COVID-19 Legal FAQs for Renters in
This page has local legal information on residential (not commercial) renters’ issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not legal advice, and you should check with your local legal aid and courts for current information. Your local city or county may have additional protections for renters.
This page was last updated on July 7, 2020. It was reviewed by our volunteer attorney experts.
Its information is taken from these sources:Alaska Legislature SB 241 lawAlaska Court System Eviction FAQsAlaska Law HelpPrinceton Eviction Lab's COVID Policy ScorecardsColumbia Law School COVID-19 Eviction Moratoria analysisEnergy and Policy Institute Utility Disconnect Tracker
- Are there any special eviction protections for renters during COVID-19 in Alaska?
The Alaska Legislature had ordered a stop to all evictions for non-payment of rent, when the renter has provided a sworn statement of COVID-19 hardships.
This order went into effect on April 10, 2020 and ended on July 1, 2020. Evictions have since resumed.
Alaska renters may also have U.S. national protections against eviction that last through July 2020. Check here to see if you are eligible for them.
- What do the eviction protections mean for Alaskan renters?
Alaska's protections mean that up through June 30, 2020:
- Your landlord could still give you a notice to quit.
- Your landlord could not file an eviction claim in court against you if you have not paid rent due to a COVID-19 hardship and you have provided a sworn statement. They could file an eviction claim against you in other circumstances.
- Eviction hearings are still happening, and the court will still hear an eviction case against you.
- The court may still issue a new order, judgment, or writ of eviction against you.
- Law enforcement may still enforce an existing eviction order against you, to remove you from your home.
It also means that through the statewide emergency period, your utilities cannot be shut off for nonpayment, if you are able to document a COVID-19 hardship to the utility company.
Alaska renters may still have protections against eviction through national laws. Check here to see if you are eligible for national eviction protection.
- Do I still have to pay rent during COVID-19?
Yes, Alaska renters still need to pay rent during the emergency.
Also check with your local city or county government to see if they give renters any additional protections if they are struggling to pay rent during the emergency.
If you cannot pay rent, take steps to protect yourself:
- Communicate with your landlord, and make a sworn statement: To get protection against eviction for nonpayment of rent, you need to provide a sworn statement explaining why you cannot pay rent due to COVID-19. Find a sample letter you can use. You can also try to negotiate with your landlord to make a payment plan or get a temporary rent reduction. Get guidance on how to propose a rent modification to your landlord, and you can use the court's Rental Agreement Modification form.
- Get written records of all communication: Keep copies of any letter or email you send, and any responses from the landlord. Keep receipts for any payments you make. If you make a payment plan or rent agreement, make sure to get it in writing.
- Keep proof of COVID-19's impact on you: Collect documents about your COVID-19-related employment problems, health care issues, or other issues that affect your ability to pay rent. This includes letters from your employer, doctor, insurance provider, child care provider, schools, etc.
- Check for help: If you need financial assistance for housing costs, you may be able to get help. Anchorage has a special fund for rental assistance for its residents, that you can call 2-1-1 to learn more about.
- Can my landlord evict me during COVID-19 in Alaska?
Alaska renters cannot be evicted from their homes during the emergency period, if the reason for eviction is nonpayment of rent because of COVID-19 hardships.
Renters in other situations may still be evicted.
Once the emergency period ends, landlords can begin to bring evictions against renters once again.
If you receive a notice to quit from your landlord, or an eviction lawsuit, reach out for legal help.
- Can my utilities be shut off during COVID-19?
The Alaska State Legislature ordered that all utility companies must continue services for residents during the emergency period, if the renter shows to the utility company that they have a COVID-19 hardship. You can use this Hardship Statement form to make this declaration to your utility companies.
Renters must still pay their utility bills. If you need financial assistance for utility costs, you may be able to get help.
Landlords are never allowed to shut off a renter's utilities in an attempt to force the renter out. This is illegal. Reach out to a lawyer for help if this happens to you.
- Are you eligible for U.S. national protections against eviction?
Renters in 3 categories have special national protections against being evicted during the Emergency Period of March 27, 2020 to July 24 or 25, 2020. These national protections add onto any state and local protections you have.
Do you fit in any of these 3 categories?Your home’s owner has a federally backed mortgage loan or other guarantee (like through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae). Search if your home is covered.You pay rent through a federal assistance program like the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, Rural Development Voucher, or other 'covered housing' program.You live in Public Housing, where the government is your landlord.
If you are a renter in one of these 3 categories, the federal CARES Act section 4024 gives you these protections. (Remember, these protections add onto any state and local protections you have)
- Your landlord cannot file a new eviction lawsuit against you for not paying your rent during the Emergency Period. They can still evict you for other behavior, like drug abuse, other criminal activities, or other lease violations.
- Your landlord cannot charge you new fees or penalties for not paying your rent during the Emergency Period.
- After the Emergency Period ends, your landlord may not be able to evict you immediately.(Different states interpret the protections ending on July 24 or 25. Check with local lawyers to see about your state). If you have not paid your rent in full during the Emergency Period, your landlord must wait until the period ends before giving you a notice to vacate. For example, they may give you a notice on July 26, and you must be allowed until at least August 25 to leave the property.