Legal Aid Justice Center says almost half of the tenants in one apartment complex are facing eviction

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) – Nearly half of the people living in an Albemarle County apartment complex say they are facing eviction after receiving a five-day notice one week ago.

It says they either have to pay, or leave and face homelessness.

Some of the tenants of Mallside Forest Apartments tell the Legal Aid Justice Center that they applied for rent relief and never received it. They said they did not know the application was never finished, because it was only missing a form from the landlord.

“We thought we were good. We weren’t expecting an eviction because we were complying with everything that they asked us to do. And then we got the notice,” Mable tenant Elizabeth Christian said Tuesday, July 26.

Christian says she received a five-day eviction notice on her door last Tuesday. She lives in Mallside Forest Apartments with her daughter. Christian says she applied for rent relief back in February, through the very same site that her landlord had told her to use.

“Miss Christian’s daughter had contacted Gov2Go, the organizing agency that handled their rent relief application. She was told that all that was missing from getting their rent relief application approved was an updated ledger from the landlord,” said Emily Smith, with Legal Aid Justice Center.

As of July 1, landlords legally only have to give a five-day notice. Prior to that, a two weeks’ notice was required due to COVID-19 eviction protections. Now, these tenants say they are facing the impact of this change.

“What is problematic, particularly about Miss Christian’s case, and potentially other cases like it, is that Miss Christian had applied for rent relief before the deadline had expired. She had actually applied back in February when the landlord was supposed to be engaged in the process,” said Smith.

Christian says the landlord was never engaged with the process when she applied this time around. She says Gov2Go says it notified the landlord three or four different times.

“All the application needed was for the landlord to update the ledger to pay for the months that they were going to pay for,” said Christian.

Now, because the rent relief never went through, she says she cannot pay her rent, which is why she is getting evicted.

“We hired Legal Aid because we had our backs up against the wall. We’ve got to fight this, because we’ve got to have a place to stay,” said Christian.

NBC29 reached out to the property manager, but they did not want to comment on these evictions. Legal Aid Justice Center says it is going to keep pushing forward with this case, and it hopes other Mallside Forest Tenants reach out for help.

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