Lawsuits allege 29 companies discriminated against Virginia renters

In this Sept. 1, 2021 file photo, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring addresses the Virginia FREE Leadership Luncheon in McLean. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Virginia’s attorney general’s office has filed lawsuits against more than two dozen real estate companies. The companies are being accused of discriminating against renters who are protected under a recent change to state law.

Attorney General Mark Herring’s Office of Civil Rights filed 13 lawsuits yesterday against 29 real estate companies in Richmond, Chesterfield and Henrico, said news outlets.

The Office of Civil Rights said that the companies that own and operate rental housing “categorically rejected” callers who disclosed that they were going to use a Housing Choice Voucher to pay their rent.

The lawsuits are the first of their kind under an addition to state fair housing protections that forbids housing discrimination on the basis of source of income. The law was designed to protect households living in poverty that rely on the federal voucher program to pay a portion of their rent.