Public Comments for: HB596 - Rent stabilization, local; any locality may by ordinance adopt provisions.
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The lack of affordable housing seems to be a problem everywhere, but in Hampton Roads, issues ranging from flooding to redevelopment are actively reducing the quantity of affordable rentals. HB5596 would enable a locality that chose to do so to adopt a rent stabilization ordinance. Since local government is primarily dependent on property tax for revenue, it makes sense that the locality is best equipped to make this decision. Families struggling to keep up with rising rent become unsustainably indebted, defer health care while increasing health risks, and too often are evicted. Our rate of evictions before the pandemic was shameful. Eviction damages not only the tenant, but the local economy because those evicted need services instead of being able to make purchases. When children are involved, education is disrupted and we’ve had ample evidence recently of how damaging that is. Localities need the ability to address the issue of unreasonable rent hikes in order to prevent the multitude of problems caused by the lack of affordable housing. Thank you for giving this bill your consideration. I urge you to support it.
We're in a housing crisis created by greed and not capping what landlords can charge. As we watch the fight to keep wages low play out rental prices are steadily increasing. People are being kicked out of the communities they grew up in because there is no regulation on the amount that can be charged for rent. We all lose when families cannot afford to live anywhere. We shouldn't be forcing people who live in poverty to all live in the same communities. There should be support to live in safe and affordable neighborhoods across the state without being targeted for their income levels. WE NEED RENT STABILIZATION PROGRAMS TO HELP US WHEN VOUCHER PROGRAMS AND RENT RELIEF PROGRAMS FAIL. I support HB596
My name is Michelle Chan. I live in Del Ray Alexandria, Virginia. I live in House District 45. I would like to write in support of HB596 and rent stabilization in the state of Virginia. As someone who grew up in poverty with a toxic family, I have felt the necessity of affordable housing that is actually affordable. Most of my life, I stayed with my family because I had no other choices. Paying rent would have cost my entire salary. It meant that I stayed in a toxic environment where my father was physically abusive. When I moved to Virginia, my salary was $40,000 a year. I worked full time and I worked hard. But I struggled to find housing because housing costs were astronomical. My rent was $1400. In fact, my rent was over 50% of my salary. That means that I was rent burdened. Thankfully, my rent did not increase. But I know that for other apartments, there are frequently $50 increases every year. That means that I cannot move out of my current apartment and into other apartments. I cannot afford the risk that my rent will be unilaterally increased by my landlord every year. Thankfully, my salary has increased, but I cannot imagine paying $1400 with a salary for $40,000 for longer than a year. And I still have many friends who earn $40,000 while bearing the exorbitant costs of living in Virginia. When your rent is over 30% of your salary, it means that your quality of life is significantly lesser in many ways. Just to give you a better idea, during that year, when I earned $40,000 and paid $1400 for rent. I never ate out. I couldn't afford furniture. I counted every penny. Bus fares were expensive and I would walk to work instead. Meeting people was harder since I couldn't afford to spend any money with them. I skimped on necessities, such as food, healthcare, medicine, and clothes. It was not easy. Landlords should not have the ability to unilateral raise rent. Housing is a human right. I urge you to support and push forward for rent stabilization.
With the increase in rental prices across the Commonwealth not being in line with the cost of living and wages, it becomes more and more difficult to afford anything for rent. Qualification requires grossing 3.5 times your monthly rent most times and it’s near impossible to afford anything, especially if you have minor children in your home. We need an option to cap the prices that landlords can charge for tenants that have already proven to be cost burdened. We made national headlines for the number of rent burdened families we have in Virginia; it was not for good recognition. There is an economic impact on the Commonwealth when families cannot afford to live in places that are safe and affordable. Contributing the bulk of your earnings to rent reduces the spending power that individuals have to place back into the economy and when people are evicted or fall behind, the burden falls on the public via social services and the Affordable Housing Trust programs. We have to resolve the ever-increasing rental prices for people who simply cannot afford the rent prices. I support this bill.
I am proud to voice support of HB596 on behalf of the VSC NAACP Housing Committee. We are excited to join advocates, community groups, and renters, in supporting rent stabilization because it is one significant way to ensure that as many people as possible in our communities can stay securely in their homes.Rent stabilization would immediately remove the fear of rapid rent increases for households who pay more of their income than they can afford toward rent. Rent Stabilization still allows rents to rise at a fair rate but makes illegal the sharper rent spikes that lead to residents being priced out of the homes and neighborhoods they love – spikes that are most often enacted by corporate, predatory landlords, not local property owners who are rooted in community. Like any single policy, rent stabilization won’t fix the crisis on its own; but it is a crucial tool to achieve our vision that will steady the surging market and alleviate pressures on renters. It’s one essential piece to keep people in their homes, and the VSC NAACP Housing Committee is proud to join the efforts of people in the state of Virginia. This bill will help to keep our communities strong by ensuring renters will have a home they can rely on and afford.