Northam announces temporary moratorium on evictions statewide

Northam announces temporary moratorium on evictions statewide
Governor Ralph Northam has announced a temporary statewide moratorium on evictions across Virginia. (Source: WAFB)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam has announced a temporary statewide moratorium on evictions across Virginia.

Northam requested the moratorium in a letter sent to Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Lemons over the weekend.

The order issued by Lemons will remain in effect through June 28 and modifies the earlier Declaration of Judicial Emergency in response to COVID-19.

In his letter to the court, Governor Northam announced the Administration’s creation of a comprehensive rent relief program for tenants but noted that the program wouldn’t be operational until after July 1.

This will halt all eviction proceedings for a nearly three week period while the Northam administration implements a rent relief program for Virginians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am grateful to the Chief Justice for granting this order, and for the activists who have been working tirelessly on this important issue,” said Northam. “Access to safe and stable housing is critically important, and this action will keep thousands of families in their homes as we work to get them the support they need.”

Earlier on Monday, Richmond Mayor Stoney has asked Northam to issue a statewide moratorium on evictions until the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.

Stoney said that Richmond has been one of the hardest-hit areas in the state with higher COVID-19 cases per 100,000.

“I appreciate the important steps your administration has already taken to protect tenants from eviction during this pandemic. The right to continue eviction cases for sixty-days and the new limitation on late fees are sources of deeded relief. I urge you to do even more to allow Virginian financially hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic to stay safe and secure in their homes,” Stoney wrote in a letter.

Richmond has one of the highest eviction rates in the country, but that rate was slowing in 2019, and then the pandemic hit.

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