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Supreme Court of Virginia temporarily halts all eviction proceedings

Photo: Courtesy of MGN/Tony Magpantay
Photo: Courtesy of MGN/Tony Magpantay(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 8, 2020 at 2:34 PM EDT
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The Supreme Court of Virginia acted on Monday to temporarily halt all eviction proceedings across the commonwealth.

Over the weekend, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam requested a moratorium on eviction proceedings through a formal letter sent to Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Lemons.

On June 8, Chief Justice Lemons responded to the governor’s request by issuing an order that modifies the court’s earlier Declaration of Judicial Emergency in response to COVID-19.

The judicial emergency is officially extended until June 28 to halt all eviction proceedings for a period of nearly three weeks.

Originally, the judicial emergency, which suspended all non-essential, non-emergency court hearings, expired on May 17 and court hearings across most of Virginia resumed on Monday, May 18.

In light of that, with some eviction cases resuming over the past few weeks, Gov. Northam’s office released a list of resources to help people who may be facing eviction while still with income affected by COVID-19.

Now, the governor's office says the reinstated emergency will give the administration time to implement a "comprehensive rent relief program for the thousands of Virginians facing housing insecurity in the midst of this public health crisis."

“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 Governor 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.”

The rent relief initiative the governor's office mentioned is expected to be announced in the coming weeks and will be supported through CARES Act funding.

Tenants can learn more about their rights and responsibilities at StayHomeVirginia.com.

Gov. Northam and his office also encourage all tenants to still pay their rent on time if they are able.