Following Supreme Court Ruling, Legal Aid of Eastern Virginia predicts a tidal wave of evictions

Virginia

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It looked like a good investment in the Norview area of Norfolk: three bedrooms and two full baths that would rent at $1,200 a month.

Joseph Calhoun rented the home to a family, but there was one problem: his tenants didn’t pay the rent for eight months. The family took all their possessions — except for a tattered sectional sofa — and left this summer after their lease expired.

Calhoun, who buys, restores, and rents properties, surveyed the home with a sense of sadness.

“I have to replace everything. Carpet and flooring is going to have to come up. The subfloor is damaged, drywall has to be replaced, the microwave oven is damaged and the home has evidence of a serious pest control problem,” he said.

(WAVY photo/Regina Mobley)

“They just knew that they didn’t have to pay me because of the no eviction clause,” said an exasperated Calhoun.

During the pandemic, the Biden administration placed a moratorium on evictions, fearing people could end up homeless after losing their jobs.

That apparently wasn’t the case at the single-story home near Norview High School.

“I know for a fact that my tenants were still employed — I contacted their employers — so they never left their jobs,” said Calhoun.

On Thursday, in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court outlawed the pandemic-inspired moratorium on evictions, saying the CDC did not have the authority for a policy that should have been dictated by Congress.

Calhoun told 10 On Your Side that because of the eviction moratorium, he has lost $13,600 on the Norview home, $9,500 on a Norfolk apartment, and $7,000 in Suffolk.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is calling on the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Veterans Administration, and the Department of Agriculture to increase support for tenants and landlords.

Calhoun wants some assurances before he spends another dime on the Norfolk home. His repair and replacement estimate is $3,000 to $5,000.

“I feel like the decision is good; I feel like they need to take it a step forward and figure out a way the landlords can gain some of the loss that we have taken,” said Calhoun.

The Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia has been dealing with pandemic-related issues from the beginning of the public health crisis.

Deputy Director Sarah Black, Esq. told 10 On Your Side the organization is predicting a tidal wave of evictions but assistance is still available.

“There is still the Rent Relief Protection Program and there are existing [tenant protection] laws in Virginia that are not affected the Supreme Court decision,” said Black.

If you need assistant from the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia, call the Norfolk office at 757-627-5423. Tenants in the Hampton area can call 757-275-0080.

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