Within the past several years, North Carolina and the federal government have enacted a number of protections for consumers in various aspects of litigation. For example, Congress recently enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,  which, among other things, provides various protections from eviction for tenants in properties with certain federally backed mortgages. Many people are familiar with at least some of the more recent state and federal enactments; however, the North Carolina Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is an oft-overlooked statute that can have a substantial impact on plaintiffs generally and, more specifically, on landlords and creditors.
On 25 July 2019, the SCRA was signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper. Like a 2003 federal statute of the same name, the SCRA’s purpose is to extend protections to active-duty military members in an effort to avoid evictions, default judgments, and other collection efforts and pending litigation during potential deployments or other times when they otherwise might not be in a position to participate in court proceedings. Unlike the federal SCRA, the North Carolina SCRA expands protections to members of the National Guard and has important ramifications for how creditors and property owners handle collecting debts and evicting tenants in North Carolina moving forward.