SUPPORT TENANTS’ RIGHTS!
The below tenants’ rights bills will be up in the House General Laws Subcommittee #2 on Thursday, February 3. Urge the subcommittee to pass these bills by taking action below!
- HB 802: Allow local enforcement of bad housing conditions
- HB 803: Keep the 14-day pay-or-quit period
- HB 804: Create transparency in tenant application processes
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 these bills are important to you.
I urge you to support three bills, HB 802, HB 803, and HB 804, that will protect Virginia tenants.
HB802: Tenants living in rentals with bad conditions often lack the means to enforce their rights to require their landlords to make necessary repairs. They don’t have access to attorneys, and they lack funds to pay their rent into court, especially if the unsafe or unhealthy conditions force them to move into a hotel or motel. HB 802 empowers cities, counties, and towns to file suit against slumlords to force compliance with the health and safety standards of the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act. Rather than resorting to condemning structures that violate the State Building Maintenance Code and thus displacing tenants, localities can seek a resolution that protects the interests of its residents, such as having a judge order that landlords make repairs and abate all or part of their rent. This bill will give localities the tool they need to protect their residents from unsafe living conditions and improve the health and safety of their community.
HB803: HB 803 gives tenants more time to pay their rent before the landlord starts the eviction process. Many tenants in Virginia are living paycheck to paycheck and any change in their circumstance, such as reduced work hours or a car breaking down, can lead families to fall behind on rent. The pay-or-quit notice period has been 14 days since November 2020, but it will revert to five days on July 1, 2022 unless HB 803 passes. Virginia should keep the additional nine days so tenants have more time to collect another paycheck and pay their rent plus late fees before the costly eviction process starts.
HB804: Rental application fees are a huge barrier for low-income tenants trying to secure affordable housing. Many Virginians are paying hundreds of dollars on application fees with no idea whether the landlord will accept the application or how much it will ultimately cost to get approved. HB 804 will make the process of applying for housing more transparent by requiring landlords to make their application process and criteria publicly available. The bill also requires landlords to publicly disclose how much they charge in application fees, including any fees for running a credit report and background check on the tenant. With more transparency, tenants can make more informed choices about there they apply for housing, rather than spending hundreds of dollars on rental application fees for a place that will never accept them. It’s a small step in breaking down the invisible barriers to affordable housing.
Please support these bills, and support Virginia tenants. Thank you.
STEP TWO: EMAIL THE SUBCOMMITTEE MEMBERS
Fill out the form below to contact the subcommittee members.
PLEASE NOTE: Personalized messages are especially effective. Please consider explaining why these bills are important to you!
Thank you for joining VPLC in the fight to protect Virginia tenants!