See pdf attachment for more detailed explanation of each new law.
(1) Written Leases Required. Starting July 1, 2019, landlords must offer written leases. If the landlord does not do that, the law sets out a specific lease that will apply. See attachment for more information.
(2) One Case at a Time and Required Evidence. Starting July 1, 2019, if nonpayment of rent is the only issue, a landlord may file only one lawsuit at a time.
(3) Pilot Eviction Diversion Program. Starting July 1, 2020, tenants in Richmond, Petersburg, Hampton, and Danville will be eligible for a mandatory pilot Eviction Diversion Program (EDP).
(4) Tenant Attorney’s Fees in Poor Housing Condition Cases. Starting July 1, 2019, attorneys who represent tenants and who win two types of cases involving poor housing conditions can get attorney’s fees.
(5) Extended Right of Redemption (Pay and Stay). Under current law, tenants get three chances to pay their rent late and stay. These chances end on the court date. Starting July 1, 2019, they will have a fourth and later chance.
(6) Use Writ or Lose Writ. Under current law, once a landlord gets a judgment of possession, the landlord can use that for up to 12 months before getting the writ of eviction. This 12-month period, during which a landlord can trigger an eviction hangs, over the head of the tenant even if all rent has been paid current and the tenant is following the lease. Starting July 1, 2019, the timeframe is shortened to six months, giving both landlord and tenant greater certainty.
Under current law, a writ of eviction that is not executed by the Sheriff simply expires after 30 days. Due to this, landlords do not know whether the tenant actually was put out by the Sheriff. Starting July 1, 2019, a writ of eviction that is not executed by the Sheriff is vacated. This will let tenants who work things out with their landlord have the writ removed from their tenant record and not be a blemish.
(7) Access to Appeal. Starting July 1, 2019, to appeal an eviction judgment based on nonpayment of rent, the tenant still must post an appeal bond for the amount of the money judgment for rent, within ten days of judgment. But after that, the tenant must only pay ongoing rent as it becomes due.