Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances
Chapter 12. Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

§ 55.1-1239. Wrongful failure to supply an essential service.

A. If contrary to the rental agreement or provisions of this chapter the landlord willfully or negligently fails to supply an essential service, the tenant shall serve a written notice on the landlord specifying the breach, if acting under this section, and, in such event and after allowing the landlord reasonable time to correct such breach, may:

1. Recover damages based upon the diminution in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit; or

2. Procure reasonable substitute housing during the period of the landlord's noncompliance, in which case the tenant is excused from paying rent for the period of the landlord's noncompliance, as determined by the court.

B. If the tenant proceeds under this section, he shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees; however, he may not proceed under § 55.1-1234 as to that breach. The rights of the tenant under this section shall not arise until he has given written notice to the landlord; however, no rights arise if the condition was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, an authorized occupant, or a guest or invitee of the tenant.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.23; 1982, c. 260; 2000, c. 760; 2019, c. 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.