Landlord-Tenant Laws in Virginia

The Key Landlord-Tenant Laws in Virginia

Since no landlord-targeted rent control policies exist in Virginia, landlords enjoy more freedom in their business. Landlords, however, should keep rent pricing reasonable, as doing otherwise can put tenants in a financial bind. Here are important landlord-tenant laws in Virginia that every renter in the area should know.

  • The Fair Housing Act in Virginia protects individuals and communities against discrimination based on income, age, gender identity, and military service.
    • Those who belong to one of the protected categories are discouraged from responding to the advertisement to rent the property.
    • Refusing to engage with or lease to a person
    • Making up excuses for why a place isn’t available
    • Having varying requirements for various applicants
    • Refusing to make needed modifications so that a disabled renter can live on the property
  • Any lease over 12 months in length in Virginia must be in writing. However, landlords should have a written rental agreement as a safeguard against tenant dishonesty. A rental agreement in Virginia, as in most other states, should have the following minimum requirements:
    • The landlord’s and tenant’s contact information
    • Living arrangements
    • Terms for the return of security deposits
    • Payment dates and amounts
    • Property and tenure protections


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Landlord Laws In Virginia

  • Landlords can increase rent by any amount they like and must follow the lease’s terms and conditions and give proper notice to the tenant. Notice periods for weekly tenants are seven days, while monthly tenants are thirty days.
  • Landlords in Virginia can legally remove tenants, but they must have a good reason. Some examples of these factors include:
    • Tenant’s lease violations: Landlords must give tenants a “cure or quit” notice.
    • If the tenant is late with rent payments, the landlord can issue a “pay or quit” notice (often effective after five days).
    • Landlords have the right to give notice to vacate to tenants even if a fixed-term lease does not bind them.
    • Criminal activity is associated with the tenant.
  • Security deposits are permissible in the Commonwealth of Virginia and may be requested by the landlord. However, it can’t be more than two months’ rent. Within 45 days of the lease’s expiration, the landlord must return the security deposit to the renter. The landlords may also keep all or a portion of a tenant’s security deposit if:
    • Late rent payments
    • Rental agreement violation
    • Overdue bills
    • Agreement breach


Tenants Laws

  • Landlords in Virginia can legally request tenant screening checks such as credit reports, background checks, and criminal records. The applicant’s application deposit will be given back to them if the landlord rejects their application.
  • Landlords are prohibited from inquiring about tenants’ ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and disability.
  • A landlord cannot retaliate against a renter who has filed a valid complaint in a legally protected manner, such as filing a health and safety complaint with the government. The following are examples of retaliatory behavior:
    • The sudden rise in rent
    • Cutting back on service
    • How to Break a Lease
    • The tenant’s belongings are being removed from the rented home.
  • Tenants have the right to take matters into themselves if their landlord does not respond appropriately to their complaints regarding the quality of their living quarters. One option is to hire a licensed outside contractor to fix the problem and deduct the expense from the tenant’s rent up to $1,500 or one month’s rent.
  • Landlords in Virginia must give at least 24 hours notice to renters before accessing the rental unit for any reason, including making repairs or showing the unit to potential buyers. This won’t apply only during an emergency.


If you want more information about landlord-tenant laws in Virginia, please do not hesitate to contact us or visit this link for further information: