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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.

On Thursday, July 16, 2020, Governor Northam announced the adoption of statewide emergency workplace safety standards in response to COVID-19. These first-in-the-nation safety rules will protect Virginia workers by mandating appropriate personal protective equipment, sanitation, social distancing, infectious disease preparedness and response plans, record keeping, training, and hazard communications in workplaces across the Commonwealth. 

State of Emergency 

Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency on March 12, 2020.

Eviction

Status: Eviction Cases and Enforcement Suspended

Supreme Court Order

  • Action: Effective August 10, 2020, the Supreme Court of Virginia suspended and continued the issuance of writs of eviction pursuant to unlawful detainer actions related to nonpayment of rent through September 1, 2020
  • COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: No
  • Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.

HB 340: Civil Relief for Furloughed Employees and Contractors

  • 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:
  • furlough letter;
  • pay stub issued by a federal agency showing zero dollars in earnings for any pay period within the closure of the US government; or
  • 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.
  • Documentation showing reduction in income due to COVID-19.
  • Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) is designed to support and ensure housing stability across the commonwealth during the coronavirus pandemic. Depending on availability of funds and household need, the RMRP may provide financial assistance for rent or mortgage payments for eligible households. This includes financial assistance for rent or mortgage payments past due beginning April 1, 2020 and onward. Financial assistance is a one-time payment with opportunity for renewal based on availability of funding and the household’s need for additional assistance and continued eligibility.

To qualify, renters or homeowners have to show proof of income — unemployment compensation counts — and a valid lease or mortgage statement, or simply documentation from the landlord confirming they are renting that home. Eligible homeowners and renters can apply and get one-time financial assistance to cover payments back to April 1 and going forward. People applying must have a rent or mortgage at or below 150% of the fair market rent and an income at or below 80% of the median area income. But from now until July 20, households with a gross household income at or below 50% of the area median income will get priority.

Rent Freeze

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. 

Price-Gouging Law

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

Alexandria 

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Alexandria is now accepting applications for $600 per month for three months of emergency rental assistance for residents affected by COVID-19 and who are living beneath the median household income.

The emergency funds have been made available via $13.9 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and will be provided to residents regardless of their citizenship status, according to the city. Additionally, the program flier has been translated into English, Spanish, Arabic, and Amharic.

Applications are being accepted through Alex311 through Friday, May 29. Residents can also call 703-746-4990 for a hard copy of the application. The first round of payments could be made immediately upon approval, according to the city’s housing director.

Charlottesville

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

On June 15, 2020, Charlottesville City Council unanimously voted to create the Housing RELIEF Fund to address the City’s housing crisis due to COVID-19. The Fund provides short-term financial assistance to tenants and landlords in the form of rent payments. The program focuses on providing assistance to the following groups:

1.) Individuals residing in the City who were recently released from a correctional institution (from January 2020 to present).

2.) Individuals and households in the City that are experiencing homelessness, and more specifically, households with children under the age of 18.

3.) Landlords who have rental tenants that reside in the City and are at risk of experiencing homelessness due to nonpayment of rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Housing RELIEF Fund opens on Monday, July 13th. Fund prioritization, which is based on household income, is as follows:

  • Monday, July 13th to Friday, July 24th - Households with a Gross Household Income at or below 50% of AMI
  • Monday, July 27th to Friday, July 31st - Households with a Gross Household Income at or below 51% to 60% of AMI
  • Monday, August 3rd - Households with a Gross Household Income at or below 61% to 80% of AMI

 

Please note that regardless of household income, you can apply at any time once the application process is open on Monday, July 13th. However, if your gross household income is above 50% of AMI, you will not be eligible for funding until the abovementioned dates.

Resident Application – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/housingrelieftenant

Housing Provider Application – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/housingrelieflandlord

For those needing assistance with the application, please call us at 434-970-3117 to schedule a virtual appointment. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the Downtown Job Center at [email protected] or 434-970-3117.

Henrico

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The Henrico COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance (COVID-19-ERA) program provides emergency rental assistance to income-eligible households economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through job loss, furlough, reduction in hours of pay, and/or extraordinary child/adult care expenses as a result of school or daycare closures. Assistance is intended for the purpose of preventing homelessness. Applicants who do not face imminent homelessness because they have financial resources, have made suitable arrangements with their landlord to avoid loss of housing, or who have family, friends, or others who would assist them to avoid homelessness do not qualify for these grants.

Rental assistance is made possible through the use of Community Development Block Grant-CV (CDBG-CV) & Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG-CV) funds. CDBG-CV & ESG-CV funds will be used for emergency rental payments on behalf of income-eligible households economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Payment will be made directly to a bona fide landlord, property management agent or company to pay down rentals in arrears.

Emergency rental assistance will be made on behalf of eligible Henrico residents while funds last. Payments will be made up to $1,500 per month, for a maximum period of 4 months. Payments are limited to rental arears, delinquency fees, and court costs accrued during the pandemic, and are limited to property currently occupied by the applicant. Payments are limited to one per household.

Loudoun County 

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

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.

Virginia Beach

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The City of Virginia Beach was offering a program to prevent evictions for low-and moderate-income renters in Virginia Beach experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

According to a release by the city, the Virginia Beach Eviction Prevention Assistance program will provide eligible households with short-term assistance towards rental arrears since April 1, 2020 and one month’s rent. Assistance is provided one time, and payments are made directly to the property manager.

On May 4, the city said due to the large volume of pre-applications received, Virginia Beach Housing & Neighborhood Preservation is suspending the pre-application process for the Eviction Prevention Assistance program effective noon on Tuesday, May 5.

Case workers will continue to review, and process pre-applications submitted before the cut-off deadline. Applicants will be contacted by phone for further screening.

An announcement will be made if, and when, the pre-application process is reopened, the city said. A portion of CARES Act funds the city received will be used in this program for rent assistance to prevent evictions.