Senate Democrats Propose Housing Reform Measures to Combat Virginia Eviction Crisis
Richmond—In 2016, five Virginia cities ranked in Eviction Lab’s top 10 cities with the highest eviction rates in the United States. After this revelation, Democrats in both the House of Delegates and the Senate got to work to remedy this major issue. As chair of the Housing Commission, Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) introduced three fair housing bills, all of which passed through the Senate unanimously: SB 1448; SB 1449; and SB 1450. SB 1448 passed the House unanimously earlier this week and is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature to make it law.
“Housing eviction rates in our Commonwealth are a disgrace,” said Senator Locke. “It is no secret that the laws and regulations around eviction in Virginia are intentionally vague and disproportionately target our most vulnerable communities. After months of hard work in conjunction with the Virginia Housing Commission, my fellow Democrats and I have worked to pass bipartisan legislation that helps to ensure greater consumer protections and renter fairness so that hard working Virginians are not losing the roofs over their heads.”
With just under two weeks left in session, Senate Democrats will continue to work to reduce eviction rates and improve affordable housing across Virginia.
SB 1448, 1449, and 1450 were created at the recommendation of the Virginia Housing Commission. SB 1448 changes the terminology from writ of possession to writ of eviction for the writ executed by a sheriff to recover real property pursuant to an order of possession. The bill specifies that an order of possession remains effective for 180 days after being granted by the court and clarifies that any writ of eviction not executed within 30 days of its issuance shall be vacated as a matter of law.SB 1449, created at the recommendation of the Virginia Housing Commission, establishes provisions that are applicable to executory real estate contracts. SB 1450 creates an eviction diversion pilot program that will serve Commonwealth families until 2023 and will then make legislative recommendations to lawmakers in time for the 2023 session.