RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia House of Delegates is set to consider a slate of new tenant protections on the first full day of the 2023 session.
The nine measures, including eight from House Democrats and one from Republican Del. Kim Taylor (Dinwiddie), would expand protections for tenants in a variety of ways.
Taylor’s bill, HB 1845, would require landlords to provide contact information for the local department of social services when they move to evict anyone under the age of 18 or “a mentally or physically incapacitated elderly person.” The provision is designed to allow tenants to find out “if suitable housing assistance is available.”
More ambitious proposals came from Delegates Marcia Price (D – Newport News) and David Bulova (D – Fairfax), including an increase in the grace period for late rent and permission for tenants to immediately break leases when they move in and find the unit uninhabitable.
The proposals will get their first hearing at the meeting of the General Laws sub-committee Thursday afternoon.
Bulova said his proposal was formulated with help from the Virginia Poverty Law Center and that it should be considered the equivalent of “lemon laws” for cars.
“If the unit doesn’t meet these basic standards, then the person should be able to get out of the lease and get their deposit back without having to go through an expensive legal process,” he wrote.
Price proposed a slate of three bills, one of which grants localities the right to enforce rental agreements on landlords when poor conditions present “a fire hazard or serious threat to the life, health, or safety of tenants.”
“This bill would allow for localities to sue the landlords for the actual fixes needed to the property and get justice for the tenant,” Price wrote.
The slate of proposals will likely face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House of Delegates.
Republican Jeffrey Campbell (Wytheville) also introduced a measure to extend the time period in which landlords can return a tenant’s security deposit.