The Virginia legislature made some changes to Virginia fair housing law in this 2020 term, effective July 1 2020, and source of funds is now a protected class. This is important to understand for everyone who owns or manages rental properties in Virginia!
What does this mean? “It is now illegal to discriminate in the sale or rental of a residential property based on a person’s source of funds” according to this article from the Virginia Association of Realtors.
What does “source of funds” mean? It’s a rental assistance, benefit, or subsidy program. These programs are what we think of with terms such as “Section 8” or “Housing Choice Voucher”.
So if a rental applicant is using a rental assistance program, as a landlord you cannot factor that in to your decision whether or not to accept that applicant.
There are two exceptions to this law:
(1) if the landlord owns four or less rental properties in Virginia. Ownership includes having more than a 10% interest in a business entity that owns rental property.
(2) “If the source of income is not approved by the administering program within 15 days, the owner is able to deny the tenant’s application.” (source)
Questions about screening applicants, or owning investment property in Virginia? Reach out, I’m happy to help!