Virginia Supreme Court orders suspension of all new eviction cases due to coronavirus crisis

Coronavirus

Courtesy: WAVY-TV

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Renters facing eviction in Virginia will have three weeks to stay in their homes as the commonwealth works to prevent the spread of coronavirus and protect the lives of residents impacted by local government, school and business closures.

The Supreme Court of Virginia issued an order March 17 declaring a judicial emergency in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The order suspended all non-essential and non-emergency court proceedings for 21 days — including evictions, according to a news release from the Office of the Attorney General.

“It would be an absolute outrage for Virginians to be evicted from their homes during this emergency, especially as we are asking them to practice social distancing and stay home to prevent further spread of COVID-19,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring wrote in a news release about the judicial order.

This is good news for many residents living in Hampton Roads.

In 2018, Eviction Lab released a study about the top large cities with the highest eviction rates in the country. The top 10 cities included five in Virginia. Four of those top-evicting cities were located in Hampton Roads. 

Hampton ranked third on Eviction Lab’s list. According to Eviction Lab, there were 2,538 evictions in the Hampton area in 2016. That amounts to about seven households evicted every day. 

Other Hampton Roads cities on the list were Newport News ranking fourth, Norfolk ranking sixth, and Chesapeake ranking 10th.

“This temporary eviction suspension is particularly important for hourly wage earners who are more likely to lose income and not be able to pay their rent because of business closures,” Herring wrote. “I want to thank the Supreme Court of Virginia for making this important decision to protect Virginians during these unprecedented times.”

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