If you’re a tenant and renting your home or apartment, this can sometimes mean missing a rent payment. Missing a rent payment can have serious repercussions, so it’s important to know your rights.
What rights do Virginia tenants have?
The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act governs rental agreements in the state. It establishes guidelines for:
- Security Deposits
- Responsibilities of both parties (landlord and tenant)
A security deposit is usually one month’s rent paid by the tenant when they enter a rental agreement. It is intended to cover damages to the rental unit beyond normal wear and tear.
Important things to know about security deposits:
- Landlords can only charge a maximum of two months’ rent for a security deposit.
- Landlords must return a tenant’s security deposit within 45 days of the date that the tenant vacated the property and returned the keys.
Tenants have the right to occupy their home until their landlord follows all legal procedures for eviction. In Virginia, landlords must notify tenants in writing to start an eviction, but tenants are not required to move simply because they have received an eviction notice.
According to Virginia law, when a tenant fails to pay their rent, their landlord must provide them with written notice to either move or pay the rent within five days. If the tenant pays within five days, they can remain in the rental unit without issue. If the tenant does not remit payment, their landlord can legally begin the eviction process. In Virginia, all evictions must go through the state’s court system.
How has COVID-19 affected tenants’ rights?
Due to the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia has taken steps to further protect tenants. The following rules apply if you are late on rent. Your landlord must do the following:
- Offer written notice to you of amount due and owed.
- You have 14 days to pay the amount due and owed, enter into a payment plan, or make another payment plan arrangement with your landlord.
- The written notice must include information about submitting a signed statement certifying additional expenses or a loss of income due to the declared state of emergency.
- The written notice must also offer the option but not required to enter into a repayment plan for back due rent.
- The payments must be equal payments over the shorter of six months or end of lease term.
- Repayment plan cannot include late fees.
- The written notice must have information on the availability of the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program and 2-1-1 Virginia.
- The landlord will apply to RMRP on behalf of tenant or cooperate with tenant’s RRP other rental assistance application.
You can learn more about the current Virginia tenants’ rights here.
If you are currently involved in an eviction case, FIDE Law can help. We know Virginia eviction laws and can provide compassionate representation. Let us review your situation so we can assist you. Visit our website at FredericksburgImmigration.com, or call us at 540-371-4500. A member of our legal team will listen and suggest an appropriate course of action.