Unable to evict, some landlords accuse tenants of abandoning homes they’re still living in

News Story (Virginia)

Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury
April 27, 2020
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Tags: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC)


As COVID-19 began to spread in Virginia, 61-year-old Linda Wilkinson’s work as a house cleaner dried up almost instantly. She understood why her elderly clients couldn’t risk having her come into their homes, but she was surprised at her landlord’s unwillingness to work with her on rent after seven years of on-time payments.  Palmer Heenan, a staff attorney at Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, called it a troubling misuse of a statute intended to give a property owner recourse if their tenant disappears and is unreachable.