‘I’m looked at as a dollar sign’: Richmond averaging 1,300 eviction filings per month

Tuesday, NBC12 sat in on a trio of hearings inside John Marshall Courthouse over impending evictions.
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 2:24 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond courts are now averaging about 1,300 eviction filings each month.

On Tuesday, NBC12 sat in on a trio of hearings inside John Marshall Courthouse over impending evictions. People spent the day pleading their cases, hopeful a judge will help keep a roof over their heads.

“I’m not looked at as a human being. I’m looked at as a dollar sign,” said Ms. Mo, a Richmond resident dealing with eviction.

Ms. Mo, as she likes to be called, is facing eviction Monday. She and her college-age daughter are about $6,000 behind on rent. During the pandemic, Ms. Mo got COVID-19 and says the medical bills piled up.

“So the amount increases. It gets to a larger amount that’s you’re so buried you can’t get out,” said Ms. Mo.

Martin Wegbreit, with Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, says this month alone, 255 families are scheduled for or in the middle of an eviction. He adds that the number could top 300 by the end of the month.

“It is an uphill battle because the court seems very inclined to protect property rights and less inclined to protect personal rights,” said Wegbreit.

Wegbreit’s clients from this case live at James River Pointe on the city’s south side. For Ms. Mo, there’s no plan come Monday’s eviction.

“That’s a good question. I can honestly and sincerely tell you I don’t know,” said Ms. Mo.

Wegbreit says rising rent prices, no more rent relief, and a lack of availability are all contributing factors to this crisis. A Richmond judge sided with the landlord. The trio’s cases will not be delayed, and evictions will move forward.

“Those are way in excess of pre-pandemic levels. The situation is grim and worse than it was four and a half years ago,” said Wegbreit.

The attorney representing the landlord in these cases declined to comment. But in court, he said landlords have to deal with their own expenses and property tax bills.