- Housing COVID-19 Resources
- All other County resources and COVID-19 information
- New: Resources for Renters Flyer
- New: Recursos para Los Inquilinos
FAQs for Renters
My apartment’s management office is closed. How can I find out how they’re addressing COVID-19 issues in my building?
Some complexes have closed their offices to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but are available by telephone, email, or their online portal. Check if there are flyers or messages posted around your leasing office, or if there’s an emergency number or additional contact information posted anywhere. Leasing management offices may have reduced in-person support and/or are only responding to emergency cases, so their response may be limited or delayed.
The County’s Housing Information Center may be able to help you find contact information for your landlord. Call 703-228-3765 (option 6 and leave a message) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A renter in my building is infected with COVID-19. What can I do?
Property management does not have to share an active COVID-19 diagnosis with other renters. There may also be privacy issues. You should take action to protect yourself, such as practicing social distancing and frequently washing your hands. See more prevention tips at the County’s website.
I have COVID-19. Do I need to tell my landlord?
No. You are not required to tell your landlord about a COVID-19 diagnosis. However, doing so can help protect building staff and other persons that you may contacted.
Can I be evicted?
The Arlington General District Court has suspended all evictions through June 7, 2020. This date could be extended. Check the County website for updates. Your landlord cannot evict you or ask you to leave your residence for having COVID-19 or while seeking medical assistance. You can still go to the court for emergencies, such as if your landlord illegally locks you out.
- Outside of Arlington, many other courts in Virginia began to hear evictions again beginning May 18th. You can check by looking up your case here.
- If you lost your income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have been served an eviction notice, you may be able to postpone your case for up to 60 days. Learn more here.
- If you rent in federally subsidized housing or in a property with a federally backed mortgage, you may have additional protection against eviction until at least August 25. Learn more here or here.
What if I can’t pay my rent?
Contact your landlord as soon as you realize you may not be able to pay rent. Ask if partial payments will be accepted until the rent is paid in full. Write out a payment plan that reflects what you can afford. Additional help with rent and expenses can be found via the Housing Assistance number (703-228-1300) and the County’s website. You will still need to pay rent during quarantine or any time in a medical facility, as is the case for any illness.
Can I break the lease if I can’t pay my rent?
Virginia does not allow a breach of lease. You must reach an agreement with your landlord, and you may have to pay some penalties. Review your lease and ask your landlord about other options.
My landlord thinks I have COVID-19 and will not let me into my home. What can I do?
Landlords cannot refuse entry or ask you to leave because of fears and stigma around COVID-19. Discrimination or harassment based on actual or perceived race, national origin, disability, or other protected classes is also illegal. If you are
facing discrimination and harassment by your landlord, contact the Housing Assistance number (703-228-1300).
Is management required to clean my unit with a cleaning professional if there are infected individual(s) in my apartment building?
No, they are responsible for cleaning in the common areas, but the apartments are the responsibility of the tenant.
How do I clean and disinfect my home safely?
Follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ask your landlord what they are doing to clean and disinfect the common areas.
Can I ask my renters insurance to help me pay for cleaning and disinfecting of the apartment?
Check your insurance policy. Most policies will not cover this expense.
The landlord is trying to show my apartment to prospective renters. I am afraid of being infected. Is there anything I can do?
Talk to the landlord to share your concerns and ask if there is another solution, such as a video walk through. Most leases have a provision that allows the landlord to bring prospective tenants through the property under specific conditions, and it is ultimately up to the landlord to determine whether to enforce this provision or to take another approach. If the landlord decides to bring prospective renters into your apartment, it is important to take all appropriate health and safety measures and have to follow the Virginia Department of Housing guides.
My neighbor has tested positive for COVID-19. Am I also infected?
Follow these Steps to Slow the Spread of COVID-19. These instructions tell you what to do if you are sick or have symptoms, or what to do if you come into close contact with someone who is sick. Following these steps will limit disease spreading in your home and community.
My apartment building has maintenance or other problems that I’m concerned may be code violations. Is the County closed down, or can I still report to Code Enforcement?
Check the County’s Code Enforcement web page for the latest information on which services are currently being offered.
I have given notice of termination and I am ready to move. Do I have to cancel my move because of the stay home order of the Governor?
The instruction of the stay home order is to minimize contact with other people, but if you have to move, take the necessary precautions to minimize contact. You may want to check with your current landlord to ask if you can remain on the complex for the time being, and with your future landlord to ask if your unit can be held open temporarily.
I still have questions. Where can I find more information?
Contact the County’s Housing Information Center for questions about tenant-landlord issues or to help you learn about available resources.
The County has created a COVID-19 page where residents can find additional information and subscribe for updates in real time.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which goes into effect on April 2, 2020 provides guidance and assistance for emergency family and medical leave, emergency paid sick leave, and emergency unemployment.
2-1-1 Virginia serves as the statewide clearinghouse for community resources, including rental assistance. Dial 7-1-1 for Virginia Relay or 1-800-230-6977 for TTY/hearing impaired calls.
Learn more about evictions during the COVID-19 outbreak through the Virginia Poverty Law Center.
Learn more about renter resources here.
Learn more about the FHFA Suspending Foreclosures and Evictions for Enterprise-Backed Mortgages
FAQs for Landlords
Our property management office is closed for COVID-19 and we want tenants to pay their rent online. Can we require that?
Yes, if your lease or rules already allow this provision. You can adopt a policy or rules to implement such a procedure. However, keep in mind that not all tenants have internet access or the ability to do online banking. Reasonable accommodations should be made for these tenants, such as an easily accessible drop box.
My tenant did not pay the rent. Can I still file an unlawful detainer?
The Supreme Court of Virginia suspended all new eviction cases in the Commonwealth of Virginia for tenants unable to pay rent as a result of COVID-19 through May 17, 2020, and the Arlington General District Court has extended this suspension through June 7, 2020. In addition, the Arlington County Board has requested that landlords take voluntary steps to minimize financial hardship for tenants who are unable to pay rent during this time. However, landlords are not prohibited from filing an unlawful detainer.
Is there financial help for tenants who can’t pay rent or utilities?
Arlington County’s Department of Human Services provides information for residents for help with rent, mortgage, utilities, medical or clothing expenses.
Also, many utility services are offering some sort of limited protection against terminating services. In addition, the State Corporation Commission issued an order on Monday, March 16, 2020, prohibiting any utility cut-offs for at least 60 days. If tenants have questions on this issue, they should contact their utility provider.
I already filed an unlawful detainer against my tenant for violating the lease and causing a threat to health and safety for other tenants. What happens now?
The Supreme Court of Virginia declared a judicial emergency beginning March 16, 2020, through May 17, 2020. There is a possibility that this could be extended. This means that all civil matters pending on Monday, March 16, 2020, including unlawful detainers, have been continued until after May 17, 2020, at the earliest. No distinction has been made at this time between an eviction for non-payment of rent and an eviction for other reasons. If you have a significant health and safety violation with a tenant, contact an attorney or Arlington General District Court to find out if there are any procedures to address health and safety violations by a tenant.
I have a tenant who was diagnosed with COVID-19. Do I need to disclose this to other tenants?
An active COVID-19 diagnosis is not a required disclosure. There are also privacy issues that would likely prohibit such disclosure. Encourage your tenants and staff to take individual precautions such as social distancing from neighbors and frequent cleaning and handwashing. Other hygiene practices can be referenced at Arlington’s COVID-19 page or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page.
What are my responsibilities for cleaning and disinfecting a tenant’s unit if they test positive for COVID-19?
A tenant is responsible for cleaning and disinfecting their own unit, although the landlord may be responsible for cleaning and sanitizing the property for a future tenant. Additional guidance is available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
My tenant’s lease is up for renewal and they already gave notice to move out. Now, they are refusing to leave. What do I do?
The terms of your lease with the tenant still govern everyone’s rights, obligations, and potential remedies during this national emergency. A tenant who does not vacate may be subject to legal action, but whether a particular landlord is willing to pursue those remedies is ultimately up to that landlord. Also, the Virginia Supreme Court’s order declaring a judicial emergency until May 17, 2020 applies to this situation.
I am trying to schedule an in-person showing of a rental property, but the current tenant refuses to allow it. What should I do?
Under the lease, you may have the authority to bring prospective tenants through the unit. However, consider options like a video walk-through of the property or showing another unit.
I need to make repairs and routine maintenance on my rentals, but my vendors are backing out and tenants don’t want people into their apartments. What should I do?
If you do not have your own maintenance staff, reach out to your third-party vendors to find out what their plans are in the coming weeks. Talk to your vendors about their health and safety protocols so you can share it with your tenants. If necessary, work with tenants as much as possible to postpone routine scheduled maintenance or stabilize repairs as needed.
Where can I find additional information?
- The Virginia Association of Realtors has useful information for landlords and property managers.
- The US. Department of Housing and Urban Development has information for multifamily property managers.
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act,which goes into effect on April 2, 2020 provides guidance and assistance for emergency family and medical leave, emergency paid sick leave, and emergency unemployment.
- 2-1-1 Virginia serves as the statewide clearinghouse for community resources, including rental assistance. Dial 7-1-1 for Virginia Relay or 1-800-230-6977 for TTY/hearing impaired calls.