Eviction file photo

(The Center Square) – Virginia lawmakers passed legislation Friday that prohibits landlords from denying applications from prospective tenants solely because of bad credit accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic or because they were evicted for an inability to pay rent during the pandemic.

House Bill 5106 would apply to tenants who received the bad credit or were evicted between March 12 and 30 days after Gov. Ralph Northam’s COVID-19 state of emergency ends.

After some lawmakers raised concerns about the effect it could have on smaller landlords, a joint conference committee made up of members of the House and Senate included a provision that the law would apply only to landlords who own more than four dwelling units or own at least a 10 percent interest in more than four dwelling units.

Lawmakers passed a bill earlier this week that would require landlords to provide tenants with a payment plan before they can be evicted. The legislation includes a similar exemption for small landlords.

Both bills will head to the governor’s desk, where he can sign them into law, veto them or amend them and send them back to the General Assembly.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.