On February 28, 2019, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a series of laws aimed at reducing eviction rates in the Commonwealth. These laws will be in effect as of July 1, 2019. The Associated Press explains that the legislation are bills that give tenants more time to pay rent and fees ahead of an eviction notice and limit the number of legal actions a landlord may file.  Each of these laws are outlined below.

 

  1. VA Code § 55-248.34:1(D)

The current “right of redemption” allows a tenant in an eviction case to pay all amounts due to the landlord on or before the first court date in order to redeem the property which requires the landlord to dismiss the case against the tenant.

As of July 1, 2019, tenants will have two days before a writ of eviction is delivered to exercise their legal right of redemption by paying all late rent and fees.

 

  1. VA Code § 8.01-470, 471

The Virginia Code currently provides that a writ of possession shall be issued within one year from the date of judgment for possession.

As of July 1, 2019, a writ of possession will be called a writ of eviction and a landlord will have 180 days, instead of a year, to file the writ of eviction.  In addition, the new law provides that any writ of eviction not executed within 30 days of its issuance shall be vacated as a matter of law, and no further action shall be taken by the clerk.

 

  1. VA Code § 8.01-126

Currently, if the summons for an eviction is filed to terminate a tenancy pursuant to the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, the initial hearing on such summons shall occur as soon as possible, but not more than 21 days from the date of filing.

As of July 1, 2019, if the case cannot be heard within 21 days from the date of filing, the initial hearing shall be held as soon as possible, but in no event later than 30 days after the date of the filing.

 

  1. VA Code § 55-248.7

The Virginia Code currently provides in the absence of a rental agreement, the tenant shall pay as rent the fair rental value for the use and occupancy of the dwelling unit.

As of July 1, 2019, a landlord will be required to offer the tenant a written rental agreement containing the terms governing the rental of the dwelling unit and setting forth the terms and conditions of the landlord tenant relationship.  In addition, when a written rental agreement is not offered by the landlord, a rental tenancy shall be deemed to exist by operation of law and establishes the terms and conditions of that tenancy.

 

  1. VA Code § 58.1-439.12:04

Currently, participating landlords are given a 10 percent tax credit of fair market value of the qualified housing unit.  The law only applies to such areas within the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical area in which less than 10 percent of the residents live below the poverty level, as defined by the United States government and determined by the most recent United States census.

As of July 1, 2019, landlords in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News Metropolitan Statistical Area will be able to take advantage of this law’s tax benefits.

 

What does this mean for You?

For landlords in Virginia, this means that changes must be made in the way that you handle your tenants.  Here at ClickNotices, we constantly review the regulatory landscape to ensure that we process all filings in compliance with the relevant jurisdictional law.  Our expert team removes the need for you to stay up-to-date on Landlord-Tenant law so you can rest easy knowing that we have the knowledge and experience necessary to navigate the legal requirements for all filings.