PROTECT A TENANT’S RIGHT TO A SAFE AND HEALTHY HOME
Evidence of unsafe and unhealthy conditions should matter in eviction cases. By allowing judges to hear evidence of a landlord’s refusal to fix unhealthy or unsafe conditions in the home as a defense to a tenant’s nonpayment of rent, SB 284 empowers courts to ensure that landlords do not benefit from refusing to fulfill their obligation to keep the home safe and habitable.
Join VPLC in fighting for a tenant’s right to a healthy and safe home by asking lawmakers to pass SB 284!
STEP ONE: SIGN UP TO SPEAK
The biggest way you can help is by signing up to speak here. You can mention the talking points provided below, but we also encourage you to share why this bill is important to you.
Please pass SB 284 and protect a tenant’s right to a safe and healthy home.
Low-income tenants have limited choices when their landlords don’t respond to requests for essential repairs, especially if the things that are broken deprive them of essential services such as heat or hot water. If they can’t pay their rent, they are barred from bringing a court case against their landlord to force them to make repairs because Virginia law requires all rent to be paid into escrow before such a case can proceed.
SB 284 establishes the “Warranty of Habitability Defense,” allowing tenants to raise bad conditions a landlord has refused to repair as a defense to an eviction. It ensures that: Judges can consider whether the unhealthy or unsafe condition reduced the value of the home below the amount owed under the lease. If so, they could reduce the amount owed by the tenant accordingly; in cases where rent is reduced, tenants are more likely able to pay the amount owed at the hearing and avoid judgment for eviction; cases for nonpayment of rent are in line with other types of civil contract cases, where defendants can raise the failure of plaintiffs to live up to their contract obligations as a defense to nonpayment.
Please protect tenants’ rights, and pass SB 284. Thank you.
STEP TWO: EMAIL AND TWEET AT THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Fill out the form below to contact the committee members.
PLEASE NOTE: Personalized messages are especially effective. Please consider explaining why this bill is important to you!
Thank you for joining VPLC in our fight to protect tenants in Virginia!