As a landlord in Virginia, understanding Virginia Landlord-Tenant Law is crucial to successfully managing your rental properties. The law outlines the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, aiming to ensure fair and equitable treatment for both parties.

Let’s explore the key aspects of the Virginia Landlord-Tenant Law, providing landlords with the insights needed so you can understand the legal side of investing in Virginia rentals effectively.

Required Landlord Disclosures in Virginia

In Virginia, landlords must disclose certain information to the tenants, including the following:

Nonrefundable Fees

Nonrefundable fees are considered an optional disclosure in Virginia. However, if you decide to charge nonrefundable fees to your tenants, you must include them in the lease agreement and tenants must agree.

Failure to do so may result in you having to refund the tenant these fees upon termination of the lease.

Security Deposit

Virginia landlords are allowed to collect security deposits from their tenants. It’s important to include the amount of the security deposit in the lease agreement, as well as the allowable deductions and how it will be returned after the lease expires.

Rights of Domestic Violence Victims {domestic-violence-victims}

Victims of domestic abuse have special rights under the Virginia landlord-tenant law.

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To be transparent to your tenants and to ensure that they understand their rights and responsibilities, landlords must include the rights of domestic violence victims in the lease agreement, especially when it comes to breaking the lease.

Owner or Agent Identity

In Virginia, the lease agreement must include the name and address of the landlord or any authorized agent.

This allows smooth communication between landlords and tenants. In case there is a change in contact information, the landlord must notify the tenant as soon as possible.

Move-in Checklist

Move-in checklists are part of the mandatory disclosures under Virginia law.

The property’s condition, especially any existing property damage, must be disclosed properly to the tenants. Without a move-in checklist, landlords may not be allowed to deduct from security deposits due to property damage beyond normal wear and tear.

Virginia Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

Virginia tenants have rights and responsibilities. Here are the basic Virginia tenant’s rights:

  • The right to live in a property that meets basic health, safety, and structural standards.
  • Tenants are entitled to privacy, and landlords must provide notice before entering the rented property, typically 24 hours, except in emergencies.
  • The right to receive their security deposit back, less any deductions for damages beyond normal wear and tear, within 45 days after moving out. An itemised list of deductions must be provided by landlords.

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  • Under certain conditions, tenants may withhold rent if the landlord fails to make necessary repairs that affect the property's habitability.
  • The Fair Housing Act's guarantee of equal treatment and freedom from discrimination, which forbids discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap.
  • The right to receive proper notice before eviction proceedings can begin, allowing time to either remedy the violation or vacate the property.
  • Under certain conditions, such as domestic violence, tenants may have the right to terminate their lease early without penalty.

The following are the basic tenant responsibilities in the state of Virginia. Tenants must:

  • Pay the agreed-upon rent by the due date outlined in the lease agreement.
  • Keep the property clean, safe, and free from damage beyond normal wear and tear.
  • Adhere to all terms and conditions outlined in their lease agreement, including restrictions on pets, guests, or subletting.
  • Promptly inform the landlord of any needed repairs or maintenance issues to prevent further damage to the property.
  • Allow the landlord access to the property for necessary repairs or maintenance, provided they receive proper notice.
  • Use the property solely for residential purposes unless otherwise agreed upon in the lease.
  • Conduct themselves in a manner that does not disturb their neighbors' peaceful enjoyment of their premises.

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  • Return the property in a similar condition as when they moved in, accounting for normal wear and tear.

Virginia Landlord Rights and Responsibilities

In Virginia, landlords have rights to:

  • Collect agreed-upon rent from tenants on the due dates specified in the lease agreement.
  • Increase rent in accordance with Virginia laws.
  • Collect security deposits, typically not exceeding two months' rent, to cover damages or unpaid rent.
  • Enter the rental property for inspections, repairs, or to show the property to prospective tenants or buyers (with proper notice).
  • Enforce the terms of the lease agreement and expect tenants to comply with all agreed-upon conditions.
  • Require tenants to pay for damages they cause to the property beyond normal wear and tear.
  • Evict tenants following legal procedures (with proper grounds for eviction).
  • Terminate the lease, such as at the end of the lease term, with proper notice.
  • Retain or dispose of tenants' abandoned property in accordance with Virginia laws.

Virginia landlords also have responsibilities, such as:

  • Provide habitable housing and necessary facilities
  • Make necessary repairs
  • Follow eviction rules
  • Return security deposit or what remains thereof
  • Provide proper notice for entry
  • Comply with fair housing law
  • Follow the terms of the lease

Landlord-Tenant Laws in Virginia

1. Tenant Privacy and Virginia Landlord’s Right to Enter the Dwelling

In Virginia, tenants are entitled to privacy within their rental homes. Landlords must provide tenants with a reasonable notice, typically 24 hours, before entering the premises, except in emergencies or if it's impractical to do so.

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Reasons for entry include making repairs, inspections, showing the property to prospective tenants or buyers, or in response to a tenant’s abandonment of the property.

2. The Condition, Maintenance, and Repairs

Landlords in Virginia are required to maintain rental properties in a fit and habitable condition, complying with all health and safety codes.

They should perform necessary repairs and maintenance to keep the property's essential services, such as heating, water, and electricity, in good working order. Tenants, on their part, must keep the property clean, dispose of waste properly, and avoid deliberate or negligent damage.

3. Virginia’s Housing Discrimination Laws

Virginia's Fair Housing Law mirrors the federal Fair Housing Act, prohibiting discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, elderliness, or disability.

This law applies to various housing transactions, including rentals, sales, lending, and insurance.

4. Security Deposits

In Virginia, security deposits are capped at two months' rent. Upon a tenant's lease termination and property vacation, the landlord has 45 days to return the deposit, with deductions for damages beyond normal wear and tear explicitly itemized.

5. Required Landlord Disclosures

Virginia landlords must provide tenants with specific disclosures before entering into a lease.

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These include identifying the property owner and authorized agents, any known mold presence, lead-based paint hazards for older properties, and whether the property is in a military air installation zone or flood hazard area.

6. Tenants Rights to Withhold Rent in Virginia

Virginia law permits tenants to withhold rent under certain conditions, primarily when a landlord fails to make critical repairs that affect the property's habitability.

However, this right is subject to strict legal requirements, including providing notice to the landlord and allowing a reasonable time for repairs.

7. Small Claims Lawsuits in Virginia

Virginia tenants and landlords can resort to the state's small claims court for disputes involving claims up to $5,000.

Parties typically represent themselves, making it accessible for resolving lower-stake disputes without the need for extensive legal representation.

Conclusion

Understanding the Virginia landlord-tenant law can help you navigate the rental process in this state smoothly. When in doubt, it’s best to consult with a professional property manager. Contact First Providence Property Management and we will be happy to serve you!

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in this blog is intended for general guidance and should not be considered as a replacement for professional legal advice. It is important to be aware that laws pertaining to property management may change, rendering this information outdated by the time you read it.