Protect tenants from bad landlords!

 For ten years, I rented a room from a man who would constantly harass me and threaten me. Every time something breaks down in the house, my landlord would blame me.  My roommate and landlord also use stuff around the house, however.  My landlord would also berate me and call me names. In addition, I had spoken to another former tenant of the landlord; she said she does NOT like having to deal with the landlord. 

 I called the police several times. In most cases, however, the police would NOT do anything because the landlord committed no criminal acts and because it is his property. Every lawyer whom I have consulted said that my only option would be to find another place to live. One lawyer stated, however, that the landlord created a toxic living environment.

 The landlord eventually took me to court. I presented evidence of my landlord's misconduct at the court hearing, but the judge granted immediate possession of the property. I went to file an appeal as soon as I left the cortroom. In order to process the appeal, however, the judge requested a payment of $1,500 in cash.(I think the judge was deliberately making it difficult, if not impossible, for the appeal to occur).  Fortunately, a man whom I have known for ten years has allowed me to move in with him.

 It is clear that my home state of Virginia is NOT tenant friendly. The only legal action a tenant can take against a landlord in Virginia is to file a lawsuit or criminal charges or contact Housing Authorities. But not everyone can contact Housing Authorities because not everyone belongs to a protected class(race, gender, etc.). In addition, Virginia is among those states where more residents leave than move to. One possible reason is that Virginia grants few, if any, rights to tenants.

 Other states, however, grant considerable rights to tenants. In fact, some states impose harsh penalties upon landlords who violate tenants' rights. The time has come for the state of Virginia to protect tenants from landlords who abuse their authority. Please join me and call upon the Virginia General Assembly to grant rights to tenants.

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