Bills to restrict landlords and protect tenants in Virginia head to conference committees

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Virginia bills that would establish protections for tenants and put mandates on landlords in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will head to a joint conference committee between House and Senate lawmakers.

Senate Bill 5088 and House Bill 5064 would require landlords to establish payment plans for tenants before they could be evicted. The tenant would be required to pay the past-due rent over a period of six months or when the rental agreement is over, whichever is less.

The mandate would apply only to landlords who own more than four dwelling units or have at least a 10% stake in more than four dwelling units. The bills are almost identical but differ on when the bill would expire.

House Bill 5106 also will head to a conference committee. This bill would prohibit landlords from taking action against a tenant or denying an applicant because of poor credit that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. It would also prohibit landlords from reporting negative credit information from that time.

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