COVID-19 & Evictions

Are you unable to pay rent and facing possible eviction? It’s important to know your rights, seek housing counseling assistance, and talk to your landlord about your options.  

Your landlord cannot evict you without a court order. There are several steps that need to occur in order for an eviction to be processed. 

Talk to your landlord and learn what your options are.  

  • You’ll need documentation of your financial situation, such as proof of unemployment benefits and/or a letter from your employer. Many landlords are working with tenants by waiving late fees, creating payment plans or allowing tenants to relocate to another unit, depending on availability, or applying security deposits to unpaid rent. 
  • See a sample payment plan agreement (PDF).
  • See another sample payment plan agreement (PDF).
  • After you talk with your landlord or management company, you should submit a written request that asks for an installment plan, to waive late fees or penalties, to apply your security deposit to unpaid rent, or postpone your rent payment. See sample documents here.
  • Be sure to keep any and all documentation of changes to your lease and/or rent payment amounts in writing.

Do You Live in Housing Covered by the CARES Act?

  • Search here to see if your housing is covered by the CARES Act
  • If it is, your landlord could not charge late fees or begin an eviction case against you for unpaid rent until September 8, 2020. 
  • Starting September 8, your landlord can file an eviction case in court, but must give you a written notice at least 30 days before. They can also begin charging you a late fee on unpaid balances. Your landlord can still file an eviction lawsuit against you for other reasons, such as lease violations.

Preparing for Eviction Cases

  • On August 7, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam announced a temporary statewide moratorium on eviction proceedings in Virginia. The moratorium, which will begin on Monday, August 10 and remain in effect through Monday, September 7, halts all eviction proceedings related to failure to pay rent. 
  • After September 7, or when the moratorium expires, you may need to plan in case of eviction.
  • For free information and legal advice from an attorney about your case, call Legal Services of Northern Virginia at 703-778-6800 or visit their website.
  • You may be able to postpone your case for up to 60 days, if you lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have been served an eviction notice.
  • This does not make the case go away, it simply delays it to give you time to get together any rent money you owe. 
  • You must go to your first court date and appear in person before the judge (or request a remote hearing) with written proof of either:
    • A paystub showing zero dollars in earnings for a pay period within March 12 and June 10, 
    • A copy of a furlough notification letter or essential employee status letter indicating the employee’s status as nonessential due to the governor’s state of emergency, OR
    • Any other documentation that shows decreased income due to COVID-19, using this form.
  • Ask the judge for a 60-day "continuance."

Helpful Resources

You may feel scared, but take action: reach out to people who can help.

Related Documents

Information for Landlords

Landlords who may be facing financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19 can find helpful information on engaging with at-risk tenants while remaining in compliance with fair housing laws and understand the key elements of a repayment plan. 

Learn more about options for landlords, including sample rent repayment agreements, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.(PDF)