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East End News

NYT: Eviction Rates in Richmond – Updated

“In 2016, about 1 in 9 renter households in Richmond were issued eviction judgments. Judgments issued in majority white neighborhoods were far less common”.

The New York Times Posts about eviction rates:

Candace Williams experienced the threat, the judgment and the sheriff’s visit when she fell behind on her rent in 2016. She was making $178 a week at a convenience store, a job she could reach without a car. Some of that money went to the space heaters and foam insulation she needed for the holes in the walls on the cheapest home she could find for her family.

She brought photos of the neglected repairs on her phone to court. When she learned she couldn’t bring in the phone, she hid it under a trash can outside. When she arrived, late, to the courtroom, a default judgment had already been entered against her.

“I definitely understand my fault in it,” Ms. Williams, 43, said. “But they don’t allow you any opportunity to make a mistake.
The process is meant to be efficient, said Chip Dicks, a lawyer in Richmond who works on property management issues and has written provisions in the state’s landlord-tenant law. Efficiency is good public policy, he argues: Neither the landlord nor the tenant benefits from a drawn-out process that would burden renters with even more unpaid rent, late fees and attorney costs. And landlords can’t provide housing if they can’t pay their mortgages, he added.

“The landlords are the victims because they’re the ones not being paid when they’re supposed to be paid,” Mr. Dicks said. “What happens when you don’t pay your car payment? They come and take your car. What happens when you don’t pay your mortgage payment? They come and foreclose on your house.”

Poor tenants here, however, are not ensured access to legal aid or shielded from steep rent increases, as in some cities. And they have no right, as tenants in some states do, to deduct their own repair costs from the rent.”

Writer Emily Badger then tweeted the following:

The consequences of eviction then pile up for the whole city: Housing instability compounds medical problems, disrupts classrooms, separates families, foils social workers trying to track residents who receive benefits. I was struck by how many people I met in Richmond who interpreted eviction through the lens of Virginia history. This is a state founded on an agrarian economy, they told me. Power accrues to whoever owns the property.

Check out these pictures of Richmond taken by photographer Matt Eich as he visited Richmond to cover our high rate of evictions for The New York Times.

CBS6 recently posted an answer to the story

But, Patrick McCloud, who heads up the Virginia Apartment Management Association, claims the data cited by the New York Times is misleading.

“They cited the unlawful detainer action as their ‘eviction’ as opposed to the actual eviction, which is the resident moving out of the unit and the sheriff showing up to move them out of the unit,” McCloud said.

According to data compiled by his office using data from the Richmond Sheriff’s Office, Richmond’s eviction rate in 2017 was just 3.7 percent.

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“Richmond’s high rate of eviction is trapping the poor in perpetual poverty. The obstacles of general district court prevent poor defendants from effectively defending themselves”. (@LeadersCCH- Leaders of the New South- Community Council for Housing)
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What can YOU do? Keep informed. A neighbor, Natalie A, recommends following these projects and organizations:

Richmond Community Bail Fund

Southern Poverty Law Center

The Business Coalition for Justice

There’s also simple but profound things like Laundry Love RVA that can make the expenses of everyday life easier to bear.

The Richmond Community Bail Fund

The Business Coalition for Justice
Housing Opportunities Made Equal

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SA Chaplin
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SA Chaplin

This article fails to present the full picture of landlord/tenant relations. First, Virginia law gives tenants significant protections. By rights, if a tenant does not pay rent the landlord should should be permitted to remove the tenant immediately. Instead, the landlord must give proper notice, then wait a number of days, then proceed through the courts. If, for example, I sold you a bicycle for $50, with $25 down and $25 due in two weeks, you should not be entitled to keep the bicycle if you do not pay. I should be entitled to repossess it on day 15. But… Read more »

Minnie
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Minnie

Plus, in states with stricter tenant protections (like Massachusetts), the only effect of such policies was that landlords became a lot stricter, and it is virtually impossible to find a place if you have a low income. I agree that people should be able to afford rent, but I’m not sure the problem is on the landlord end. If there is no assurance of revenue, there is no incentive to rent out a property. If eviction becomes harder to complete, landlords simply will rise their screening standards. If your landlord is unresponsive, you move. You can’t stop paying rent. A… Read more »

MP
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MP

If you read the CBS 6 article, it sounds like the researcher had some data issues – he called a lower type of landlord-tenant dispute an “eviction” when he shouldn’t have. That might explain why Virginia had so many of the top spots. In other words, Virginia might not actually have an eviction issue, just that the researcher wasn’t careful in how he used definitions in Virginia. That being said, I think the real issue is that a lot of landlords don’t maintain their properties very well.

L
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L

@MP – That’s tricky, and kind of a matter of semantics. I’ve (unfortunately/not something I’m proud of) “evicted” several tenants over the years. I say “evicted” because I’m not sure it’s a word that is actually used in the legal process, other than to describe the actual act of removal (Which I’ve never done – that’s the Sheriff’s job) In Virginia, this is how it plays outs: 1) a Landlord delivers a “pay or quit” or some other notice to a Tenant. 2) The notice period expires without the rent being paid or the issue resolved 3) The Landlord Files… Read more »

Daniil
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Daniil

Let me remind everyone who is responsible for the high eviction rate in Richmond:

https://www.richmond.com/ap/state/richmond-s-public-housing-authority-filed-eviction-lawsuits-against-out/article_a3803f35-bc0b-5cb8-a886-52cb677ba57f.html

“A subsequent analysis by the Richmond-Times Dispatch of more than 150,000 court records found that no landlord in the state threatened to kick out more of their tenants last year than the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority, an organization whose mission is to provide housing for those who otherwise can’t afford it

The authority (RRHA) filed 1,460 eviction lawsuits against tenants living in the 4,000 apartments it manages, The Times-Dispatch found.”

Yes, that’s right! It’s the government.

MJR
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MJR

The rental property adjacent to us was occupied by heroin junkies/dealers for most of the past year. Strung out people coming and going at all hours. Frequently banging on the front door and screaming to be let in. Open air drug deals on the block. At least two domestic violence 911 calls per month. One of the women was apprehended by police for embezzlement but only spent the weekend in jail and came right back to drug dealing. An angry man with a machete knocked on my door but I was able convince him he had the wrong address number.… Read more »