Virginia’s Ban on Evictions Expired

July 20, 2020

Since the Virginia Supreme Court lifted the moratorium on evictions last month, 7,315 cases have been heard, according to information provided by Virginia Court Data. This private group makes case records searchable statewide since Virginia courts don’t. As of Saturday, 9,760 cases are scheduled to be heard through the end of August. 

Virginia is trying to help people stay in their homes, including a new $50 million pool of federal money the state received. But he and others say the state should be doing more. 

On Tuesday, after Newport News Del. Marcia “Cia” Price asked what can be done under the law to bar evictions during the pandemic, Virginia’s attorney general issued an advisory opinion saying a governor’s executive order is one possibility.

“Whether any particular executive order is an appropriate exercise of emergency power depends on the scope of the executive order and the facts and circumstances,” Attorney General Mark Herring wrote. 

Elaine Poon, an attorney with the Legal Aid Justice Center, said Herring’s opinion was clear: The governor has the authority to issue an executive order halting evictions, and he can look to other states where that’s happened as models.

“The next question is whether he will exercise the power to prevent the potentially thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of people who may become homeless without a moratorium,” Poon said in an email.

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