyun Choi and Caitlin Young. 2020. "Owners and Renters of 6.2 Million Units in Small Buildings Are Particularly Vulnerable during the Pandemic," Urban Institute.
  38. Interview with Libby Murphy.
  39. "Minnesota," Eviction Lab website ( Accessed 28 May 2020.
  40. Interview with Libby Murphy.
  41. State of Minnesota Executive Department. 2020b. "Emergency Executive Order 20-79; Rescinding Emergency Executive Orders 20-14 and 20-73, Modifying the Suspension of Evictions and Writs of Recovery During the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency."
  42. State of Minnesota Executive Department. 2020. "Emergency Executive Order 20-89 Extending the Emergency Executive Order 20-89 Extending the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency Declared in Executive Order 20-01."
  43. Interview with Jennifer Ho.
  44. State of Minnesota. 2020. "Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan Announce $100 Million in Housing Assistance, Homelessness Prevention"; Minnesota Housing. "COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program" ( Accessed 3 August 2020.
  45. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 2020. "CARES Act Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Round 2 Funding under COVID-19 Supplemental Appropriations"; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 2020a. "HUD Provides Remaining $2.96 billion in CARES Act Funding for Homeless Populations Amid Coronavirus Recovery," 9 June press release; Interview with Jennifer Ho.
  46. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Mid-Atlantic Information Office — Delaware" ( Accessed 8 June 2020.
  47. Brandon Holveck. 2020. "Unemployment claims triple Delaware's previous monthly record due to coronavirus shutdown," Delaware News Journal, 2 April.
  48. U.S. Department of Labor. Employment & Training Administration. "Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Data - Report r539cy" ( Accessed 8 June 2020.
  49. State of Delaware. 2020. "Declaration of a State of Emergency for the State of Delaware due to a Public Health Threat"; State of Delaware. 2020. "Sixth Extension of the Declaration of a State Emergency for the State of Delaware due to a Public Health Threat."
  50. Stephen Metraux, Mimi Rayl, Julia O'Hanlon, and Sean O'Neill. 2020. "Addressing the Threat of COVID-19-Related Housing Instability and Displacement in Delaware," Center for Community Research and Service & Institute for Public Administration, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Policy and Public Administration, University of Delaware, 2, 5.
  51. National Low Income Housing Coalition. 2020. "2020 Delaware Housing Profile."
  52. State of Delaware. 2020a. "Sixth Modification of the Declaration of a State of Emergency for the State of Delaware Due to a Public Health Threat"; State of Delaware. 2020b. "Twenty-Third Modification of the Declaration of a State of Emergency for the State of Delaware Due to a Public Health Threat."
  53. State of Delaware 2020a; "Delaware Eviction," Landlord Guidance website ( Accessed 10 July 2020.
  54. Interview with John Whitelaw, 10 July 2020; Isabel Hughes. 2020. "Delaware courts and coronavirus: What's postponed, what's still scheduled," Delaware News Journal, 16 March.
  55. Interview with John Whitelaw; State of Delaware 2020a.
  56. State of Delaware 2020a.
  57. State of Delaware. 2020. "Fourteenth Modification of the Declaration of a State of Emergency for the State of Delaware Due to a Public Health Threat"; State of Delaware. 2020. "Eighth Modification of the Declaration of a State of Emergency for the State of Delaware Due to a Public Health Threat."
  58. State of Delaware 2020a.
  59. Interview with John Whitelaw; State of Delaware 2020b.
  60. Interview with John Whitelaw.
  61. Justice of the Peace Court of the State of Delaware. 2020. "In the Justice of the Peace Court for the State of Delaware Standing Order No. 5 Concerning COVID-19 Precautionary Measures and Scheduling of Cases," Document provided by John Whitelaw.
  62. State of Delaware 2020b.
  63. State of Delaware 2020b; Interview with John Whitelaw; Email correspondence with John Whitelaw, 3 September 2020.
  64. Interview with John Whitelaw; State of Delaware 2020b; State of Delaware. 2020c. "Gov. Carney, AG Jennings, DSHA, Delaware Judiciary Announce Joint Effort on Foreclosure & Eviction Prevention." 1 July press release.
  65. Interview with John Whitelaw.
  66. Jeanne Kuang. 2020. "Rent Was Due This Week amid The Coronavirus Crisis. What If You Couldn't Pay?" Delaware News Journal, 4 April; "What Does DAA Do?" Delaware Apartment Association website ( Accessed 13 July 2020.
  67. Interview with John Whitelaw; Email correspondence with John Whitelaw; "Delaware," Eviction Lab website ( Accessed 28 May 2020.
  68. Stephen Metraux et al., 7–8.
  69. State of Delaware 2020b.
  70. State of Delaware 2020c.
  71. Ibid; HUD Exchange. "Delaware" ( Accessed 6 July 2020; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 2020a.
  72. State of Delaware 2020c.
  73. Delaware State Housing Authority. 2020. "Governor Carney and DSHA Announce Housing Assistance Program"; National Conference on State Legislatures. 2020. "State Actions on Coronavirus Relief Funds"; Interview with John Whitelaw.
  74. State of Delaware. 2020. "Governor Carney, DSHA, New Castle County Announce $40 Million in Housing Assistance"; Delaware State Housing Authority. "Delaware Housing Assistance Program" ( Accessed 20 August 2020; National Conference on State Legislatures.
  75. State of Delaware 2020b.
  76. "Delaware COVID-19 Emergency Response Initiative," Delaware Community Foundation website ( Accessed 13 July 2020; "COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund Grantees," Delaware Community Foundation website ( Accessed 14 July 2020.
  77. The White House 2020a.
  78. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. "Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Preventthe Further Spread of COVID-19," Federal Register: 85:173, 55292, 55297.


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