When looking for houses for rent, it is vital to understand that each state has different landlord and tenant laws. In Virginia, there are a variety of laws that both landlords and tenants must abide by to establish and maintain a professional relationship. Whether an individual is new to the state of Virginia or already a resident, it is ideal to learn the laws associated with both the tenant and the landlord before signing a home rental or leasing contract.
Credit Checks and Personal Information
In the state of Virginia, it is not a requirement for a landlord to request a credit check from a tenant. However, during the rental application process, a landlord is allowed to request a credit check if he feels that it is necessary. Landlords may also request references from the potential tenant's previous landlord, as well as proof of income. It is up to the potential tenant to answer the landlord's questions as honestly as possible.
Under Virginia law, a landlord cannot request a security deposit on home rentals that equal more than two months' rent. Typically, a security deposit is requested by a landlord to cover damage to home rentals or apartments that are not considered regular wear and tear.
Security deposits may be given back to the tenant either partially or in full at the end of the house rental or apartment leasing agreement. Once a tenant leaves a house rental or apartment, the landlord has 45 days to inspect the area and return the security deposit to the tenant. Tenants should conduct an inspection on any home rentals before moving in. Inspections are done for security deposit purposes. Virginia law prohibits landlords from using a security deposit to cover regular wear and tear costs on houses for rent.
Lease Lengths in the state of Virginia can vary. Certain places may rent to tenants on a monthly basis. Other places may offer leases for six months, twelve months, eighteen months, and longer. The length of a lease can be decided between the landlord and tenant. The security deposit amount may also depend on the length of the lease.
Eviction notices vary greatly from state to state. Under Virginia law, tenants have the right to stay in a residency unless written notice is provided by the landlord. A landlord is required by law to provide the tenant with a written notice of eviction. Oral notice of an eviction from a house rental or apartment is not considered a legal notice. For tenants who do not pay the rent accordingly per the lease agreement, landlords must give an eviction notice at least five days before the tenant is to be evicted. The tenant can opt to pay the rent owed or go to court.
By law, a tenant does not have to leave a house rental or apartment once a formal written eviction notice is given. The landlord and tenant must go to court before the tenant must legally leave the premises. After an eviction notice is issued, a landlord is not legally allowed to shut off utilities or lock the tenant out.
Individuals can learn more about the laws regarding landlords and tenants under the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.