Bill requiring back-rent payment plans passes Virginia Senate

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A substitute version of a Virginia House bill that would require landlords to provide payment plans for renters behind on rent before they can evict a tenant passed the Senate on Thursday night.

The restrictions in House Bill 5064 would apply to landlords who own more than four dwelling units or more than a 10 percent interest in at least four dwelling units. It would require them to set up a payment plan that extends over a six-month period or until the end of the rental agreements, whichever time period is less. Tenants and landlord still can apply for state rent relief programs while on the payment plan.

The substitute version of the bill is applicable only if activated via executive order during a state of emergency. The original House version does not have that limitation, but rather sets the bill to expire July 1, 2021.

The House passed a substitute version of the Senate’s legislation last week that removed the language about the executive order and state of emergency and added the expiration date. If the two chambers cannot agree on the specifics of the bill, the differences will have to be hashed out during a joint conference committee.

The bill passed the Senate, 23-16, with some Republican opposition. It had passed the House 55-41.

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