After eviction freeze lifted, rent programs for tenants accessible

Virginia News

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Poverty Law Center, Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, and Delegate Lashresce Aird hosted a “Renter’s ‘Know Your Rights’ Townhall” to educate tenants about their legal rights, in addition to new laws and programs in place during the pandemic.

While the statewide freeze on evictions has expired, a new rent relief program has begun. Virginia is using $50 million of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds (CARES act) to help people facing evictions as a result of the coronavirus crisis, called the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program.

RELATED: Two arrested in anti-eviction protest at John Marshall Courts Building in Richmond

To be eligible:

  • A person must have a valid lease in their name or other documentation showing a landlord-tenant relationship.
  • Loss of income due to COVID-19 – either loss of a job or a reduction of hours.
  • Monthly rent is at or below 150 percent of fair market rent.
    • For example: In the Richmond area, that’s less than $2,529 for a four-bedroom home.
      -A gross income at or below 80 percent of the area’s median income.

Anyone who has lost income in response to the pandemic and has an eviction court date before the end of the COVID-19 emergency may be eligible for a 60-day delay in their case. In order to do that, officials say tenants must show up to court, bring written proof lost income, and ask the judge for a 60-day continuance.

However, officials remind Virginia residents of three state laws landlords must adhere to, no matter the circumstance of tenants:

  • A landlord cannot cut off your utilities, lock you out, or take actions to deny you free use and enjoyment of a home.
  • You do not have to move out just because your landlord tells you to leave or files an eviction case against you.
  • A landlord must wait until they win in court and the sheriff has a writ to evict you.

Anyone facing issues or has a problem, contact: Eviction Legal Helpline:  1-833-NO-EVICTCentral Virginia Legal Aid Society: 804-862-1100 or 804-200-6046www.cvlas.org

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