Update on Eviction Protections in Virginia
Tuesday, August 31st, 2021
A year and a half into the pandemic, laws around tenants’ right continue to change at a rapid pace. Here’s a quick update on what you need to know about eviction protections and important resources that can help those struggling to stay safely housed.
CDC Eviction Protections Have Ended
Last week the US Supreme Court struck down the latest eviction protections issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Thankfully, Virginia has a number of laws and programs that continue to help tenants avoid eviction.
State Eviction Protections Have Been Extended
Starting August 10, 2021, landlords cannot evict tenants for unpaid rent until June 30, 2022 unless they first:
1. Give tenants information about the Virginia Rent Relief Program,
2. Apply for rental assistance on the tenant’s behalf, and
3. Wait 45 days for the rental assistance application to get approved (14 days for renewal applications).
Free Rental Assistance is Available!
The Virginia Rent Relief Program (RRP) is a critical lifeline that can pay rent, past due amounts, and court costs for qualifying tenants as far back as April 2020.
To see if you are eligible for rent relief and/or to apply online on your own, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility. To apply over the phone, call 703-962-1884.
Get Help Applying for Rental Assistance
VPLC’s Housing Advocacy team recently added two new Rental Assistance Navigators who are helping Eviction Legal Helpline callers and other tenants with their RRP applications
To get help with applying for RRP assistance, call the Eviction Legal Helpline at 1-833-NoEvict (1-833-663-8428) or call the Statewide Legal Aid Helpline at 1-866-LEGLAID (1-866-534-5243) to reach rental assistance navigators in your area. Other nonprofits and legal aid organizations throughout Virginia also have staff who can help with rent relief applications.
60-Day Delays of Eviction Cases Available for Some
If you have lost income at any point during the pandemic and are being sued for unpaid rent, you may have the right to a 60-day delay of your eviction case. This will not make your case go away. It gives you more time to catch up on rent or find new housing. This option is available only until September 28, 2021.
To get a 60-day delay:
1. Show up to your first court date.
2. Bring written proof that you lost income between March 12, 2020 and June 30, 2021. (For example, paystubs showing lower income, a letter from your employer, paperwork from your unemployment benefits application, bank statements showing lower deposits, etc. If you do not have access to those documents, the court may accept an affidavit, a sample of which can be found here.)
3. Ask the judge for a 60-day “continuance.” Be prepared to answer questions about how the loss of income is due to COVID, like if your hours were cut because the employer lost business or you had to stay home to watch children home from school, etc.
For more information, visit housing.vplc.org.