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Eviction-Related Protections Amendment to Be Considered by General Assembly Monday

Governor Ralph Northam is sending lawmakers an amendment to a bill aimed at helping renters during the pandemic.

When the pandemic struck and lawmakers started preparing for a special session of the General Assembly, many Democrats were hoping to push through an eviction moratorium. When it became clear that wasn't happening, Delegate Joshua Cole introduced a bill aimed at helping people being evicted or trying to prevent people from being harmed by their evictions in the future.

"Initially, this bill was created that landlords couldn't even report it on your credit history," Cole explains. "But through negotiations and amendments through the House and through the Senate, it changed into its current format."

If those evictions were going to be reported, the governor wanted to make sure landlords couldn’t use it as an excuse to increase security deposits or rent. Senator Scott Surovell worked with Cole and the governor's office to make sure people aren't harmed in the future by an eviction that happened during the pandemic.

"Ten years ago, you could not obtain an eviction history on somebody. Today you can, and that eviction history is being used to either deny tenancies to people, increase their security deposits or their rent," Surovell says. "If we're going to use that kind of history, it ought to be fair information."

Lawmakers will be meeting again Monday to consider the governor's amendments, and if all works as planned, the bill will become a law next spring.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.