Property Management Blog

Northern Virginia Rental Laws - An Overview of Landlord Tenant Rights in Virginia

KRS Holdings - Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Property Management Blog

In Virginia, a lease can be established either orally or through written agreement. Once the relationship has been established, both parties obtain certain rights and responsibilities under Virginia law. 

Your tenant gains the right to live in a habitable rental unit and to have repairs done within a reasonable period of time, among other rights. On your part, you obtain the right to enter the rented unit, to pursue an eviction for lease violations, and so on.

Such rights exist regardless of whether there is a lease agreement or not. 

Required Landlord Disclosures in Virginia 

Virginia disclosures landlord

Virginia landlords have a responsibility to disclose certain information to their tenants. You must do so before the tenant agrees to rent your property. If you don’t, your tenant could use that as a legally justified reason to terminate their lease early. 

Below are the mandatory disclosures you’re required to make to your tenant:

  • Lead paint. This is a requirement for homes built in 1978 or earlier. You must let your tenant know about any presence of lead-based paint in the unit. 

  • Authorized agents. Your tenants have a right to be given the contact information regarding the unit’s landlord or property manager. 

  • Move-in checklist. You must provide your tenant with a move-in checklist. The checklist must, among other things, detail the property’s condition and inventory. 

  • Defective drywall. You must let your tenant know if there is a defective drywall in the unit. 

  • Mold. You must let a prospective tenant know about presence of mold in the unit.

  • Location adjacent to notable zones. You must let your tenant know if your Virginia property is located near a “noise zone” or an accident potential zone. 

  • Displacement or demolition. This is only applicable to multifamily units where a displacement by a rehabilitation, demolition, or conversion of the property is imminent within 6 weeks. 

  • Shared Utilities. You must disclose how utilities are going to be split between tenants, if applicable. 

Virginia Tenants Rights & Responsibilities

Virginia law (according to the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act) grants tenants the right to:

  • Live in peace and quiet enjoyment. 

  • Live in a habitable rental property. 

  • Continue living in their rented unit until the proper eviction process has been followed to remove them. 

  • Have repairs done promptly after requesting them. 

  • Be notified of any changes to the terms of the agreement. 

  • End the lease early for legally justified reasons, such as military deployment. 

The list of responsibilities for Virginia tenants includes:

  • Keeping the rental premises in a clean and sanitary state at all times. 

  • Complying with all housing and building codes that impact their safety and health. 

  • Using the provided appliances and facilities reasonably. 

  • Paying utility bills on time. 

  • Notifying the landlord of any maintenance issues on time. 

  • Respecting the peace and quiet of neighbors. 

  • Removing trash and garbage. 

  • Paying rent on time. 

  • Abiding by all terms of the lease agreement. 

Landlords’ Rights & Responsibilities

Virginia landlord tenant law 

Virginia law gives you the following rights over your tenant. The right to:

  • Evict a tenant for violating any of the terms of the lease agreement. 

  • Enforce the terms of the lease agreement, such as imposing a late fee for rent paid late. 

  • Require a tenant to pay a security deposit before signing the lease agreement. 

  • Draft a lease agreement that contains the rules of tenancy. 

  • Make changes to the terms of the agreement. You must, however, seek your tenant’s approval or wait for the existing agreement to end in order to make any changes. 

  • Enter your tenant’s unit to perform critical landlording duties. 

  • File a lawsuit in a small claims court for rent-related disputes valued at least $5,000. 

The list of landlord responsibilities is as follows in the state of Virginia:

  • Abide by the Virginia Fair Housing Act. 

  • Abide by the Virginia Warranty of Habitability. 

  • Evict tenants in accordance with the state’s eviction rules. 

  • If requiring deposits, to do so in full compliance with the Virginia security deposit rules. 

  • Only enter a tenant’s unit after serving a proper notice. 

  • Abide by all terms of the lease agreement. 

  • Respond to requested issues within a reasonable period of time. 

  • Maintain peace and quiet. 

  • Provide a prospect the required mandatory disclosure. 

An Overview of the Virginia Landlord-Tenant Act

1. Right of Entry

As a Virginia landlord, you may only enter your tenant’s unit for specific reasons. Such reasons include:

  • Court orders

  • In the event of an emergency

  • To show the unit to prospective tenants

  • To inspect the unit

  • When the tenant has abandoned the unit

  • To make agreed repairs

You must also enter only during normal business hours or as agreed by the tenant after serving them a 24 hours advance notice. 

2. Rental Evictions 

You have a right to evict your tenant for violating a term of the lease agreement. Common reasons for tenant evictions in Virginia include:

  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Violation of the lease agreement
  • Illegal acts

And even then, you must not engage in ‘self-help’ eviction tactics. The law requires strict adherence to the Virginia eviction laws for the eviction to be legal and succeed.

3. Lease Termination in Virginia 

The State of Virginia allows tenants to terminate their lease early for certain reasons, including:

  • An uninhabitable unit. 

  • Active military duty.

  • Domestic violence.

  • An early lease termination clause in the lease agreement. 

Virginia tenant laws rental agreement

4. Housing Discrimination 

The Virginia Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of certain characteristics. The characteristics include race, color, religion, disability, nationality, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, income source, and familial status.

The Fair Housing Board is the government body tasked with enforcing and administering the Virginia Fair Housing law. 

Conclusion: Tenant-Landlord Laws in Virginia

Navigating the rules of being a landlord in Virginia can be difficult, especially for self-managing or inexperienced landlords. 

For expert help, kindly get in touch with KRS Holdings. We understand all rental laws and can also help you in all property management aspects, such as finding and screening great tenants. 

Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional legal advice from a qualified attorney. Also, laws change and this content may not be updated at the time you read it.