(The Center Square) – The Virginia General Assembly has approved Gov. Ralph Northam’s amendments to two initiatives that would restrict homeowners and protect tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Northam’s changes to the two reforms do not change the substance of the original legislation, but rather provide clarification.
Bill 5064 and Senate Bill 5088 will require landlords to offer payment plans to tenants before they can be evicted from the premises. Invoices require tenants to be allowed to repay rent in equal monthly installments over a six-month period or until the lease expires, whichever comes first. The tenant must make their first payment within five days of the date the landlord provides them with the plan or offers an alternative plan acceptable to the landlord.
Monthly payments may include late fees accrued due to missed payments, but landlords cannot add additional fees as long as tenants comply with the payment schedule. The landlord will be allowed to initiate eviction proceedings if the tenant does not pay the payment plan.
Bill 5106 will prohibit landlords from denying a tenant’s application due to bad credit accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic or eviction for non-payment of rent during the pandemic.
These bills would only apply to homeowners who own four units or have a 10% or more interest in four units.