Everything You Need to Know about Virginia’s Landlord Tenant Laws

As you may know, each state in the US has their own local landlord tenant laws to protect all parties involved with a rental unit. If you’ve ever been curious about the Virginia landlord tenant law, then keep reading!

Tenant’s Rights and Obligations in Virginia

In each state, the landlord and tenant has their own set of rights and obligations to protect both parties from being taken advantage of. To help landlords better understand the Virginia landlord tenant law, let’s start with the rights and obligations of the Virginia tenant.

The rights of Virginia tenants are as follows:

  • To find housing without discrimination or violation of the Fair Housing Act
  • To a safe and habitable living environment
  • To report any health or safety concerns and violations related to the unit

Here are the responsibilities of the tenant:

  • Maintain a safe and habitable condition within the Virginia rental home
  • Abide by the written rental agreement
  • Adhere to any and all housing codes that affect health and safety
  • Make sure that all plumbing fixtures remain clean
  • Use all appliances and fixtures for their intended purpose
  • Pay rent on time
  • Pay utility bills in a timely manner
  • Keep the unit in a reasonable state of cleanliness
  • Trash removal
  • Avoid damaging or neglecting the dwelling, beyond normal wear and tear
  • Respect other tenants and neighbors
  • Prevent the growth of mold and mildew
  • Avoid tampering with or removing any functioning smoke or carbon monoxide detector

Landlord’s Rights and Responsibilities

While each tenant has obligations and rights under law and their lease, every Virginia residential landlord has the same.

diverse couple looking over lease agreement with landlord

Here is an overview of the rights of a Virginia residential landlord:

  • To evict a tenant who is not abiding by the terms of the lease agreement
  • Collect rent payments and security deposits from each tenant
  • Enter the rental dwelling in case of emergency.

The responsibilities of the landlord are as follows:

  • Provide a dwelling that is safe and habitable
  • Abide by the terms of the lease or rental agreement
  • Make necessary repairs within 30 days of the maintenance request
  • If the issue causes health and safety concerns, it must be repaired in 24 hours

An Overview of the Landlord Tenant Laws in Virginia

The Privacy of Each Tenant, and Landlord’s Right to Enter the Dwelling

Under the Virgina landlord tenant act, a landlord must give their tenant at least 24 hours written notice before entering the rental premises. However, in the event of an emergency that affects the residents health and well being, the landlord may enter without notice.

The Condition, Maintenance, and Repairs of the Property

Under Virginia landlord tenant regulations, it is part of landlord responsibilities to ensure that each tenant lives in habitable and safe conditions. This includes taking care of the following features of the property:

  • Structural integrity of the property
  • Working electricity
  • Functioning plumbing and sanitation
  • Heating and air conditioning units
  • Adequate ventilation
  • Running water

Housing Discrimination Laws in Virginia

According to the Fair Housing Act, the tenant may not be discriminated against based on their race, nationality, color, sex, familial status, religion, or disability.

two people holding moving boxes in front of their faces

According to Virginia law, the landlord tenant act extends this protection, stating that it is prohibited to discriminate against a tenant based on their age (this only applies to a tenant over the age of 55).

The Virginia Fair Housing Board handles all discrimination cases. If a discrimination complaint is deemed justified by the board, then it may be used by the tenant as the basis for civil litigation.

Security Deposit Rules in Virginia

Collecting a security deposit from a tenant is one of the most common ways for a landlord to protect themselves and their unit from lost funds or damages caused by a tenant.

However, there are some regulations in Virginia regarding how much a landlord may charge for a security deposit, and how the deposit may be used.

Virginia law states that landlords may charge no more than 2 months rent for a security deposit. They may use the deposit to cover the cost of unpaid or late rent, damages to the property that are beyond normal wear and tear, unpaid utility bills, or any administrative fees related to new rental agreements.

After the end of the lease, a landlord has 30 days to return the security deposit, or what’s left after deductions, to the tenant. If they fail to do this, they may be required to pay not only the deposit but also any penalties for “actual damages” and the tenant’s legal fees.

Required Virginia Landlord Disclosures

According to Virgina law, there is a set amount of disclosures that landlords or property management companies are legally required to provide to their residents. These should be given in writing, typically as part of the lease or rental agreement.

person reading over contract

The mandatory rental agreement disclosures are as following:

  • Lead based paint: If the rental home was built prior to 1978, then the landlord must provide information on possible concentrations of lead paint
  • Move-In checklist: Renters must receive a move-in checklist from landlords outlining the condition of the property and what they will be responsible for
  • Authorized agents: All tenants are entitled to receive a full list of all parties who own or manage the rental, including their names and addresses
  • Location adjacent to military institutions: It must be indicated whether or not the rental home is located near a military institution, as this may be classified as a “noise zone” or an “accident potential zone”
  • Defective drywall: Renters must be made aware if any parts of the drywall are defective
  • Methamphetamine manufacturing: If the landlord has any knowledge of the property being previously used to manufacture methamphetamines, this information must be disclosed
  • Mold: Any mold on the property must be disclosed prior to move-in
  • Shared utilities: Tenants must be aware of how utilities will be split between themselves and other tenants
  • Demolition or replacement: This applies to any multifamily complex where residents may be displaced due to a scheduled demolition or conversion of the property

Virginia Tenants’ Right to Withhold Rent

In Virginia, if a landlord fails to uphold their rental agreement obligations to provide necessary repairs to the rental home, then a tenant may file a Tenant Assertion with the district court. The court will then decide if the tenant can legally withhold rent payments from the landlord.

Small Claims Court

Should there be a landlord tenant dispute, Virginia’s small claims court will hear rent related cases of $5,000 or more.

Bottom Line

For all questions regarding the landlord and tenant roles in Virginia Landlord Tenant Laws, security deposit laws, eviction process, and breaking a lease in Virginia, feel free to contact Redsail Property Management. Our team of industry leaders are here to help you every step of the way!

_Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in the state of Maryland. Laws frequently change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.