Resources for Renters
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Gov. Northam signs revised state budget making key investments and providing critical relief during pandemic.
CDC-issued eviction moratorium has been extended by the recent federal stimulus package, to suspend eviction proceedings through Jan. 31, 2021. You must sign a declaration of eligibility and deliver it to your landlord or person with legal right to possession of the property; a link is provided below.
Alternate Languages (Click “Housing and Homelessness Resources on COVID-19” to find a Declaration of Eligibility and fact sheet in other languages.)
Virginia launches the Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP). Do you or someone you know need help with rent or mortgage payments? To see if you’re eligible, call 2-1-1 from any phone or visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility.
Still waiting for your stimulus check? The IRS has a website for checking on the status of your Economic Impact Payment:
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Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam is focused on keeping Virginians in their homes and ensuring people experiencing homelessness are provided shelter. The Governor is focused on the immediate public health need to keep Virginians in their homes and is seeking federal assistance for rent relief for COVID-19-impacted Virginians. The Governor and General Assembly have passed legislation that caps late fees on rent and provides additional state COVID-19-related protections from evictions and foreclosure. These are short-term protections, as rent will continue to accrue. The key during this unprecedented time is knowing your rights, knowing the housing counseling services available to you, and communicating with your landlord.
If You Can’t Pay Your Rent:
Know your rights, seek housing counseling assistance and talk to your landlord. If you are unable to pay your rent because of COVID-19, the first thing you should do is know your rights, seek housing counseling resources and then contact your landlord to learn what your options are.
If you are a Housing Choice Voucher recipient, contact your voucher agency as soon as possible so they can work with you toward a solution. Starting on July 25, 2020, your landlord or the housing authority can give you a 30-day eviction notice if you have not paid your rent. The National Housing Law Project (NHLP) and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) have collaborated to produce an easy-to-read FAQ flyer explaining the federal eviction moratorium. Get the flyer.
Understand the consequences. Even though new evictions were previously suspended through July 24, 2020, and even if your landlord allows you to skip one or more payments, the rent will need to be repaid eventually. Once the current crisis has passed, tenants may fall under various state and federal protections, but some property owners may be able to collect full payment or raise your rent to recover missed payments. Be sure to discuss this with your landlord and double-check that advice with a housing counselor or legal representation so you understand any potential future consequences of skipping rental payments now, and the specifics of what protections are available to you.
Provide documentation: Provide your landlord proof that you have been financially impacted by COVID-19.
Ask for a grace period: If you just need a bit of extra time before you can make rent payments again, request a grace period from your landlord to make your payments and have your late fees waived. Most landlords understand and will be willing to work with you on this.
Discuss your payment plan options: To avoid having to pay a lump sum payment of your past-due rent, request a payment plan from your landlord and have it spread over a longer period of time. Once you agree on a payment plan, ask for the plan in writing.
File for unemployment: Workers whose jobs were halted because of COVID-19 are likely eligible for unemployment benefits.
If you are experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing your housing, contact your local homeless crisis response system.
The Virginia Residential Landlord-Tenant Handbook provides guidelines for tenant and landlord rights. For tenants in hotels or motels, if the room or suite has been the tenant’s primary residence for more than 90 days or there is a written lease for at least 90 days, it is illegal for a landlord to evict the tenant without getting a court order and involving the sheriff’s office. The halt on evictions does apply to these types of circumstances. If you are facing eviction, if your landlord attempts to lock you out without taking you to court, or if you have questions about your rights, contact Virginia Legal Aid by calling 1-866-LEGL-AID or get legal advice from the Eviction Legal Helpline by calling 1-833-NoEvict. Please do pay your rent or mortgage if you are able, as these costs will continue to accumulate. The Virginia Poverty Law Center has created a website dedicated to COVID-19 Legal Response in Virginia.
Managing Your Debt:
If you have debt, you should pay it off in the following order, as a general rule:
Outstanding utility bills
Other outstanding debt
Mortgage and Housing Assistance During COVID-19 - information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)