COVID-19 and Housing Rights
Authored By: Alaska Legal Services
Three Things to Know regarding COVID-19, Evictions, and Housing Rights in Alaska.
1. Can my landlord evict me during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A landlord may never “self-help” by locking a tenant out of a property. Instead, a landlord must obtain an eviction by giving proper notice to the tenant and then filing a Forcible Entry and Detainer (FED) action in court.
Recently, the Alaska Legislature passed a new law that stops any new eviction actions against tenants for non-payment of rent IF the tenant gives their landlord a signed statement declaring, under penalty of perjury, that they are suffering financial hardship because of COVID-19. This stoppage will continue until June 30, 2020, or until the Governor declares that the COVID-19 emergency is over. The stoppage does not protect tenants who have violated their lease in other ways
The court system has postponed all FED actions, both new actions or actions that were already in process, until at least May 31,2020. This may change. The order postponing cases will be reviewed every two weeks. You can check for new court orders on the Alaska Court System’s COVID-19 Response Page.
More information on proper notice and the FED process can be found in the Landlord and Tenant Issues section of this website.
2. I have an order of eviction but I am concerned that I am sick with COVID-19. What are my options?
Trial court judges may find good cause to stay, or halt, an outstanding eviction order based on the current public health emergency. If a tenant is subject to a quarantine order or is self-quarantined pursuant to public health guideline or doctor’s recommendation, then the eviction should be stayed. The court can later lift the stay when it determines the situation warrants it. You can request a stay by making a Motion for Stay—by filling out the motion form found here. You should also fill out an Affidavit explaining to the Judge why you are concerned that you may be sick and are quarantined. The affidavit form is here.
3. What if I can’t work and can’t pay my rent?
It is a good idea to contact your landlord if your income decreases. Communication is very important. If possible, try to come up with a plan for how you will pay the rent. For example, you can reach out for help from relatives and nonprofit agencies. You can find out if you qualify for unemployment. You can see if your landlord will agree to you repaying the late rent on a monthly payment plan after you go back to work.
If your landlord will not work with you concerning rent, then the landlord would have to follow Alaska law concerning any eviction by giving proper notice and filing a Forcible Entry and Detainer (FED) action in court. However, right now, the Alaska Legislature and Governor have stopped any new FED actions against tenants for non-payment of rent IF the tenant gives their landlord a signed statement declaring, under penalty of perjury, that they are suffering financial hardship because of COVID-19. This stoppage will until June 30, 2020, or until the Governor declares that the COVID-19 emergency is over
For information about Foreclosure during the COVID-19 pandemic, see Alaska Law Help's Foreclosure during COVID-19 page.
For information about Evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, see Alaska Law Help's Can I Be Evicted during COVID-19? page.