Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances
Chapter 12. Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
10/21/2021

§ 55.1-1256. Disposal of property of deceased tenants.

A. If a tenant who is the sole tenant under a written rental agreement still residing in the dwelling unit dies, and there is no person authorized by order of the circuit court to handle probate matters for the deceased tenant, the landlord may dispose of the personal property left in the dwelling unit or upon the premises. However, the landlord shall give at least 10 days' written notice to (i) the person identified in the rental application, lease agreement, or other landlord document as the authorized person to contact in the event of the death or emergency of the tenant or (ii) the tenant in accordance with § 55.1-1202 if no such person is identified in the rental application, lease agreement, or other landlord document as the authorized contact person. The notice given under clause (i) or (ii) shall include a statement that any items of personal property left in the premises would be treated as abandoned property and disposed of in accordance with the provisions of § 55.1-1254, if not claimed within 10 days. Authorized occupants, or guests or invitees, are not allowed to occupy the dwelling unit after the death of the sole remaining tenant and shall vacate the dwelling unit prior to the end of the 10-day period.

B. The landlord may request that such authorized contact person provide reasonable proof of identification. Thereafter, the authorized contact person identified in the rental application, lease agreement, or other landlord document may (i) have access to the dwelling unit or the premises and to the tenant records maintained by the landlord and (ii) rightfully claim the personal property of the deceased tenant and otherwise handle the affairs of the deceased tenant with the landlord.

C. The rental agreement is deemed to be terminated by the landlord as of the date of death of the tenant who is the sole tenant under a written rental agreement still residing in the dwelling unit, and the landlord shall not be required to seek an order of possession from a court of competent jurisdiction. The estate of the tenant shall remain liable for actual damages under § 55.1-1251, and the landlord shall mitigate such damages.

2006, c. 820, § 55-248.38:3; 2010, c. 550; 2011, c. 766; 2014, c. 813; 2017, c. 730; 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.