December 20, 2018
Delegate Delaney Takes Legislative Action After Devastating Apartment Fire
Chantilly, Va.- In response to a fire that displaced 125 senior residents and destroyed 75 apartments in the 67th House District, Delegate Karrie Delaney has filed House Bill 1660, which aims to better inform renters of the risks of not having renter's insurance.
The May 2018 Forest Glen Apartment fire, initially ignited by a discarded cigarette, caused a roaring fire which resulted in $8 million dollars in damage and 3 injuries. Senior and disabled residents with four or more decades of carefully acquired personal mementos lost a lifetime’s worth of irreplaceable photographs and keepsakes. Items that had traveled with the resident's thousands of miles from other homes and countries were destroyed by the fire.
"After the fire, I received phone calls and emails from victims who were searching for ways to recover or replace their personal items," says Delegate Karrie Delaney, "many of them expressed that they assumed that the property manger's insurance covered their personal items and did not know that renters insurance was available nor needed."
For many of the apartment complex’s residents, the fire destroyed not only their home and cherished belongings, but cost thousands of additional dollars in moving expenses and related fees that were not covered by the building’s damage insurance policy. House Bill 1660 would require landlords to inform the lessee of the risks of not having renters insurance and notify the lessee that damage insurance purchased by the landlord covers only the structure and not the tenant's personal property.
"My legislation sadly cannot recover the lost personal tokens, memories, and precious items of the victims of the Forest Glen apartment fire", says Delaney, "but I hope that informing residents of the risk of not having insurance will result in more coverage and awareness for those who may experience a fire in the future."
This bill will promote tenant awareness of the limitations of their landlord’s damage insurance coverage of personal belongings in the event of an emergency and influence renters to seek insurance that would protect their personal belongings and provide relief in the case of a catastrophic event.
This piece of legislation is said to have the support of realtor groups, and the Delegate remains hopeful it will pass in the coming session.