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Advocates Expect Evictions To Pick Up In September

In this Jan. 27, 2021, file photo, a For Rent sign is posted in Sacramento, Calif.
Rich Pedroncelli
In this Jan. 27, 2021, file photo, a For Rent sign is posted in Sacramento, Calif.

Landlords are legally required to seek federal rental relief before they evict anyone. But after all the notifications have been received and all the paperwork has been filled out, renters across Virginia who have been protected by the moratorium will eventually be facing eviction.

Steve Haner at the Thomas Jefferson Institute expects some volatility in the short term. "I think there's a big backlog of cases, and the first period will probably be a bit rugged," Haner predicts. "But in the long run, I think the changes Virginia has made will make eviction harder two years from now, five years from now, six years from now. And you will see fewer evictions than you used to."

Click here for more information about rental assistance in Virginia

So that's the long term. But for the immediate future, don't expect to see a bunch of evictions based on damage or drugs.

"There will not be a sudden rush to evict tenants based on violations of leases that have nothing to do with non-payment," says Christie Marra at the Virginia Poverty Law Center.
"As for whether there will be a big rush to the courthouse, we are concerned about that for the non-payment cases."

The clock is ticking for renters facing eviction. By mid-September, landlords might be able to start removing tenants who have not paid their rent -- assuming that they haven't been able to secure assistance or found a way to pay all that backlogged rent.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.