LEESBURG, Va. (DC News Now) — Renters are finding Loudoun County less and less affordable, and now leaders are working on solutions to ease the burden thousands face every month. The county is calling on its state representatives to solve the problem.

The problem of rent affordability is highlighted by this figure: median gross rent has outpaced median renter income. According to CoStar, the average rent in Loudoun County during Q2 of 2022 was $2,163 per month. Additionally, a household would need to earn at least $86,500 to afford the median rent in the county, Loudoun officials said.

Leaders from Loudoun County spent Wednesday night discussing their plans for the 2023 General Assembly, including the issues of mental health, education, and affordability.

“It’s something that we need to address,” said State Sen. Jennifer Boysko when discussing rent issues.

A study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies said 46% of Virginia renters are cost-burdened. 22% spend more than half of their income on housing. Additionally, Loudoun Cares, a nonprofit that connects renters to resources, saw a 170% increase between June and August of 2022.

“Eviction and rent stabilization are real issues for people,” Boysko said, citing concerns raised by her constituents and stories of people who have been left to live on the streets.

New policies could soon be introduced in Richmond at the request of Loudoun County. One would place a limit on rent increases and require a 90-day notice is a landlord does choose to increase rent.

Another would expand the commonwealth’s Eviction Prevention Pilot Program that started during COVID.

“We don’t want landlords to be financially stressed,” said Supervisor Kristen Umstattd. “On the other hand we want to be sure tenants don’t face a significant increase in rent every month, or every two months.”

While the county did ask lawmakers to push for a right-to-counsel program, where certain people facing eviction would be given legal representation, it seems unlikely it will get brought up in Richmond. Those lawmakers said Virginia code already allows local governments to set up a similar program through a nonprofit, and trying to amend the law could cause an ugly battle in a divided government.

“We don’t want to create unintended consequences by trying to push it through,” said Supervisor Michael Turner.