Virginia Landlord Tenant Rights

Landlords and tenants both have rights and responsibilities under Virginia law. To better understand both, take a look at our Virginia landlord tenant rights guide.

Landlord Responsibilities

Under Virginia law, landlords have responsibilities to their tenants. These include the duty to address, provide or maintain the following:

  • Dwelling structures
  • Electricity
  • Plumbing and sanitation
  • HVAC
  • Ventilation
  • Water
  • Bed bugs
Tenants may file a Tenant’s Assertation with the District Court if the landlord fails to do any of the above in 30 days or 24 hours if the issue is an immediate danger to the safety and health of the tenant. If approved, the tenant can withhold rent until the issue is resolved. Landlords are prohibited from engaging in retaliatory conduct.

Tenant Responsibilities

Tenants likewise have responsibilities to their landlords under state law. These include the duty to:

  • Pay rent on time
  • Keep the premises in a safe and free from hazards
  • Comply with housing and building codes
  • Maintain plumbing fixtures in a clean condition
  • Reasonable use of all facilities, appliances and utilities
  • Promptly pay utility bills
  • Comply with cleanliness standards
  • Prevent moisture accumulation and mold growth
  • Discard all garbage
  • Not disturb other tenants or neighbors
  • Not remove or tamper with the smoke or carbon monoxide detector

Security Deposit

Virginia landlords can ask for a security deposit in the amount of two months’ rent. They have 30 days to return the deposit, minus any deductions for late payments, damages, outstanding utility bills, and administrative costs. Failure to do so within 30 days results in liability for the security deposit amount, damages and the tenant’s attorney fees.

Rent and Fees

Landlords in Virginia can charge any amount for rent and do not have to give notice before raising the rent amount. Late fees must be included in the lease agreement and equal to the amount the landlord has incurred because of a late rental payment.

Evictions

Landlords have several grounds on which they can evict tenants. These include:

  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Violation of lease terms
  • No lease or end of lease
  • Illegal acts

Tenants can legally terminate their lease early for the following reasons:

  • Early termination clause in the lease agreement
  • Active military duty
  • Uninhabitable unit
  • Lease violation
  • Domestic violence
  • Failure to provide mandatory disclosures

Lease Termination Notice

Landlords are required to give notice to their tenants before terminating their lease. For nonpayment of rent, the landlord must first issue a 5-day Notice to Pay before beginning eviction proceedings. Violation of lease terms result in a 30-day Notice to Comply which may lead to a 30-day notice if not addressed satisfactorily. If the lease has ended or no lease exists, week-to-week tenants should receive a 7-day notice and month-to-month tenants a 30-day notice. Landlords do not have to provide notice in the case of illegal acts.

Tenants also have to provide notice to the landlord in some cases. For week-to-week tenancies, the tenant must give a 30-day notice while month-to-month tenants are responsible for giving a 3-month notice.

Relevant State Agencies

Virginia Department of Housing and Urban Development

City-Specific Links

Virginia Beach:

Water

Electric

Gas

Chesapeake:

Landlord Tenant Relations

Water

Electric

Gas

Norfolk:

Renter Education

Landlord Education

Water

Electric

Gas

Official Rules and Regulations

Residential Landlord Tenant Act