Steve Bullock today announced consumer protections to lessen the economic
impacts on Montanans during the COVID-19 statewide emergency by stopping
evictions, foreclosures and cancellation of utility services including water,
heating and internet service.
of my top priorities is continuing to find ways to ease the financial hardships
So long as this virus forces
Montanans to stay home to save lives, Montanans need a home to stay in,”
Governor Bullock said. “This order ensures that a loss of income won’t lead
to Montanans losing their homes or having the heat turned off if they can’t pay
the rent or make their monthly utility bill.”
duration of the Directive, landlords are prohibited from terminating a lease or
refusing to renew or extend the terms of a current lease agreement, at least on
a month-to-month basis. It also prohibits late fees or other penalties due to
late or nonpayment of rent, prohibits rent increases except for those
previously agreed upon and prohibits landlords from seeking damages in court
due to nonpayment of rent.
Directive also stops involuntary sales of homes, foreclosures, liens placed on
residential properties or late fees charged due to inability to pay mortgage
payments on time for the duration of the Directive.
Directive does not relieve tenants from paying rent or borrowers from paying
mortgages or other financial obligations related to homeownership.
the Directive prohibits suspension of utilities during the emergency, including
electricity, gas, sewage disposal, water, telephone, or internet services, and
prohibits late fees for bills due during the Directive.
federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) passed by
Congress on Friday includes additional funding for the Low Income Energy
Assistance Program (LIEAP), which helps low-income households with heating
homes, weatherization, and energy-related low-cost home repairs or
replacements. LIEAP in Montana is administered by DPHHS. To apply for LIEAP,
contact your local LIEAP (Human Resource Development Council) offices, call
1-833-317-1080 or visit the state’s LIHEAP website at
the Directive also requires public housing authorities to extend deadlines for
housing assistance recipients. It also requires the Montana Commissioner of
Banking, along with the Montana Department of Commerce, to identify tools that
could be used to bring Montanans relief from the threat of residential
foreclosure, and to promote housing stability.
Bullock declared a statewide emergency to respond to COVID-19 on March 12.The
Directive is effective now through April 10, 2020, in line with other
Directives, though it may be extended.