Even with federal moratorium, thousands still face eviction in Richmond

The Supreme Court of Virginia on Friday rebuffed a request from Gov. Ralph Northam to extend a temporary freeze on physically removing tenants from their homes amid the public health crisis. A new federal moratorium would keep that from happening, but only if tenants take action to trigger its protections. Otherwise, landlords can still pursue their eviction and, now, removal.

As many as 262,000 people across Virginia are at risk of eviction, according to the RVA Eviction Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“You’re talking about thousands of people who are going to be impacted, if not ultimately displaced,” said Palmer Heenan, an Equal Justice Works housing justice program attorney working at the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.

Through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President Donald Trump’s administration established a partial eviction moratorium through the end of the calendar year. It is not a blanket ban. A tenant must attest to their inability to make rent payments and meet other criteria in a sworn declaration to their landlord to secure the protection.

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