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Government House Further Muddles Tenants’ Evictions Issue By Writing Confusing ‘Clarification’

CHRISTIANSTED —  In response to inquiries from residents about the status of evictions between landlords and renters, Government House said it “would like to clarify what the situation currently is.”

Governor Albert Bryan Jr.’s order suspending the provisions of Title 28, Chapter 13 of the Virgin Islands Code, relating to landlord-tenant actions and establishing the right of actions to recover possession of real property, demand for rent or for forceable entry and detainer expired on September 27, 2020. This expiration applies to residential and commercial tenants.

Separate from the Governor’s executive order, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an order temporarily halting residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 on September 4, 2020. The CDC order continues in effect until December 31, 2020, and applies to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Office of the Governor is advising residents with any concerns regarding a possible eviction to seek the advice of an attorney who is licensed by the Virgin Islands Bar Association to determine whether the CDC Order applies to their situation.

“If we could get the monies owed to us from The Department of Labor and the BIR — our unemployment checks, stimulus and tax refunds we could pay our rent.. and those last week who did get their checks from unemployment bounced!!” Barbara Knight said on Facebook. “Insufficient Funds! Revenue and Check Fraud!! Contact local FBI office as they are taking calls regarding Department of Labor.”

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