The Virginia House of Delegates Friday passed a bill that will bind landlords to tenants who do not pay rent.
The text of HB 2014, sponsored by Rep. Marcia Price (D-VA-95) says the following:
Prohibits a landlord from accepting full payment of rent, as well as any damages, money judgment, award of attorney fees, and court costs, from a tenant and receiving an order of possession pursuant to an unlawful detainer action and proceeding with eviction, unless there are bases for the entry of an order of possession other than nonpayment of rent stated in the unlawful detainer action filed by the landlord.
In other words, the bill bans landlords from accepting “rent with reservation.”
That means that if a tenant is overdue on his or her rent balance, the tenant cannot be forced to pay the overdue balance and then be evicted. Instead, the landlord must choose to either accept payment of the overdue balance and let the tenant stay, or evict the tenant without collecting the overdue balance.
In essence, the bill makes it easier for tenants to avoid paying rent.
It was passed along party lines, with Democrats voting in favor of the bill, and Republicans voting against it. Two delegates abstained from voting.
The New Virginia Majority, a non-profit that describes itself as “a multi-issue, multiracial, multilingual movement for a just and democratic Virginia,” celebrated the passage of the bill on Twitter.
“HB 2014, patroned [sic] by [Price] just passed in the House! The bill prohibits landlords from accepting ‘rent with reservation’ – accepting full payment of all rent that is overdue from a tenant and proceeding with an eviction,” the group said.
HB 2014, patroned by @PriceForDel95, just passed in the House!
The bill prohibits landlords from accepting “rent with reservation” – accepting full payment of all rent that is overdue from a tenant and proceeding with an eviction. #VALeg pic.twitter.com/FMVtMGtlHm
— New Virginia Majority (@NewVAMajority) February 5, 2021
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has cost millions of Americans their livelihoods, President Joe Biden extended former President Donald Trump’s federal eviction moratorium through March 31. Landlords are currently barred from evicting tenants under any circumstances.
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