landlord and tenant

Understanding Tenant and Landlord Rights and Responsibilities in Virginia

Renting a property in Virginia comes with certain rights and responsibilities for both tenants and landlords. Knowing and abiding by these laws is crucial to ensure a harmonious and legally compliant rental experience. In this post, we will explore the key rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords in Virginia.

Tenant Rights


Tenants may be charged a nonrefundable application fee of up to $50 (excluding third-party background check costs) and a refundable application deposit. If the tenant does not rent the unit, the application deposit must be returned, minus any actual costs or damages.

Written Lease

Under the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (VRLTA), landlords are required to provide tenants with a written lease. In case of failure to do so, the VRLTA establishes a statutory lease for 12 months, not subject to automatic renewal.


Landlords must disclose specific information to tenants, such as visible evidence of mold, the name and address of the owner or property manager, and notice of sale or foreclosure of the property.

Security Deposit

Landlords may require a security deposit of up to two months' rent. Within five days of move-in, tenants have the right to object to anything in the move-in report and be present at a move-out inspection within 72 hours of possession delivery.


Tenants have the right to request a written receipt for rent paid by cash or money order, along with a written statement of all charges and payments over the past 12 months.


Landlords cannot release tenant information without consent, except when the information is already public.

Fit and Habitable Premises

Tenants have the right to a rental unit that complies with the Uniform Statewide Building Code, and landlords must make necessary repairs to maintain its habitability. Tenants can enforce this right by providing written notice to the landlord and waiting a reasonable period. If repairs are not made, tenants can file a Tenant's Assertion in General District Court.

Uninhabitable Dwelling Unit at Move-In

In the case of a fire hazard or serious threat to life, health, or safety at the beginning of the tenancy, tenants have the right to terminate the rental agreement and receive a full refund of all deposits and rent paid.

Repair and Deduct

If an issue affecting life, health, safety, or habitability is not addressed within 14 days after written notice from the tenant, the tenant may contract to have the repair done and deduct the actual cost from the rent.

Notification of Rent Increase

Tenants must be notified in writing of any rent increase at least 60 days before the end of the lease term if the lease contains an option to renew or an automatic renewal provision.

Tenant Responsibilities


Tenants must pay rent in equal payments each month on or before the first of the month, unless otherwise stated in the lease.

Late Fees

If rent is not paid on time, tenants must pay a late fee if the lease requires one, not exceeding 10% of the monthly rent or 10% of the unpaid balance, whichever is less.


Tenants may be required to have renters insurance, damage insurance, and/or a security deposit not exceeding two months' rent.


Tenants must allow landlords reasonable access to the unit for maintenance, inspection, or services, with 72 hours' notice for non-emergency maintenance.

Maintain Fit and Habitable Premises

Tenants must keep the rental unit clean and safe and promptly notify landlords of visible mold, insects, or pests.

Fair Housing

Tenants have the right to file a fair housing complaint if the landlord or property manager violates the Virginia Fair Housing Act.

Seek Legal Advice for a Smooth Resolution

In the event of any disputes or issues arising between tenants and landlords, seeking legal advice is of utmost importance. Rental matters can quickly become complex, and understanding your rights and legal options can make a significant difference in resolving conflicts effectively.

A qualified attorney experienced in Virginia landlord-tenant laws can provide invaluable guidance and representation throughout the process. Whether it's addressing lease violations, handling security deposit disputes, or navigating eviction proceedings, legal counsel can protect your interests and ensure compliance with the law. Call Carroll & Nuttall at 703-273-7007 today for advice on your situation.

Being well-informed about tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities in Virginia is crucial for a successful rental experience. Tenants have the right to a habitable dwelling and privacy, while landlords must fulfill their responsibilities to maintain the property and respect tenants' rights. In cases of disagreements or legal concerns, seeking legal advice is strongly recommended to ensure a smooth resolution and uphold the rights of both parties involved.


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