Will Evictions Pick Up When Courts Reopen Monday?

May 14, 2020

Many of Virginia’s courts will resume hearing non-emergency cases on Monday… that includes eviction lawsuits.

With judges facing a backlog of cases, tenants and legal advocates are bracing for what’s to come.

The eviction hearings will resume in spite of a CARES Act moratorium in place through July 25. That’s because the mandate only applies to landlords with a federally backed mortgage, according to Marty Wegbreit at the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.   "And that’s only about a third of tenancies in Virginia," Wegbreit says.

The remainder are subject to state rules. 

Earlier this month, the Virginia Supreme Court ordered judges to grant continuances ‘liberally’ for those impacted by COVID-19.   Wegbreit says many defendants aren’t aware of this. "A right that is not known is no better than no right that exists at all," he argues.

The recent Supreme Court order does not provide guidance on how to conduct a public outreach campaign. It does, however, encourage courts to minimize crowding and conduct remote hearings when possible.

Ultimately, it’s up to each local court to decide when it’s safe to resume operations. 

Click here to read the guidlines from the Virginia Supreme Court.

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