Eviction Spotlight: Disabled Vietnam veteran faces eviction after Social Security check arrives late

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

We often hear that tenants are the problem when it comes to evictions and that landlord harassment only comes from a few “bad apples,” but we witness a pattern of landlords taking advantage of low-income Virginians through our eviction helpline. The Eviction Spotlight series seeks to shed light on these stories.

Paul* is a disabled Vietnam veteran who has a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher and lives in a 160-unit apartment complex in Henrico, Virginia. When his February 2019 Social Security check arrived late, Paul was forced to pay his rent late and as a result was assessed a late fee. He paid the rent and the late fee as soon as he received his check.

On the same day, the landlord filed an Unlawful Detainer (UD) against Paul and told him that to solve the problem, he needed to pay court costs and a legal fee for the UD as well as any late fees he had accrued. The Eviction Legal Helpline explained how the law works—that it’s legal for landlords to apply payments to the oldest debts first, resulting in cascading late fees, and that they can charge for court costs and attorney fees if they have to file a UD. We referred the client to Central Virginia Legal Aid Society (CVLAS), who represented him and successfully got the UD dismissed.

*Name has been changed to protect the client’s identity.

If you have questions or concerns around evictions in Virginia, call our Eviction Legal Helpline at 1-833-NoEvict.

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