FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Patrick Algyer | 703 671 6777 | [email protected]
NVAA SEEKS TO ADDRESS PROBLEMS, NOT POSTPONE THEM
Arlington, August 12, 2020. The recent continuation of the eviction moratorium by way of the VA Supreme Court order, requested by Governor Northam, is unsustainable and reignites considerable instability to the multifamily housing industry. NVAA shares Justices Kelsey, Lemons and Chafin dissent opinions of the order.
Our members never want to evict a tenant, especially one who is struggling due to COVID-19 circumstances. Evictions are costly and result in landlords writing off tens of thousands of dollars each year. That said, they are an essential recourse within the law. Even beyond defaults related to non-payment, there are a multitude of other valid reasons that evictions are necessary, including property damage, criminal activity, fraud, tax credit non-compliance, non-payment for reasons unrelated to Covid-19, etc. It does cost the landlord to keep a non-paying resident in their building, and there are residents taking advantage of the moratorium and choosing not to pay their rent.
Beyond the lack of input from landlords - whose rights are being infringed upon - and the questionable legal basis that this order relies on, the most troubling aspect is that it does not address the causal financial concerns. As landlords know too well, the proverbial ‘kicking the can down the road’ exacerbates financial issues more often than it alleviates them. An eviction moratorium does nothing to keep the housing industry stable without long term financial assistance to tenants AND landlords.
While NVAA applauds Governor Northam for launching the Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) which provides $50m in assistance to tenants, and has widely promoted this program to our members, we are disappointed to hear less than $1m has been disbursed since the inception of the program more than a month ago. NVAA encourages Governor Northam and Virginia Jurisdictions to focus attention on promoting the RMRP, especially to those who may be fearful due to their undocumented status, as well as enhancing access to translation services. Simplifying the process for applicants could reduce the large number of tenants who are vacating with little or no notice, leaving landlords with high vacancy rates amidst a dramatic decrease in prospective tenant inquiries. The process of rent assistance payments to landlords should also be streamlined, and without requirement that the landlord consult with the entity providing the funds, prior to any necessary legal action. Compounding this challenging situation, most Landlords hold private mortgages and do not qualify for forbearance which is provided to Federally-backed mortgage holders. Landlords’ ongoing expenses have largely not been abated, nor have the processes of legal recourse against their businesses if they do not pay.
We welcome and appreciate the chance to participate in future discussions related to eviction moratoriums and programs which affect tenants and landlords. We share the common goal of keeping tenants in their unit and request the opportunity provide the landlord perspective.
Founded in 1956, the mission of NVAA is to be the leader in the residential rental industry of Northern Virginia. We provide legislative and regulatory representation, and communicate current trends and issues. We continually work to educate the property management industry, and offer an interactive forum to related service providers who are essential to the rental apartment industry. www.nvaa.org