Virginia legislation has been updated as it pertains to notices required in the event an applicant is denied a rental based on non payment of rent or evictions within the declared state of emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic.
More specifically, any landlord who owns more than four rental dwelling units or more than 10 percent interest in more than four rental dwelling units, shall not take any adverse action, as defined in 15 U.S.C. § 1681a (k), against an applicant for tenancy based solely on payment history or an eviction for nonpayment of rent that occurred during the period beginning March 12, 2020 and ending 30 days after the expiration or revocation of any state of emergency declared by the Governor related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, if the landlord does deny such an applicant tenancy, they must provide a written notice of the denial and of the applicant's right to assert that his failure to qualify was based upon payment history or an eviction based on nonpayment of rent that occurred during the period established as the COVID-19 pandemic period. The written notice of denial shall include the statewide legal aid telephone number and website address and shall inform the applicant that he must assert his right to challenge the denial within seven days of the postmark date.
It is important to note what action a landlord must take if an applicant responds with an assertion about their failure to qualify. If that happens, and the landlord relied upon a consumer or tenant screening report to qualify the tenant, the landlord must make a good faith effort to contact the generator of the report to ascertain whether the determination to deny the applicant was due solely to the applicant’s payment history or an eviction for nonpayment of rent that occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic emergency period.
There are more details outlined in the official law that you should familiarize yourself with. For example, the law also states, “if such a landlord does not comply with the provisions of this subsection, the applicant for tenancy may recover statutory damages of $1,000, along with attorney fees.”
Read more of the details in Commonwealth of Virginia state statutes Va. Code § 55.1-1245(J).