NORFOLK, Va - Here on the sixth day of the month, you may receive a notice from your landlord if you're behind on rent.
Rent is generally due within five days from the start of the month. A new regulation now requires your landlord to give you a 14-day notice, an increase from five days.
"If you receive one of these notices, don't freak out. It's required by state law that we send a notice of nonpayment of rent," said Patrick McCloud, the CEO of the Virginia Apartment Management Association.
The notice presents renters with several options, including paying the rent that is due, creating a payment plan with your landlord or applying to Virginia's Rent and Mortgage Relief Program. Tenants have to respond within 14 days or the landlord could begin down a path of eviction.
"You have to respond to that notice. It's very clear. If you don't respond to that notice, then things are going to move down a path of eviction, and that's not something anybody wants," McCloud said.
The notice also says you can see if you're eligible for legal help with Virginia Legal Aid. "Being evicted during a pandemic has ramifications for a lot of people," said Melissa Bonfiglio, the Managing Attorney of the Peninsula Offices of Eastern Virginia.
Bonfiglio's office has been representing tenants as they navigate this process. She says many judges are continuing cases right now to make sure landlords are clearly presenting all of the options to their tenants.
Evictions can still happen in Virginia. In addition to the aid available in Virginia, people can also utilize the moratorium on evictions from the CDC. That process requires you to make several declarations, including that you have nowhere else to go.
With all of these options, there's still one big problem that will last beyond the pandemic. "There's a lack of affordable housing in Hampton Roads and in Virginia. That's a problem we've long struggled with," Bonfiglio said.