Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances
Chapter 12. Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
10/23/2021

§ 55.1-1201. Applicability of chapter; local authority.

A. This chapter shall apply to all jurisdictions in the Commonwealth and may not be waived or otherwise modified, in whole or in part, by the governing body of any locality or its boards or commissions or other instrumentalities or by the courts of the Commonwealth. Occupancy in a public housing unit or other housing unit that is a dwelling unit is subject to this chapter; however, if the provisions of this chapter are inconsistent with the regulations of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, such regulations shall control.

B. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to occupancy in all single-family and multifamily dwelling units and multifamily dwelling units located in the Commonwealth.

C. The following tenancies and occupancies are not residential tenancies under this chapter:

1. Residence at a public or private institution, if incidental to detention or the provision of medical, geriatric, educational, counseling, religious, or similar services;

2. Occupancy by a member of a fraternal or social organization in the portion of a structure operated for the benefit of the organization;

3. Occupancy by an owner of a condominium unit or a holder of a proprietary lease in a cooperative;

4. Occupancy in a campground as defined in § 35.1-1;

5. Occupancy by a tenant who pays no rent pursuant to a rental agreement;

6. Occupancy by an employee of a landlord whose right to occupancy in a multifamily dwelling unit is conditioned upon employment in and about the premises or a former employee whose occupancy continues less than 60 days; or

7. Occupancy under a contract of sale of a dwelling unit or the property of which it is a part, if the occupant is the purchaser or a person who succeeds to his interest.

D. The following provisions apply to occupancy in a hotel, motel, extended stay facility, etc.:

1. A guest who is an occupant of a hotel, motel, extended stay facility, vacation residential facility, including those governed by the Virginia Real Estate Time-Share Act (§ 55.1-2200 et seq.), boardinghouse, or similar transient lodging shall not be construed to be a tenant living in a dwelling unit if such person does not reside in such lodging as his primary residence. Such guest shall be exempt from this chapter, and the innkeeper or property owner, or his agent, shall have the right to use self-help eviction under Virginia law, without the necessity of the filing of an unlawful detainer action in a court of competent jurisdiction and the execution of a writ of eviction issued pursuant to such action, which would otherwise be required under this chapter.

2. A hotel, motel, extended stay facility, vacation residential facility, including those governed by the Virginia Real Estate Time-Share Act (§ 55.1-2200 et seq.), boardinghouse, or similar transient lodging shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter if overnight sleeping accommodations are furnished to a person for consideration if such person does not reside in such lodging as his primary residence.

3. If a person resides in a hotel, motel, extended stay facility, vacation residential facility, including those governed by the Virginia Real Estate Time-Share Act (§ 55.1-2200 et seq.), boardinghouse, or similar transient lodging as his primary residence for 90 consecutive days or less, such lodging shall not be subject to the provisions of this chapter. However, the owner of such lodging establishment shall give a five-day written notice of nonpayment to a person residing in such lodging and, upon the expiration of the five-day period specified in the notice, may exercise self-help eviction if payment in full has not been received.

4. If a person resides in a hotel, motel, extended stay facility, vacation residential facility, including those governed by the Virginia Real Estate Time-Share Act (§ 55.1-2200 et seq.), boardinghouse, or similar transient lodging as his primary residence for more than 90 consecutive days or is subject to a written lease for more than 90 days, such lodging shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter.

5. Nothing herein shall be construed to preclude the owner of a lodging establishment that uses self-help eviction pursuant to this section from pursuing any civil or criminal remedies under the laws of the Commonwealth.

E. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit a locality from establishing a commission, reconciliatory in nature only, or designating an existing agency, which upon mutual agreement of the parties may mediate conflicts that may arise out of the application of this chapter, nor shall anything in this chapter be deemed to prohibit an ordinance designed to effect compliance with local property maintenance codes. This chapter shall supersede all other local ordinances or regulations concerning landlord and tenant relations and the leasing of residential property.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.3; 1977, c. 427; 2000, c. 760, § 55-248.3:1; 2001, c. 416; 2017, c. 730; 2018, cc. 50, 78, 221; 2019, cc. 180, 700, 712.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.