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City urges locals to apply for rent relief before application window closes

A statewide rent relief program is closing to new applicants soon with eviction protections expiring soon after. The City of Alexandria is urging those in need to apply within the next week or lose access to rent relief.

The application portal for the Virginia Rent Relief Program (RRP) is set to close on Sunday, May 15.

“RRP was created to keep families stably housed and landlords paid during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the city said in a release. “RRP emergency rental assistance is prioritized for households earning less than 50% of area median income or households with one or more members who have not been employed for the 90 days preceding the date of application.”

The program has distributed $713 million in rent relief statewide since it started in March 2022.

The city release also noted that starting July 1, several tenant eviction protections that were put into place during the pandemic will be expiring, including:

  • A return to five-day notices to pay or face eviction (For the past year, landlords had to provide at least a 14-day notice to tenants.)
  • Removal of the requirement to inform tenants of the availability of rental assistance (For the past year, landlords had to inform and help tenants apply for RRP before initiating eviction.)
  • No requirement for landlords to provide notice of or offer payment plans

The city specified that, because landlords cannot proceed with eviction within 45 days of an RRP application being submitted, there is likely to be an influx of eviction proceedings starting around July 1.

Last September, the city dedicated some American Rescue Plan Act funding toward a smaller scale local alternative to the statewide rent relief program.

“The City of Alexandria’s Eviction Prevention Task Force will continue to work with partners and stakeholders across the state to create comprehensive strategies to increase the supply of affordable housing, address and prevent evictions and reduce barriers in housing,” the release said.

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