Public Comments for: HB614 - Appeals bond; removes requirement for indigent parties to post, appeal of unlawful detainer.
Last Name: Foltz Locality: Fairfax County

Indigent persons should have the ability to appeal cases regardless of whether the landlord reports that back rent has not been paid in full. In all other cases, indigent persons may appeal without paying a fee; and the current situation for renters is a denial of their basic right to have the facts of the case looked at. At present, justice is denied to the tenant only on the basis of the landlord's word, which may itself reflect inaccurate or incomplete information. Especially during the pandemic, when the affordable housing market is extremely tight, it is not in the interest of the community for persons to be evicted, particularly without the ability to appeal the case and to present the facts. This bill corrects basic inequity in the current law affecting low-income renters, and encourages community stability.

Last Name: Amberman Organization: The Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations Locality: City of Virginia Beach

On behalf of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations, I write in support of HB614/SB474. This bill rectifies the long-overlooked denial of due process and denial of a right to a jury trial by extending the indigency waiver to all civil litigants, regardless of the type of case. With this bill, low income-tenants who wish to appeal their eviction case can ask the court to waive the appeal bond, thereby granting them full access to review of their case in Circuit Court. Thank you very much for your consideration.

Last Name: Sarmiento Organization: Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights Locality: Alexandria

This bill alleviates what is already a burdensome financial situation for many tenants. n civil cases, indigent litigants can have the money bond required to appeal their case waived unless they are appealing an eviction based on nonpayment of rent. These tenants are thus effectively denied their right to seek de novo review of their unlawful detainer case, they do not get access to the more robust pre-trial discovery available only in circuit court, and they are denied their right to a jury trial enshrined in Virginia’s Constitution. The rare tenants who can scrape together the money to pay the appeal bond must also pay ongoing rent into the court on or before the fifth day of the month or their case is summarily dismissed. If the tenant does not pay the full rent into court, upon written motion from the landlord the court must, without a hearing, enter a judgment and an order of possession against the tenant. The court must also release the appeal bond funds to the landlord without further hearing or proceeding of the court unless the tenant files a motion to retain some or all of the funds. Regardless of the merits of the tenant’s claim, the court must enter an order of possession in favor of the landlord. HB614 rectifies the long-overlooked denial of due process and denial of a right to a jury trial by extending the indigency waiver to all civil litigants, regardless of the type of case. With this bill, low income-tenants who wish to appeal their eviction case can ask the court to waive the appeal bond, thereby granting them full access to review of their case in Circuit Court. The Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights supports this bill.

Last Name: Kanoyton Organization: VA State Conference NAACP Locality: Hampton

The VA State Conference NAACP support this bill.

End of Comments