Whether you’re a landlord or tenant in Roanoke, familiarizing yourself with the Virginia residential landlord and tenant act is critical. Understanding these laws will provide you with the knowledge of what is required of you. In turn, this will help you avoid potential disputes with the other party.
Keep reading for an overview of the laws surrounding tenant-landlord relations in Roanoke.
Tenant Rights & Responsibilities in Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia renters rights include the right to:
- Live in a property that adheres to the city’s health, safety, and building codes.
- Receive a written notification when their landlord wants to alter the terms of the lease agreement.
- Have repairs completed in a reasonable amount of time after requesting them from the landlord.
- Enjoy the property in peace and quiet.
In addition to the responsibilities of a tenant that are outlined in their individual lease agreement, they are also responsible for:
- Abiding by the terms of the lease agreement and any rules or regulations within this agreement.
- Taking care of the property and keeping it clean, safe, and free from vermin.
- Not deliberately damaging or defacing the property.
- Keeping their noise levels reasonable and ensuring they are not disturbing their neighbors.
Landlord Rights & Responsibilities
As a Roanoke landlord, you have a right to:
- Receive a notice when a tenant wishes to move out of your rental property.
- Receive tenant notification whenever important repairs need to be done in the property.
- Require a security deposit when a tenant is moving in.
- Collect rent when it’s due, and enforce a late fee when it falls late.
- Get notified when a tenant is planning to leave town for an extended period of time.
As for the responsibilities, landlords are responsible for:
- Following the proper legal eviction process when they are planning to evict a tenant.
- Providing their tenants the right notices and disclosures when necessary.
- Providing tenants with a property that meets the city’s habitability standards.
- Responding to requested repairs promptly.
- Giving tenants adequate notice when looking to enter their rented premises.
- Ensuring all tenant information and records are kept private and confidential.
Required Landlord Disclosures
- Defective Drywall: A defective drywall is one that has been designated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission as a defective product. It could also be one that contains elemental sulfur exceeding ten parts per million. A landlord must disclose if the property has defective drywall that has not been repaired to their tenants. (Source: Virginia Realtors)
- Lead Paint: The presence of lead paint in a unit is also something that a landlord is required to disclose to his/her tenants.
- Mold: The landlord must also disclose evidence of mold within the interior of the property as part of the written report for move-in inspection.
- Sale of Property: If the property changes hands in the middle of a tenancy, then the landlord must disclose certain details. This includes the name and address of the new owner.
- Property Previously Used to Make Methamphetamine: If the landlord has any knowledge that the property was previously used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine and that it was not cleaned properly they must disclose this information to their tenants. (Source: Offit Kurman https://www.offitkurman.com/blog/2015/03/26/virginia-law-requires-landlords-to-clean-or-disclose-former-meth-labs-to-lease-applicants/ )
An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Law in Roanoke, VA
1. Privacy Rights
In the state of Virginia, landlords must provide tenants with notice prior to entering their rented units and must enter at a reasonable time of day. For routine maintenance entries, the notice should be at least 24 hours. If the entry involves the application of pesticide or insecticide, the notice should be at least 48 hours.
If the tenant made a maintenance request, the landlord is not required to provide them with notice prior to entering the property. In the case of an emergency, the landlord may also enter the property without the tenant’s consent.
If a landlord enters the property unlawfully or repeatedly to the point of harassment, a tenant may obtain an injunction to prevent the landlord from continuing these actions. They may also terminate the rental agreement.
2. General District Court
In Virginia, General District Court hears and determines civil cases involving monetary claims.
This is where you will file a lawsuit to evict a tenant. (Source: Nolo )
3. Withholding of Rent
Tenants in Roanoke cannot withhold rent for any reason.
However, if a landlord fails to provide a liveable property, tenants have the right to file a claim against the landlord in court.
4. Security Deposits
The state of Virginia does not allow landlords to collect a security deposit worth more than two months of rent. At the end of a tenant’s lease agreement, they may apply this deposit towards unpaid rent, property damage repairs, or other damages for terminating the rental agreement.
If the landlord withholds any of the deposit, they must provide their tenant with an itemized list of any deductions or charges within 45 days of the end of the lease agreement. Landlords may also withhold a portion of the security deposit towards any unpaid utility or water bills.
For more information on the statewide security deposit laws click here.
5. Housing Discrimination Laws
Virginia, just like all other states, makes discrimination in regard to housing illegal. Under federal and state laws, it’s illegal to discriminate prospective tenants based on disability, familial status, sex, national origin, religion, color, race, or age.
6. Warranty of Habitability
The following are some basic elements that make a property habitable:
- Functioning locks.
- Properly maintained railings, stairways, and floors.
- Adequate garbage receptacles.
- Effective weatherproofing on the windows, walls, and the roof.
- Properly functioning plumbing, heating, lighting, and electrical facilities.
- Clean and vermin-free grounds.
7. Pet Laws
Whether to allow pets or not is the sole decision of the landlord. That said, federal law requires landlords to make appropriate accommodations for tenants that have service animals.
Disclaimer: This blog shouldn’t be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in Roanoke, VA. Laws change from time to time, and this post may not be updated at the time of your reading. Additionally, you can learn more about attracting and keeping quality tenants in our post here.
Please get in touch with us at JMAX Property Management if you have questions or need further clarification regarding the landlord-tenant laws in Virginia.