What if I can’t afford this month’s rent?
Contact your landlord as soon as you realize you may not be able to pay rent. Ask if partial payments will be accepted until the rent is paid in full. Write out a payment plan that reflects what you can afford. Additional help with rent and expenses may be available by calling 703-228-1300 or visit the Department of Human Services for more information. You will still need to pay rent regardless.
Can I be evicted?
Yes, if you have not been able to pay your rent the landlord can start the eviction process. However, it does not mean you will have to move immediately. See our eviction prevention page to learn about the process. If you receive a court summons, go to court, and if you can provide written proof that you have been affected by COVID-19, you may be able to get a 60-day postponement for nonpayment of rent.
Do I have to pay a late charge?
Yes, you are still responsible for paying late charges, unless your landlord has waived late fees, such as in AHC properties. However, a new law prohibits your landlord from charging late fees if this charge isn’t provided for in the written rental agreement. Also, late charges can’t be more than 10% of the periodic rent or the remaining balance due, whichever is less.
How is the government protecting me from eviction?
- If you lost your income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have been served an eviction notice, you may be able to postpone your case for up to 60 days. Learn more.
- If you rent in one of the properties which is under a Limited Waiver Agreement with the County, the owner or management company may not charge late fees of evict tenants for non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 related loss of income through December 31, 2020. These properties include: Arbor Heights, Buchanan Gardens, Calvert Manor, Cameron Commons, Columbia Grove, Columbia Hills East, Courthouse Crossings, Gates of Ballston, Fisher House I, Fort Henry Gardens, The Jordan, Leckey Gardens, Marbella, The Shell, The Shelton, Spectrum, The Springs, vPoint, and William Watters.
- Landlords and tenants must cooperate and apply for rental assistance through the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development. After January 1, 2021, the budget requires landlords and tenants to work together to access rent assistance, including through the RMRP, before proceeding with an eviction. Learn more.
Can I break the lease?
Virginia does not allow a breach of lease. You must reach an agreement with your landlord, and you may have to pay some penalties. Review your lease and ask your landlord about other options.
Where can I find help?
- Help with rent and expenses can be found via the Housing Assistance number (703-228-1300) and the County’s website. They may also be able to provide referrals for other services.
- Landlords and renters can apply directly to the Virginia Rent Relief Program here.
Will asking for help affect my immigration status?
No, calling for help or receiving emergency rental assistance will not be considered a public charge. The County will not ask for your immigration status.
My apartment’s management office is closed. How can I find out how they’re addressing COVID-19 issues in my building?
Some complexes have closed their offices to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but are available by telephone, email, or their online portal. Flyers or messages may be posted around your leasing office with an emergency number or additional contact information. Leasing management offices may have reduced in-person support and/or are only responding to emergency cases, so their response may be limited or delayed.
The County’s Housing Information Center may be able to help you find contact information for your landlord. Call 703-228-3765 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
A renter in my building is infected with COVID-19.
- What can I do?
You should take action to protect yourself, such as practicing social distancing and frequently washing your hands. See more prevention tips on the County’s website.
- Will the property manager tell me if my neighbor has COVID-19?
Property management does not have to share an active COVID-19 diagnosis with other renters. There may also be privacy issues. You should take action to protect yourself, such as practicing social distancing and frequently washing your hands. See more prevention tips on the County’s website.
- Can the property manager remove someone with COVID-19 from the building?
No, the landlord cannot remove or ask tenants to leave the residence for having COVID-19 or while seeking medical assistance.
- Is property management required to clean my unit with a cleaning professional in my apartment building?
No, they are responsible for cleaning in the common areas, but apartments are the tenant’s responsibility.
I have COVID-19.
- Do I need to tell my landlord?
No. You are not required to tell your landlord about a COVID-19 diagnosis. However, doing so can help protect building staff and other persons that you may have contacted.
- Can I be evicted?
Your landlord cannot evict you or ask you to leave your residence for having COVID-19 or while seeking medical assistance. You can still go to the court for emergencies, such as if your landlord illegally locks you out.
- Does the landlord have to provide a place to isolate apart from my family?
No, the landlord does not have to provide a place of isolation. If your family is not infected, you can seek alternative venues or isolation places. More information is available on the County’s COVID-19 page.
- How do I clean and disinfect my home safely?
Follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ask your landlord what they are doing to clean and disinfect the common areas.
- Can I ask my renters insurance to help me pay for the cleaning and disinfecting of the apartment?
Check your insurance policy. Most policies will not cover this expense. The landlord cannot require that your place be professionally cleaned and disinfected.
The landlord is trying to show my apartment to prospective renters. I am afraid of being infected. Is there anything I can do?
Share your concerns with the landlord and ask if there is another solution, such as a video walkthrough. Most leases have a provision that allows the landlord to bring prospective tenants through the property under specific conditions. It is ultimately up to the landlord to determine whether to enforce this provision or take another approach. If the landlord decides to bring prospective renters into your apartment, it is important to take all appropriate health and safety measures and follow the Virginia Department of Housing guides.
My landlord thinks I have COVID-19 and will not let me into my home. What can I do?
Landlords cannot refuse entry or ask you to leave because of fears and stigma around COVID-19. Discrimination or harassment based on actual or perceived race, national origin, disability, or other protected classes is also illegal. If you are facing discrimination and harassment by your landlord, contact the Housing Assistance number (703-228-1300).
Management isn’t enforcing face coverings in the building. What can I do?
The state has issued an order requiring the use of face-coverings in public places; however, this does not apply to public property. The rules of use of masks and enforcement for non-compliance are the responsibility of the property manager. You should protect yourself by keeping social distancing and using face coverings.
I still have questions. Where can I find more information?
|Housing Information Center
|For questions about tenant-landlord issues or to help you learn about available resources.
|Arlington County COVID-19 Response
||Arlington residents can find additional information and subscribe to updates in real-time.
|Families First Coronavirus Response Act
||Provides guidance and assistance for emergency family and medical leave, emergency paid sick leave, and emergency unemployment.
||2-1-1 Virginia serves as the statewide clearinghouse for community resources, including rental assistance.
Dial 7-1-1 for Virginia Relay or 1-800-230-6977 for TTY/hearing impaired calls.
|Virginia Poverty Law Center’s Eviction Helpline
|Questions or concerns about evictions during the COVID-19 emergency in Virginia