The Virginia landlord-tenant laws are contained in the Virginia Residential Landlord-Tenant Act. The act grants both the landlord and tenant special rights and responsibilities once a lease agreement has been established. 

Whether you’re just starting out as a landlord or are already a seasoned one, having a good understanding of your legal obligations is key. The following is a basic overview of the Virginia landlord-tenant act. 

Required Landlord Disclosures in Virginia 

Before a tenant can move in, landlords in Virginia are required to make certain disclosures. You must make disclosures on:

  • Lead Paint – You must let your tenant know of any use of lead paint on the premises. 
  • Mold – This must be part of the move-in inspection report. You must let your tenant know whether there is any presence of mold in the dwelling’s interior. 
  • Meth Production – Was your unit used for meth production in the past and it has yet to be cleaned? If so, laws require that you notify your tenant about it. 
  • Defective Drywall – Do you know of any drywall in your unit that is defective? If you do, you must notify your tenant about it. If you fail to do so and your tenant learns of it, later on, they can terminate the lease within 60 days. 

Virginia tenant rights

  • Sale of Property – If you sell the property, you must provide your tenant with the contact information of the new landlord. 
  • Demolition – Is the unit set for demolition or a serious upgrade? If so, you must provide your tenant with a written notice. 
  • Military Air Installation – Is your property located near an accident potential zone, a noise zone, or a military base? If so, you must let your tenant know. 

Virginia Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities 

Your Virginia tenants have the following rights under the statewide Residential Landlord & Tenant Act. The right to:

  • Live in the unit without being discriminated against on the basis of race, color, or any other protected characteristics
  • Live in peace and quiet as promised under the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
  • Occupy a unit that abides by Virginia’s safety, health, and structural codes
  • Live in the unit until the landlord has followed the proper eviction procedures to remove them
  • Have requested repairs done in a timely fashion
  • Be provided the amenities, features and facilities promised in the lease or rental agreement
  • Exercise any of these rights without the risk of threats or intimidation

The following are some of the responsibilities that your tenant has:

  • Maintain the unit in a safe and hazard-free state
  • Remove garbage and trash 
  • Maintain the unit to a certain level of cleanliness and sanitation 
  • Pay utility bills without fail 
  • Make use of all available utilities, appliances, and facilities in a reasonable fashion 

tenant landlord laws

  • Comply with all habitability codes that materially affect safety and health 
  • Not to tamper with or remove any functioning smoke- or carbon monoxide detector 
  • Respect the peace and quiet of neighbors by not disturbing them through loud music, for instance 

Landlords’ Rights & Responsibilities in Virginia

As a landlord, the Virginia laws give you the following rights. The right to:

  • Reasonably enter your tenant’s rented premises to perform necessary duties 
  • Proper notice from a tenant seeking to move out 
  • Draft a legally abiding lease or rental agreement 
  • Ask for a security deposit prior to a tenant moving in 
  • Terminate a lease for lease violations 
  • Refuse to renew the lease of a tenant when it ends
  • Require prospective tenants to undergo a mandatory screening process 

The Virginia landlord-tenant laws require you to:

  • Treat tenants respectfully, equally, and fairly 
  • Comply with the Virginia rent rules 
  • Abide by the Virginia security deposit laws when collecting a tenant’s security deposit 
  • Provide a unit that is habitable 
  • Prepare a lease that is legal 
  • Provide your tenants with mandatory disclosures 
  • Respect your tenant’s right to live in privacy 
  • Follow the proper eviction procedures when evicting a tenant for violating the lease 

Overview of the Virginia Landlord-Tenant Law 

Evictions in Virginia 

As a Virginia landlord, you have relatively broad authority when it comes to evicting tenants. You can evict a tenant for the following common violations:

  • Refusing to pay rent 
  • Violating the terms of the lease agreement 
  • Failure by the tenant to move out after their lease comes to an end 

Virginia landlord-tenant act

You are, however, prohibited from evicting tenants for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. 

Security Deposits 

If you require security deposits, then you must abide by certain rules that are established under the statewide tenancy laws. For example:

  • You must not charge your tenants a deposit exceeding the rent of 2 months 
  • You must return all or the remaining deposit within 30 days after the tenant moves out 
  • Make deductions only for allowable reasons, such as damages exceeding normal wear and tear 

Please note that wrongfully withholding your tenant’s security deposit can attract severe penalties.

Early Lease Termination 

Tenants can break a lease without penalty if they have a legally justified reason. In Virginia, tenants can break their lease without penalty for the following reasons: 

  • If the lease contains an early termination clause and the tenant fulfills the requirements 
  • If the unit is no longer habitable 
  • When starting an active military duty 
  • If the landlord violates the terms of the agreement 
  • If the tenant becomes a victim of domestic violence 
  • Failure by the landlord to provide mandatory disclosures 

Rent Increase in Virginia 

In Virginia, there is a law that out-rightly prohibits county and local governments from passing any legislation that regulates rent increases. As such, you may be able to increase the rent as much as you want. In addition, no law requires landlords to notify their tenants prior to raising the rent. Neither, is there a law that limits you on how much you can increase it? 

Bottom Line

As a landlord, you must ensure that you understand and follow landlord-tenant laws and any other local and federal rental regulations. If you would like help keeping track of your legal duties or managing your rentals, contact the experts at Keyrenter Property Management Hampton Roads today!

Disclaimer: This post isn’t a substitute for professional legal advice. If you require legal assistance please contact a licensed attorney.