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As eviction moratorium ends, tenant protections remain in place
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As eviction moratorium ends, tenant protections remain in place

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Va Rent Relief Program

Virginia Dept. of Housing & Community Development administers the Rent Relief Program.

A staffer with Culpeper-based Foothills Housing Network provided recent information regarding the status of evictions in Virginia.

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the most recent COVID-19 Eviction Ban which was to expire on Oct. 3, according to Foothills Housing Network program coordinator Rebecca Wareham. Tenant protections that remain place, according to Legal Aid Works, are:

-Until July 1, 2022, all residential landlords must provide 14-day nonpayment notices to tenants who don’t pay rent by the due date.

-Until July 1, 2022, landlords with more than four rentals must offer payment plans to tenants late on rent.

-Tenants may apply for Rent Relief Program at dhcd.virginia.gov/rmrp or for questions contact 703/962-1884 or rrp@dhcd.virginia.gov.

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Rossemary Martinez is the Bilingual Housing Navigator for the Fredericksburg area. Legal Aid Works serves Culpeper as well and has an office here on Sunset Lane.

Martinez can assist eligible tenants and landlords with completing their rent relief applications, as well as updating applications that have already been filed. Make an appointment: rmartinez@legalaidworks.org or 540/371-1105 ext. 128.

Basic eligibility requirements for the rent relief are for those with a household income at or below 80 percent Area Median Income; rent amount at or below 150 percent Fair Market Rent or loss of income related directly or indirectly to COVID-19, or increase in expenses related directly or indirectly to COVID-19

A landlord may not evict a tenant without following court eviction process. The landlord first sends a written notice and next the landlord files an unlawful detainer (eviction) lawsuit. The landlord must get a court order of possession, followed by a Writ of Eviction, according to Legal Aid Works Housing Paralegal Jean Cunningham. Contact jcunningham@legalaidworks.org.

Through Sept. 28, tenants in eviction lawsuits for nonpayment of rent can get case postponed for 60 days by coming to court with written proof of reduced income. After an eviction lawsuit for nonpayment of rent, tenants have the right to pay to a zero balance on or before the court date and have the lawsuit dismissed.

After that, tenants have the right to pay to a zero balance up to 48 hours before a Sheriff’s eviction and have the eviction cancelled. If the landlord has 5 or more rentals, tenants may use these rights at any time. Otherwise, tenants may use these rights only once in a 12-month period, according to Legal Aid Works.

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