Your Rights as a Tenant

During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Content current as of March 29, 2020

Your Landlord Cannot Evict You Without Going To Court

  • Your landlord cannot evict you without a court order, no matter what your lease says.
  • You do not have to move out just because the landlord tells you to leave, gives you a “5 DayPay or Quit,” written notice, or files an eviction lawsuit (“unlawful detainer”) against you.
  • You can sue your landlord for an “unlawful exclusion” if they try to lock you out or turn offyour utilities rather than going through the court system.

Most Evictions Should be On Hold in Courts Until April 26, 2020

  • The Supreme Court of Virginia has ordered courts should not hear evictions until April 26th,2020. This means that landlords should not be able to obtain an eviction order from court right now.
  • However, if you receive something from your landlord or the Court, consider calling the LegalAid Justice Center at 434-977-0553 for advice.

Your landlord still has a duty to do repairs and maintenance

  • Even with the COVID-19 outbreak the landlord must still provide you with a safe and healthy place to live, though they may not be able to enter into your unit for repairs unless it is an emergency.
  • If something breaks, send your landlord a letter asking for repairs right away. (It is important for you to try to put this in writing).

If You Live in Public or Subsidized Housing

  • If your income changes (because you lose your job or have a reduction in hours), call your housing provider know RIGHT AWAY. Organizations have changed their procedures for recalculating rent to try to make it easier for people.
  • The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority and the Piedmont Housing Alliance have both suspended evictions AND are not charging late fees – check their notices for further information.

Thanks to the Virginia Poverty Law Center for original content,


For more information

Contact the Legal Aid Justice Center
1000 Preston Ave, Suite A
Charlottesville, VA 22902

P: 434-977-0553

Attorney Responsible: Elaine Poon

While our offices remain closed to walk-ins, we're still here to help. Contact Us