COVID-19 Information for Virginia
The purpose of this page is to provide apartment industry professionals with an overview of the issues affecting our industry with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The page is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. This resource is not intended to provide a mandatory standard of care for the industry.
State and Local Affiliates
Please remember to use your state or local apartment association as the primary resource for the most up-to-date information on your responsibilities. Find your local affiliate.
State Legal and Regulatory Information
We highly suggest you contact a local attorney before you decide to initiate an eviction action against a resident in the current environment as overlaying federal, state and county laws or restrictions on the judicial process may apply. This includes: issuing a notice to vacate, initiating any eviction-related action, or assessing fees or penalties on residents for nonpayment of rent or other lease violations. In addition to the below, you can access NAA's statutory information on late fees, eviction laws and other policy issues.
Shelter in Place
Effective, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order Sixty-Two, allowing specific localities in Northern Virginia to delay entering Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” plan to ease restrictions on certain business operations that were put in place in response to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Executive Order Sixty-Two allows the Northern Virginia localities to delay implementation of Phase One until midnight on Thursday, May 28, 2020 to allow those localities more time to meet the health metrics.
All of Virginia will reopen per Phase 1 guidelines on Friday, May 29, 2020.
State of Emergency
Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency on March 12, 2020.
- Action: The Supreme Court of Virginia suspended all non-essential proceedings, including new eviction cases until at least May 17, 2020. This order has not been extended.
- COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: Yes.
- Residents Responsible for Rent: No.
- Action: Moratorium on eviction for qualified federal employees or contractors or those affected by COVID19.
- Scope: Confers protections on government workers, contractors, or those affected financially by COVID-19 from evictions for nonpayment of rent. These individuals would be granted a 60-day continuance for unlawful detainer actions from the initial court date.
- Supporting Documentation Requirement: Examples include:
o furlough letter;
o pay stub issued by a federal agency showing zero dollars in earnings for any pay period within the closure of the US government; or
o a letter from a company under contract with the United States government issued and signed by an officer or owner of the company or by the company’s human resources director stating that the employee not receiving payment is directly attributable to a closure of the US government.
o Documentation showing reduction in income due to COVID-19.
Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.
Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance
No statewide emergency rental assistance for Virginia.
No rent freeze is in effect at the state or local level. Virginia is a Dillon’s rule state, meaning all authorities granted to local government are determined by the state government. See American Legislative Exchange Council for more details.
Under Virginia Code § 59.1-527, it is unlawful to charge exceedingly high prices for necessary goods and services during a declaration of emergency. Housing, lodging, and other forms of shelter are considered necessary under the language of this statute. Prices will be deemed exceedingly high should there be gross disparity between the price of a good or service and its average price 10 days prior to the declaration of emergency.
Local Legal and Regulatory Information
On April 7, 2020, the Board of Supervisors approved re-allocating $200,000 from the Eastern Loudoun County Home Revitalization Program to create the rental assistance program. The goal is to help ensure housing stability for low-income workers who have been furloughed, lost jobs or had work hours reduced due to the pandemic.
The terms of the program include:
- Income eligibility based on household size for households earning up to 70 percent of the state median income ($60,332 for a family of four).
- Direct payments made to landlords or property management companies on behalf of residents who qualify for the program.
- Assistance may be provided for up to three months of rent.
Residents who were current in their rent payments as of March 30 and who now need help paying rent may contact the county’s Information and Referral program at 703-777-0420. Members of the Department of Family Services’ Community Support Services team will verify income eligibility, conduct a case assessment, verify rent need and job impacts related to COVID-19. Applicants will be asked to submit related documents, such as a current lease and paperwork that shows a job loss or reduced income.
The program will continue as long as the local emergency declaration is in effect and funding is available.