Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances
7/12/2020

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 55.1-1400. Applicability; right to terminate tenant.

A. As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning, "nonresidential tenancy" means the rental of any real estate for purposes other than residential use, including business, industrial, or agricultural purposes.

B. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all nonresidential tenancies. The lease or rental agreement controls the landlord-tenant relationship unless such lease or rental agreement is silent, in which case the provisions of this chapter apply. The right to evict a tenant whose right of possession has been terminated in any commercial or other nonresidential tenancy under this chapter may be effectuated by self-help eviction without further legal process so long as such eviction does not incite a breach of the peace. However, nothing in this chapter shall be construed to preclude termination of any commercial or other nonresidential tenancy by the filing of an unlawful detainer action, entry of an order of possession, and eviction pursuant to § 55.1-1416.

Code 1919, § 5512; Code 1950, § 55-217; 2017, c. 730; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1401. Appointment of resident agent by nonresident property owner; service of process, etc., on such agent or on Secretary of the Commonwealth.

A. As used in this section, "nonresident property owner" means any nonresident individual or group of individuals who owns and leases commercial real property within a county or city in the Commonwealth.

B. Every nonresident property owner shall appoint and continuously maintain an agent who (i) if such agent is an individual, is a resident of the Commonwealth, or if such agent is a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or other entity, is authorized to transact business in the Commonwealth and (ii) maintains a business office within the Commonwealth. Every lease executed by or on behalf of nonresident property owners regarding any such real property shall specifically designate such agent and the agent's office address for the purpose of service of any process, notice, order, or demand required or permitted by law to be served upon such nonresident property owner.

C. Whenever any nonresident property owner fails to appoint or maintain an agent, as required in this section, or whenever his agent cannot with reasonable diligence be found, then the Secretary of the Commonwealth shall be an agent of the nonresident property owner upon whom may be served any process, notice, order, or demand. Service may be made on the Secretary of the Commonwealth or any of his staff at his office who shall forthwith cause it to be sent by registered or certified mail addressed to the nonresident property owner at his address as shown on the official tax records maintained by the locality where the property is located.

D. The name and office address of the agent appointed as provided in this section shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the court in which deeds are recorded in the county or city in which the property lies. Recordation shall be in the same book as certificates of fictitious names are recorded as provided by § 59.1-74 for which the clerk shall be entitled to a fee of $10.

E. No nonresident property owner shall maintain an action in the courts of the Commonwealth concerning property for which a designation is required by this section until such designation has been filed.

1973, c. 301, § 55-218.1; 1987, c. 360; 2006, c. 318; 2008, c. 119; 2019, cc. 365, 712.

§ 55.1-1402. Apportionment on purchase of part of land by holder of rent.

When the holder of a rent purchases part of the land out of which the rent issues, such rent shall be apportioned in like manner as if the land had come to him by descent, and when the holder of land that is part of land out of which rent issues purchases such rent or part of it, the rent so purchased shall be apportioned as in like manner as if the land had come to him by descent.

Code 1919, § 5547; Code 1950, § 55-219; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1403. Perfection of lien or interest in leases, rents, and profits.

The recordation pursuant to § 55.1-600, in the county or city in which the real property is located, of any deed, deed of trust, or other instrument granting, transferring, or assigning the interest of the grantor, transferor, assignor, pledgor, or lessor in leases, rents, or profits arising from the real property described in such deed, deed of trust, or other instrument shall fully perfect the interest of the grantee, transferee, assignee, or pledgee as to the assignor and all third parties without the necessity of (i) furnishing notice to the assignor or lessee, (ii) obtaining possession of the real property, (iii) impounding the rents, (iv) securing the appointment of a receiver, or (v) taking any other affirmative action. The lessee is authorized to pay the assignor until the lessee receives written notification that rents due or to become due have been assigned and that payment is to be made to the assignee.

1992, c. 67, § 55-220.1; 1993, c. 427; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1404. Energy submetering, energy allocation equipment, sewer and water submetering equipment, ratio utility billings systems; local government fees.

A. As used in this section:

"Building" means all of the individual units served through the same utility-owned meter within a building that is used as a nonresidential tenancy, including a building used as an office building or shopping center as those terms are defined in § 56-245.2.

"Campground" means the same as that term is defined in § 35.1-1.

"Campsite" means the same as that term is defined in § 35.1-1.

"Energy allocation equipment" means the same as that term is defined in § 56-245.2.

"Energy submetering equipment" has the same meaning ascribed to "submetering equipment" in § 56-245.2.

"Local government fees" means any local government charges or fees assessed against a building or campground, including stormwater, recycling, trash collection, elevator testing, or fire or life safety testing.

"Ratio utility billing system" means a program that utilizes a mathematical formula for allocating, among the tenants in a building or campground, the actual or anticipated water, sewer, electrical, oil, or natural gas billings billed to the building or campground owner from a third-party provider of the utility service. Permitted allocation methods may include formulas based on square footage, occupancy, number of bedrooms, or some other specific method agreed to by the building or campground owner and the tenant in the rental agreement or lease.

"Water and sewer submetering equipment" means equipment used to measure actual water or sewer usage in any nonresidential rental unit, as defined in § 56-245.2, when such equipment is not owned or controlled by the utility or other provider of water or sewer service that provides service to the building in which the nonresidential rental unit is located or campground where the campsite is located.

B. Energy submetering equipment, energy allocation equipment, water and sewer submetering equipment, or a ratio utility billing system may be used in a building or campground if clearly stated in the rental agreement or lease for the leased premises. All energy submetering equipment and energy allocation equipment shall meet the requirements and standards established and enforced by the State Corporation Commission pursuant to § 56-245.3.

C. If energy submetering equipment, water and sewer submetering equipment, or energy allocation equipment is used in any building or campground, the owner, manager, or operator of the building or campground shall bill the tenant for electricity, oil, natural gas, or water and sewer for the same billing period as the utility serving the building or campground, unless the rental agreement or lease expressly provides otherwise. The owner, manager, or operator of the building or campground may charge and collect from the tenant additional service charges, including monthly billing fees, account set-up fees, or account move-out fees, to cover the actual costs of administrative expenses and billing charged to the building or campground owner, manager, or operator by a third-party provider of such services, provided that such charges are agreed to by the building or campground owner and the tenant in the rental agreement or lease. The building or campground owner may require the tenant to pay a late charge of up to $5 if the tenant fails to make payment when due, which shall not be less than 15 days following the date of mailing or delivery of the bill sent pursuant to this section.

D. If a ratio utility billing system is used in any building or campground, in lieu of increasing the rent, the owner, manager, or operator of the building or campground may employ such a program that utilizes a mathematical formula for allocating, among the tenants in a building or campground, the actual or anticipated water, sewer, electrical, oil, or natural gas billings billed to the building or campground owner from a third-party provider of the utility service. The owner, manager, or operator of the building or campground may charge and collect from the tenant additional service charges, including monthly billing fees, account set-up fees, or account move-out fees, to cover the actual costs of administrative expenses and billings charged to the building or campground owner, manager, or operator by a third-party provider of such services, provided that such charges are agreed to by the building or campground owner and the tenant in the rental agreement or lease. The building or campground owner may require the tenant to pay a late charge of up to $5 if the tenant fails to make payment when due, which shall not be less than 15 days following the date of mailing or delivery of the bill sent pursuant to this section.

E. Energy allocation equipment shall be tested periodically by the owner, manager, or operator of the building or campground. Upon the request by a tenant, the owner shall test the energy allocation equipment without charge. The test conducted without charge to the tenant shall not be conducted more frequently than once in a 24-month period for the same tenant. The tenant or his designated representative may be present during the testing of the energy allocation equipment. A written report of the results of the test shall be made to the tenant within 10 working days after the completion of the test.

F. The owner of any building or campground shall maintain adequate records regarding energy submetering equipment, water and sewer submetering equipment, energy allocation equipment, or a ratio utility billing system. A tenant may inspect and copy the records for the leased premises during reasonable business hours at a convenient location within the building or campground. The owner of the building or campground may impose and collect a reasonable charge for copying documents, reflecting the actual costs of materials and labor for copying, prior to providing copies of the records to the tenant.

G. Notwithstanding any enforcement action undertaken by the State Corporation Commission pursuant to its authority under § 56-245.3, tenants and owners shall retain any private right of action resulting from any breach of the rental agreement or lease terms required by this section or § 56-245.3, if applicable, to the same extent as such actions may be maintained for breach of other terms of the rental agreement or lease under this chapter, if applicable. The use of energy submetering equipment, water and sewer submetering equipment, energy allocation equipment, or a ratio utility billing system is not within the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services under Chapter 56 (§ 3.2-5600 et seq.) of Title 3.2.

H. In lieu of increasing the rent, the owner, manager, or operator of a building or campground may employ a program that utilizes a mathematical formula for allocating the actual or anticipated local government fees billed to the building or campground owner among the tenants in such building or campground if clearly stated in the rental agreement or lease for the leased premises. Permitted allocation methods may include formulas based upon square footage, occupancy, number of bedrooms, or some other specific method agreed to by the building or campground owner and the tenant in the rental agreement or lease. Such owner, manager, or operator of a building or campground may also charge and collect from each tenant additional service charges, including monthly billing fees, account set-up fees, or account move-out fees, to cover the actual costs of administrative expenses for administration of such a program.

I. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit an owner, manager, or operator of a building or campground from including water, sewer, electrical, natural gas, oil, or other utilities in the amount of rent as specified in the rental agreement or lease.

1992, c. 766, § 55-226.2; 2003, c. 355; 2005, c. 278; 2010, c. 550; 2012, c. 338; 2014, c. 501; 2015, c. 596; 2017, c. 730; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1405. Transfer of deposits upon purchase.

The current owner of nonresidential rental property shall transfer any security deposits and any accrued interest on the deposits in his possession to the new owner at the time of the transfer of the rental property. If the current owner has entered into a written property management agreement with a managing agent in accordance with the provisions of subsection E of § 54.1-2135, the current owner shall give written notice to the managing agent requesting payment of such security deposits to the current owner prior to settlement with the new owner. Upon receipt of the written notice, the managing agent shall transfer the security deposits to the current owner and provide written notice to each tenant that his security deposit has been transferred to the new owner in accordance with this section.

1984, c. 281, § 55-507; 2017, cc. 63, 402; 2019, c. 712.

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

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