RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and City Council President Cynthia Newbille are asking a judge to issue a 60-day eviction moratorium. 

The moratorium would include the filing and hearing of unlawful detainers and writs of eviction, and the issuance of judgements for possession.

In a two-page letter, Stoney said the City of Richmond is set to hear 1,451 eviction cases since the most recent statewide moratorium was lifted at the end of June. This is the highest number of eviction cases in the state. 

“Although Richmond is fortunate to have a funded Eviction Diversion Program, the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic require a significant expansion of our interventions,” Stoney wrote. 

“Standing up these efforts will take additional time, and it’s our belief that extending the moratorium on evictions by an additional 60 days will provide us the opportunity to get support systems in place to assist families facing unlawful detainers, but also to proactively support families through rent and mortgage relief to prevent the need for evictions to ever need to be filed, which will significantly reduce the trauma these families experience during these challenging times.” 

The two city leaders are also asking the judge to hold landlords accountable in eviction cases. 

The RVA Eviction lab found that 33 percent of eviction court filings in Richmond are against tenants who live in properties covered under the CARES act moratorium. This means landlords are unjustly filing for evictions against their tenants. 

If granted, Stoney and Newbille expect this moratorium to give the city more time to connect families with new funding through the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program and the $6 million in CARES ACT funding dedicated to this issue.