During most of the pandemic, there was a Federal Eviction Moratorium in place that prevented landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent. This moratorium was put in place to reduce the possibility of forced homelessness and the health risks associated with that under a State of Emergency. The Federal Eviction Moratorium has been lifted and the pandemic is no longer treated as a State of Emergency. However, during the pandemic, the Virginia Legislature put several new laws in place that impact how long it takes to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent.
- Prior to the pandemic, if tenants were late paying rent, landlords or property managers were required to issue a 5-Day Notice of Material Noncompliance (Late Notice) to start the eviction process. New laws now require the use of a 14-Day Notice which pushes out the timeline for filing an eviction request with the court. The notice must inform tenants of the Rent Relief Program, through which they may be able to seek financial assistance for their rent payments.
- A new law (which will remain in effect through June 30, 2022) requires a landlord or property manager to apply for Rent Relief on behalf of the tenant if the tenant has not already done so. An eviction for non-payment of rent cannot occur unless the tenant’s request for assistance is declined. In our experience, it generally takes 45 days to work through the Rent Relief application process.
- If a landlord owns 5 or more properties, the landlord must offer the tenant a payment plan spreading the past due rent across 6 months (or the number of months remaining in the lease). The landlord can only proceed with the eviction if the tenant does not adhere to the payment plan.
Prior to the pandemic, we would typically be able to complete an eviction in 8 weeks. Since the new laws have been put in place, we are seeing that the process may take double that time. Note that evictions for reasons other than non-payment of rent (such as lease violations or hold over tenancy) are still possible and not impacted by the new laws.
Note that the information provided above is not intended to be legal advice. Any landlord who is self-managing a property should seek legal guidance from an attorney to determine how the new laws apply to their specific situation.
For information on rent collection and other services offered by RPM Direct LLC, please contact Michele Odems at 703-963-6540 or Michele@RPMDirectVA.com