This week, the Virginia General Assembly wrapped up a special session to allocate approximately $4.3 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds. About $3.5 billion was dedicated to mostly one-time expenses, while $761 million was set aside to hedge against further impacts of the pandemic. The budget took effect on August 10th with Governor Northam’s signature.
The Virginia REALTORS® government relations team worked with legislators over the past few weeks on your behalf. Here a few things to know about the new state budget language.
Landlords and Rent Relief
Under the adopted budget language, if a tenant does not pay rent when it is due, the landlord is required to give written notice informing the tenant about the Virginia Rent Relief Program (RRP). Within 14 days of serving the written notice, the landlord shall apply for RRP funds on behalf of the tenant, unless the tenant pays the full amount owed, confirms the tenant has applied for RRP funds, or enters into a payment plan with the landlord.
If the tenant refuses to cooperate with the RRP application, an initial RRP application is not approved within 45 days, or a subsequent RRP application is not approved within 14 days, the landlord may proceed to obtain possession of the premises as provided in Virginia Code § 55.1-1251. These budget provisions are in effect until June 30, 2022.
However, this state requirement is separate from the current CDC Eviction Moratorium which was extended until October 3, 2021.
With approximately $500 million left in the RRP, we strongly encourage you and your housing providers to seek funds from the Virginia Rent Relief Program.
The General Assembly dedicated more than $700 million to help the commonwealth achieve universal broadband coverage for families, schools, and businesses by the year 2024.
The legislature directed $862 million to boost the Virginia Unemployment Trust Fund, which had been depleted by the high number of claims filed during the pandemic. This cash infusion will also help Virginia businesses avoid a major tax increase that would have triggered to replenish the Unemployment Trust Fund.
DMV Walk-In Service
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will be required to resume walk-in service at customer service centers throughout Virginia within the next 60 days. The DMV has been operating under an appointment-only process for in-person visits for the past year and half, which has elicited complaints by many customers.
If you have questions or comments about the Virginia REALTORS® advocacy efforts, please reach out to us a firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Information as of 08/12/21