Thousands of June Evictions Will Flood Courts

As of Friday, Richmond’s General District Court has nearly 1200 evictions scheduled for the month of June. Although the city has an eviction diversion program meant to help people stay in their homes, housing advocates say COVID-19 will limit its reach.

Marty Wegbreit is director of litigation with the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society said, “these negotiations happened at the courthouse, on the day of a person’s hearing. But now, that’s unlikely. 

The eviction diversion program [is] going to require a major retooling, because the glue that has held it together has been the volunteer conciliators. It's unrealistic to think that anybody is going to do volunteer work that will expose them to unnecessary risk.” 

This 60-day extension is part of a new state law that went into effect last month. That extension is meant to offer tenants a grace period to catch up on missed rent before having to face eviction in court.

Other protections include another new Virginia law that caps late fees at either 10% of a person’s monthly rent or the total amount owed a federal eviction moratorium for residents of public and subsidized housing and a moratorium on eviction filings for renters living in homes with federally-backed mortgages. Wegbreit stressed the importance of tenants knowing about these measures to keep them in their homes — and to be at their court hearings to bring them up. 

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