We strongly urge you to call your Congressional representative and urge them to vote in support of SB284.
SB 284 establishes the “Warranty of Habitability Defense,” allowing tenants to raise bad conditions a landlord has refused to repair as a defense to an eviction. By allowing judges to hear evidence of a landlord’s refusal to fix unhealthy or unsafe conditions in the home as a defense to a tenant’s nonpayment of rent, SB 284 empowers courts to ensure that landlords do not benefit from refusing to fulfill their obligation to keep the home safe and habitable.
Low-income tenants have limited choices when their landlords don’t respond to requests for essential repairs, especially if the things that are broken deprive them of essential services such as heat or hot water. If they can’t pay their rent, they are barred from bringing a court case against their landlord to force them to make repairs because Virginia law requires all rent to be paid into escrow before such a case can proceed.