‘I think it’s awesome for the tenants’: Gov. Northam signs bills aimed at reducing evictions

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a package of bills aimed at reducing the state’s eviction rate.

Northam announced Thursday he’d signed several pieces of tenant-friendly legislation that’s part of his affordable housing priorities. Among 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.

Study: Hampton Roads cities on top ten list for highest eviction rates

10 On Your Side spoke with a local attorney who believes these laws balance the scales between landlords and tenants.

“I think it’s awesome for the tenants.  It sort of balances the line.  Virginia had a high eviction rate and the legislature, as well as the governor, looked into it and the changes they made, I think, will make a big difference,” said Michael Goodove, an attorney with Swartz, Taliaferro, Swartz and Goodove in Norfolk. 

The bills were recommended by the Virginia Housing Commission after compromises were reached between landlord groups and tenant advocates. Some cities in Virginia have some of the nation’s highest rates of orders for eviction.

“I don’t know that you’ll see as many as evictions, but the proof is going to be in the pudding.  I mean we’re going to see what’s going to happen.  It does give the tenant a redemption period whereby the tenant can redeem themselves one time within a twelve month period, but it gives them a second chance,” said Goodove.  “It gives the tenant a second chance, and many times a second chance is all the tenant needs.”

Northam said he plans to sign other bills aimed at reducing evictions in coming weeks.

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