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Wednesday Aug. 24, 2022

Last week, more than 100 people sat shoulder to shoulder in Albemarle County’s General District Court awaiting their eviction hearings.

If that sounds like a lot, it is. Eviction filings have been steadily increasing over the summer after the last remaining COVID-19 tenant protections expired, along with the state’s rent relief program.

Today’s newsletter has more information about why so many evictions are happening. We’ll continue to report on this issue. If you are a renter or landlord affected by evictions and wish to share your story, hit reply to this email and we’ll connect you with a reporter.

A “for rent” sign sits in a yard beside a chain link fence.
Credit: Staff photo

Eviction filings soar as rent relief program winds down

Most local eviction cases are against tenants who have not paid their rents. Some of those who testified Thursday wore their work uniforms: CVS Pharmacy, Charlottesville Parks & Rec, Citizen Burger Bar, Whiskey Jar. Two brothers were called, one right after another. Same for two cousins living in the same apartment complex.

Pandemic-related eviction protections and Virginia’s rent relief program wound down over the past year as record level inflation pushed rents and many other prices up. The colliding issues have left people struggling to pay rent on time — or at all.

Throughout the pandemic, rent relief kept a lot of people in their homes. As of late June, the state had disbursed more than $925 million to more than 104,000 Virginia households — and there are still people waiting for their rent relief checks. (Several of them were in court Thursday.)

Credit: Credit: Jordy Yager/Mapping Cville

The state has $700 million available in rent assistance, but local nonprofits fear the complicated application process will prevent vulnerable people from applying

But housing advocates say the application process was complicated and confusing, and likely kept a lot of vulnerable people who would have qualified for the money from applying.

In other cases, applications were simply never completed. According to a report by NBC29, tenants who had applied for rent relief in an apartment complex in Albemarle County were served eviction notices in late July. Residents who spoke with the station said they didn’t realize their applications hadn’t gone through — their landlord had apparently not filed the paperwork. When the program expired July 1, the owner moved ahead with evictions.

Charlottesville Tomorrow will continue to monitor eviction proceedings in our area in the coming months. If you are a landlord struggling to collect enough rents to cover costs, or if you or someone you know are facing eviction and wish to share your story, please reply to this email and we will put you in touch with a reporter.

Thank you for reading,

Jessie Higgins, managing editor

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Jessie Higgins

I'm Charlottesville Tomorrow's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org.