Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances
Chapter 12. Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
7/25/2021

Article 2. Landlord Obligations.

§ 55.1-1214. Inspection of dwelling unit; report.

A. The landlord shall, within five days after occupancy of a dwelling unit, submit a written report to the tenant itemizing damages to the dwelling unit existing at the time of occupancy, and the report shall be deemed correct unless the tenant objects to it in writing within five days after receipt of the report.

B. The landlord may adopt a written policy allowing the tenant to prepare the written report of the move-in inspection, in which case the tenant shall submit a copy to the landlord, and the report shall be deemed correct unless the landlord objects thereto in writing within five days after receipt of the report. Such written policy adopted by the landlord may also provide for the landlord and the tenant to prepare the written report of the move-in inspection jointly, in which case both the landlord and the tenant shall sign the written report and receive a copy of the report, at which time the inspection report shall be deemed correct.

C. If any damages are reflected on the written report, a landlord is not required to make repairs to address such damages unless required to do so under § 55.1-1215 or 55.1-1220.

1977, c. 427, § 55-248.11:1; 1992, c. 451; 2000, c. 760; 2016, c. 744; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1215. Disclosure of mold in dwelling units.

As part of the written report of the move-in inspection required by § 55.1-1214, the landlord shall disclose whether there is any visible evidence of mold in areas readily accessible within the interior of the dwelling unit. If the landlord's written disclosure states that there is no visible evidence of mold in the dwelling unit, this written statement shall be deemed correct unless the tenant objects to it in writing within five days after receiving the report. If the landlord's written disclosure states that there is visible evidence of mold in the dwelling unit, the tenant shall have the option to terminate the tenancy and not take possession or remain in possession of the dwelling unit. If the tenant requests to take possession, or remain in possession, of the dwelling unit, notwithstanding the presence of visible evidence of mold, the landlord shall promptly remediate the mold condition but in no event later than five business days after the tenant's request to take possession or decision to remain in possession, reinspect the dwelling unit to confirm that there is no visible evidence of mold in the dwelling unit, and prepare a new report stating that there is no visible evidence of mold in the dwelling unit upon reinspection.

2004, c. 226, § 55-248.11:2; 2008, c. 640; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1216. Disclosure of sale of premises.

A. For the purpose of service of process and receiving and issuing receipts for notices and demands, the landlord or any person authorized to enter into a rental agreement on his behalf shall disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the beginning of the tenancy the name and address of:

1. The person authorized to manage the premises; and

2. An owner of the premises or any other person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner.

B. In the event of the sale of the premises, the landlord shall notify the tenant of such sale and disclose to the tenant the name and address of the purchaser and a telephone number at which such purchaser can be located.

C. With respect to a multifamily dwelling unit, if an application for registration of the rental property as a condominium or cooperative has been filed with the Real Estate Board, or if there is within six months an existing plan for tenant displacement resulting from (i) demolition or substantial rehabilitation of the property or (ii) conversion of the rental property to office, hotel, or motel use or planned unit development, the landlord or any person authorized to enter into a rental agreement on his behalf shall disclose that information in writing to any prospective tenant.

D. The information required to be furnished by this section shall be kept current, and the provisions of this section extend to and are enforceable against any successor landlord or owner. A person who fails to comply with this section becomes an agent of each person who is a landlord for the purposes of service of process and receiving and issuing receipts for notices and demands.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.12; 1983, c. 257; 2000, c. 760; 2017, c. 730; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1217. Required disclosures for properties located adjacent to a military air installation; remedy for nondisclosure.

A. The landlord of property in any locality in which a military air installation is located, or any person authorized to enter into a rental agreement on his behalf, shall provide to a prospective tenant a written disclosure that the property is located in a noise zone or accident potential zone, or both, as designated by the locality on its official zoning map. Such disclosure shall be provided prior to the execution by the tenant of a written lease agreement or, in the case of an oral lease agreement, prior to occupancy by the tenant. The disclosure shall specify the noise zone or accident potential zone in which the property is located according to the official zoning map of the locality. A disclosure made pursuant to this section containing inaccurate information regarding the location of the noise zone or accident potential zone shall be deemed as nondisclosure unless the inaccurate information is provided by an officer or employee of the locality in which the property is located.

B. Any tenant who is not provided the disclosure required by subsection A may terminate the lease agreement at any time during the first 30 days of the lease period by sending to the landlord by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, a written notice of termination. Such termination shall be effective as of (i) 15 days after the date of the mailing of the notice or (ii) the date through which rent has been paid, whichever is later. In no event, however, shall the effective date of the termination exceed one month from the date of mailing. Termination of the lease agreement shall be the exclusive remedy for the failure to comply with the disclosure provisions of this section, and shall not affect any rights or duties of the landlord or tenant arising under this chapter, other applicable law, or the rental agreement.

2005, c. 511, § 55-248.12:1; 2017, c. 730; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1218. Required disclosures for properties with defective drywall; remedy for nondisclosure.

A. If the landlord of a dwelling unit has actual knowledge of the existence of defective drywall in such dwelling unit that has not been remediated, the landlord shall provide to a prospective tenant a written disclosure that the property has defective drywall. Such disclosure shall be provided prior to the execution by the tenant of a written lease agreement or, in the case of an oral lease agreement, prior to occupancy by the tenant. For purposes of this section, "defective drywall" means all defective drywall as defined in § 36-156.1.

B. Any tenant who is not provided the disclosure required by subsection A may terminate the lease agreement at any time within 60 days of discovery of the existence of defective drywall by providing written notice to the landlord in accordance with the lease or as required by law. Such termination shall be effective as of (i) 15 days after the date of the mailing of the notice or (ii) the date through which rent has been paid, whichever is later. In no event, however, shall the effective date of the termination exceed one month from the date of mailing. Termination of the lease agreement shall be the exclusive remedy for the failure to comply with the disclosure provisions of this section, and shall not affect any rights or duties of the landlord or tenant arising under this chapter, other applicable law, or the rental agreement.

2011, cc. 34, 46, § 55-248.12:2; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1219. Required disclosures for property previously used to manufacture methamphetamine; remedy for nondisclosure.

A. If the landlord of a dwelling unit has actual knowledge that the dwelling unit was previously used to manufacture methamphetamine and has not been cleaned up in accordance with the guidelines established pursuant to § 32.1-11.7 and the applicable licensing provisions of Chapter 11 (§ 54.1-1100 et seq.) of Title 54.1, the landlord shall provide to a prospective tenant a written disclosure that states such information. Such disclosure shall be provided prior to the execution by the tenant of a written lease agreement or, in the case of an oral lease agreement, prior to occupancy by the tenant.

B. Any tenant who is not provided the disclosure required by subsection A may terminate the lease agreement at any time within 60 days of discovery that the property was previously used to manufacture methamphetamine and has not been cleaned up in accordance with the guidelines established pursuant to § 32.1-11.7 by providing written notice to the landlord in accordance with the lease or as required by law. Such termination shall be effective as of (i) 15 days after the date of the mailing of the notice or (ii) the date through which rent has been paid, whichever is later. In no event, however, shall the effective date of the termination exceed one month from the date of mailing. Termination of the lease agreement shall be the exclusive remedy for the failure to comply with the disclosure provisions required by this section and shall not affect any rights or duties of the landlord or tenant arising under this chapter, other applicable law, or the rental agreement.

2013, c. 557, § 55-248.12:3; 2016, c. 527; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1220. Landlord to maintain fit premises.

A. The landlord shall:

1. Comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;

2. Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;

3. Keep all common areas shared by two or more dwelling units of a multifamily premises in a clean and structurally safe condition;

4. Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by him;

5. Maintain the premises in such a condition as to prevent the accumulation of moisture and the growth of mold and promptly respond to any notices from a tenant as provided in subdivision A 10 of § 55.1-1227. Where there is visible evidence of mold, the landlord shall promptly remediate the mold conditions in accordance with the requirements of subsection E of § 8.01-226.12 and reinspect the dwelling unit to confirm that there is no longer visible evidence of mold in the dwelling unit. The landlord shall provide a tenant with a copy of a summary of information related to mold remediation occurring during that tenancy and, upon request of the tenant, make available the full package of such information and reports not protected by attorney-client privilege. Once the mold has been remediated in accordance with professional standards, the landlord shall not be required to make disclosures of a past incidence of mold to subsequent tenants;

6. Provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the collection, storage, and removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of dwelling units and arrange for the removal of same;

7. Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable air conditioning if provided and heat in season except where the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat, air conditioning, or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant or supplied by a direct public utility connection; and

8. Provide a certificate to the tenant stating that all smoke alarms are present, have been inspected, and are in good working order no more than once every 12 months. The landlord, his employee, or an independent contractor may perform the inspection to determine that the smoke alarm is in good working order.

B. The landlord shall perform the duties imposed by subsection A in accordance with law; however, the landlord shall only be liable for the tenant's actual damages proximately caused by the landlord's failure to exercise ordinary care.

C. If the duty imposed by subdivision A 1 is greater than any duty imposed by any other subdivision of that subsection, the landlord's duty shall be determined by reference to subdivision A 1.

D. The landlord and tenant may agree in writing that the tenant perform the landlord's duties specified in subdivisions A 3, 6, and 7 and also specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, and remodeling, but only if the transaction is entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord and if the agreement does not diminish or affect the obligation of the landlord to other tenants in the premises.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.13; 1987, cc. 361, 636; 2000, c. 760; 2004, c. 226; 2007, c. 634; 2008, cc. 489, 640; 2009, c. 663; 2014, c. 632; 2015, c. 274; 2017, c. 730; 2018, cc. 41, 81; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1221. Landlord to provide locks and peepholes.

The governing body of any locality may require by ordinance that any landlord who rents five or more dwelling units in any one multifamily building shall install:

1. Dead-bolt locks that meet the requirements of the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.) for new multifamily construction and peepholes in any exterior swinging entrance door to any such unit; however, any door having a glass panel shall not require a peephole;

2. Manufacturer's locks that meet the requirements of the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.) and removable metal pins or charlie bars in accordance with the Uniform Statewide Building Code on exterior sliding glass doors located in a building at any level designated in the ordinance; and

3. Locking devices that meet the requirements of the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.) on all exterior windows.

Any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall further provide that any landlord subject to the ordinance shall have a reasonable time as determined by the governing body in which to comply with the requirements of the ordinance.

1977, c. 464, § 55-248.13:1; 1988, c. 500; 2017, c. 730; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1222. Access of tenant to cable, satellite, and other television facilities.

No landlord of a multifamily dwelling unit shall demand or accept payment of any fee, charge, or other thing of value from any provider of cable television service, cable modem service, satellite master antenna television service, direct broadcast satellite television service, subscription television service, or service of any other television programming system in exchange for granting a television service provider mere access to the landlord's tenants or giving the tenants of such landlord mere access to such service. A landlord may enter into a service agreement with a television service provider to provide marketing and other services to the television service provider designed to facilitate the television service provider's delivery of its services. Under such a service agreement, the television service provider may compensate the landlord for the reasonable value of the services provided and for the reasonable value of the landlord's property used by the television service provider.

No landlord shall demand or accept any such payment from any tenants in exchange for such service unless the landlord is itself the provider of the service, nor shall any landlord discriminate in rental charges between tenants who receive any such service and those who do not. Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit a landlord from (i) requiring that the provider of such service and the tenant bear the entire cost of the installation, operation, or removal of the facilities incident to such service or (ii) demanding or accepting reasonable indemnity or security for any damages caused by such installation, operation, or removal.

1982, c. 323, § 55-248.13:2; 2000, c. 760; 2003, cc. 60, 64, 68; 2017, c. 730; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1223. Notice to tenants for insecticide or pesticide use.

A. The landlord shall give written notice to the tenant no less than 48 hours prior to his application of an insecticide or pesticide in the tenant's dwelling unit unless the tenant agrees to a shorter notification period. If a tenant requests the application of the insecticide or pesticide, the 48-hour notice is not required. Tenants who have concerns about specific insecticides or pesticides shall notify the landlord in writing no less than 24 hours before the scheduled insecticide or pesticide application. The tenant shall prepare the dwelling unit for the application of insecticides or pesticides in accordance with any written instructions of the landlord and, if insects or pests are found to be present, follow any written instructions of the landlord to eliminate the insects or pests following the application of insecticides or pesticides.

B. In addition, the landlord shall post notice of all insecticide or pesticide applications in areas of the premises other than the dwelling units. Such notice shall consist of conspicuous signs placed in or upon such premises where the insecticide or pesticide will be applied at least 48 hours prior to the application.

C. A violation by the tenant of this section may be remedied by the landlord in accordance with § 55.1-1248 or by notice given by the landlord requiring the tenant to remedy in accordance with § 55.1-1245, as applicable.

2000, c. 760, § 55-248.13:3; 2009, c. 663; 2018, c. 221; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1224. Limitation of liability.

Unless otherwise agreed, a landlord who conveys premises that include a dwelling unit subject to a rental agreement in a good faith sale to a bona fide purchaser is relieved of liability under the rental agreement and this chapter as to events occurring subsequent to notice to the tenant of the conveyance. Unless otherwise agreed, a managing agent of premises that includes a dwelling unit is relieved of liability under the rental agreement and this chapter as to events occurring after written notice to the tenant of the termination of his management.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.14; 1987, c. 313; 2000, c. 760; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1225. Tenancy at will; effect of notice of change of terms or provisions of tenancy.

A notice of any change by a landlord or tenant in any terms or provisions of a tenancy at will shall constitute a notice to vacate the premises, and such notice of change shall be given in accordance with the terms of the rental agreement, if any, or as otherwise required by law.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.15; 2000, c. 760; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1226. Security deposits.

A. No landlord may demand or receive a security deposit, however denominated, in an amount or value in excess of two months' periodic rent. Upon termination of the tenancy or the date the tenant vacates the dwelling unit, whichever occurs last, such security deposit, whether it is property or money held by the landlord as security as provided in this section, may be applied by the landlord solely to (i) the payment of accrued rent, including the reasonable charges for late payment of rent specified in the rental agreement; (ii) the payment of the amount of damages that the landlord has suffered by reason of the tenant's noncompliance with § 55.1-1227, less reasonable wear and tear; (iii) other damages or charges as provided in the rental agreement; or (iv) actual damages for breach of the rental agreement pursuant to § 55.1-1251. The security deposit and any deductions, damages, and charges shall be itemized by the landlord in a written notice given to the tenant, together with any amount due to the tenant, within 45 days after the termination date of the tenancy or the date the tenant vacates the dwelling unit, whichever occurs last. As of the date of the termination of the tenancy or the date the tenant vacates the dwelling unit, whichever occurs last, the tenant shall be required to deliver possession of the dwelling unit to the landlord. If the termination date is prior to the expiration of the rental agreement or any renewal thereof, or the tenant has not given proper notice of termination of the rental agreement, the tenant shall be liable for actual damages pursuant to § 55.1-1251, in which case, the landlord shall give written notice of security deposit disposition within the 45-day period but may retain any security balance to apply against any financial obligations of the tenant to the landlord pursuant to this chapter or the rental agreement. If the tenant fails to vacate the dwelling unit as of the termination of the tenancy, the landlord may file an unlawful detainer action pursuant to § 8.01-126.

B. Where there is more than one tenant subject to a rental agreement, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by each of the tenants, disposition of the security deposit shall be made with one check being payable to all such tenants and sent to a forwarding address provided by one of the tenants. The landlord shall make the security deposit disposition within the 45-day time period required by subsection A, but if no forwarding address is provided to the landlord, the landlord may continue to hold such security deposit in escrow. If a tenant fails to provide a forwarding address to the landlord to enable the landlord to make a refund of the security deposit, upon the expiration of one year from the date of the end of the 45-day time period, the landlord may remit such sum to the State Treasurer as unclaimed property on a form prescribed by the administrator that includes the name; social security number, if known; and last known address of each tenant on the rental agreement. If the landlord or managing agent is a real estate licensee, compliance with this subsection shall be deemed compliance with § 54.1-2108 and corresponding regulations of the Real Estate Board.

C. Nothing in this section shall be construed by a court of law or otherwise as entitling the tenant, upon the termination of the tenancy, to an immediate credit against the tenant's delinquent rent account in the amount of the security deposit. The landlord shall apply the security deposit in accordance with this section within the 45-day time period required by subsection A. However, provided that the landlord has given prior written notice in accordance with this section, the landlord may withhold a reasonable portion of the security deposit to cover an amount of the balance due on the water, sewer, or other utility account that is an obligation of the tenant to a third-party provider under the rental agreement for the dwelling unit, and upon payment of such obligations the landlord shall provide written confirmation to the tenant within 10 days, along with payment to the tenant of any balance otherwise due to the tenant. In order to withhold such funds as part of the disposition of the security deposit, the landlord shall have so advised the tenant of his rights and obligations under this section in (i) a termination notice to the tenant in accordance with this chapter, (ii) a written notice to the tenant confirming the vacating date in accordance with this section, or (iii) a separate written notice to the tenant at least 15 days prior to the disposition of the security deposit. Any written notice to the tenant shall be given in accordance with § 55.1-1202.

The tenant may provide the landlord with written confirmation of the payment of the final water, sewer, or other utility bill for the dwelling unit, in which case the landlord shall refund the security deposit, unless there are other authorized deductions, within the 45-day period required by subsection A. If the tenant provides such written confirmation after the expiration of the 45-day period, the landlord shall refund any remaining balance of the security deposit held to the tenant within 10 days following the receipt of such written confirmation provided by the tenant. If the landlord otherwise receives confirmation of payment of the final water, sewer, or other utility bill for the dwelling unit, the landlord shall refund the security deposit, unless there are other authorized deductions, within the 45-day period.

D. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the landlord from making the disposition of the security deposit prior to the 45-day period required by subsection A and charging an administrative fee to the tenant for such expedited processing, if the rental agreement so provides and the tenant requests expedited processing in a separate written document.

E. The landlord shall notify the tenant in writing of any deductions provided by this section to be made from the tenant's security deposit during the course of the tenancy. Such notification shall be made within 30 days of the date of the determination of the deduction and shall itemize the reasons in the same manner as provided in subsection F. No such notification shall be required for deductions made less than 30 days prior to the termination of the rental agreement. If the landlord willfully fails to comply with this section, the court shall order the return of the security deposit to the tenant, together with actual damages and reasonable attorney fees, unless the tenant owes rent to the landlord, in which case the court shall order an amount equal to the security deposit credited against the rent due to the landlord. In the event that damages to the premises exceed the amount of the security deposit and require the services of a third-party contractor, the landlord shall give written notice to the tenant advising him of that fact within the 45-day period required by subsection A. If notice is given as prescribed in this subsection, the landlord shall have an additional 15-day period to provide an itemization of the damages and the cost of repair. This section shall not preclude the landlord or tenant from recovering other damages to which he may be entitled under this chapter. The holder of the landlord's interest in the premises at the time of the termination of the tenancy, regardless of how the interest is acquired or transferred, is bound by this section and shall be required to return any security deposit received by the original landlord that is duly owed to the tenant, whether or not such security deposit is transferred with the landlord's interest by law or equity, regardless of any contractual agreements between the original landlord and his successors in interest.

F. The landlord shall:

1. Maintain and itemize records for each tenant of all deductions from security deposits provided for under this section that the landlord has made by reason of a tenant's noncompliance with § 55.1-1227, or for any other reason set out in this section, during the preceding two years; and

2. Permit a tenant or his authorized agent or attorney to inspect such tenant's records of deductions at any time during normal business hours.

G. Upon request by the landlord to a tenant to vacate, or within five days after receipt of notice by the landlord of the tenant's intent to vacate, the landlord shall provide written notice to the tenant of the tenant's right to be present at the landlord's inspection of the dwelling unit for the purpose of determining the amount of security deposit to be returned. If the tenant desires to be present when the landlord makes the inspection, he shall, in writing, so advise the landlord, who in turn shall notify the tenant of the date and time of the inspection, which must be made within 72 hours of delivery of possession. Following the move-out inspection, the landlord shall provide the tenant with a written security deposit disposition statement, including an itemized list of damages. If additional damages are discovered by the landlord after the security deposit disposition has been made, nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude the landlord from recovery of such damages against the tenant, provided, however, that the tenant may present into evidence a copy of the move-out report to support the tenant's position that such additional damages did not exist at the time of the move-out inspection.

H. If the tenant has any assignee or sublessee, the landlord shall be entitled to hold a security deposit from only one party in compliance with the provisions of this section.

I. The landlord may permit a tenant to provide damage insurance coverage in lieu of the payment of a security deposit. Such damage insurance in lieu of a security deposit shall conform to the following criteria:

1. The provider of damage insurance is licensed or approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission;

2. The coverage is effective upon the payment of the first premium and remains effective for the entire lease term;

3. The coverage provided per claim is no less than the amount the landlord requires for security deposits;

4. The provider of damage insurance agrees to approve or deny payment of a claim; and

5. The provider of damage insurance shall notify the landlord within 10 days if the damage policy lapses or is canceled.

J. A tenant who initially opts to provide damage insurance in lieu of a security deposit may, at any time without consent of the landlord, opt to pay the full security deposit to the landlord in lieu of maintaining a damage insurance policy. The landlord shall not alter the terms of the lease in the event a tenant opts to pay the full amount of the security deposit pursuant to this subsection.

2000, cc. 760, 761, § 55-248.15:1; 2001, c. 524; 2003, c. 438; 2007, c. 634; 2010, c. 550; 2013, c. 563; 2014, c. 651; 2015, c. 596; 2017, c. 730; 2018, c. 221; 2019, c. 712; 2020, cc. 384, 823, 998; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 427.