Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
8/22/2019

Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (Effective October 1, 2019)

§ 55.1-1200. (Effective October 1, 2019) Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Action" means any recoupment, counterclaim, setoff, or other civil action and any other proceeding in which rights are determined, including actions for possession, rent, unlawful detainer, unlawful entry, and distress for rent.

"Application deposit" means any refundable deposit of money, however denominated, including all money intended to be used as a security deposit under a rental agreement, or property, that is paid by a tenant to a landlord for the purpose of being considered as a tenant for a dwelling unit.

"Application fee" means any nonrefundable fee that is paid by a tenant to a landlord or managing agent for the purpose of being considered as a tenant for a dwelling unit.

"Assignment" means the transfer by any tenant of all interests created by a rental agreement.

"Authorized occupant" means a person entitled to occupy a dwelling unit with the consent of the landlord, but who has not signed the rental agreement and therefore does not have the financial obligations as a tenant under the rental agreement.

"Building or housing code" means any law, ordinance, or governmental regulation concerning fitness for habitation or the construction, maintenance, operation, occupancy, use, or appearance of any structure or that part of a structure that is used as a home, residence, or sleeping place by one person who maintains a household or by two or more persons who maintain a common household.

"Commencement date of rental agreement" means the date upon which the tenant is entitled to occupy the dwelling unit as a tenant.

"Community land trust" means a community housing development organization whose (i) corporate membership is open to any adult resident or organization of a particular geographic area specified in the bylaws of the organization and (ii) board of directors includes a majority of members who are elected by the corporate membership and are composed of tenants, corporate members who are not tenants, and any other category of persons specified in the bylaws of the organization and that:

1. Is not sponsored by a for-profit organization;

2. Acquires parcels of land, held in perpetuity, primarily for conveyance under long-term ground leases;

3. Transfers ownership of any structural improvements located on such leased parcels to the tenant; and

4. Retains a preemptive option to purchase any such structural improvement at a price determined by formula that is designed to ensure that the improvement remains affordable to low-income and moderate-income families in perpetuity.

"Dwelling unit" means a structure or part of a structure that is used as a home or residence by one or more persons who maintain a household, including a manufactured home, as defined in § 55.1-1300.

"Effective date of rental agreement" means the date on which the rental agreement is signed by the landlord and the tenant obligating each party to the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.

"Essential service" includes heat, running water, hot water, electricity, and gas.

"Facility" means something that is built, constructed, installed, or established to perform some particular function.

"Good faith" means honesty in fact in the conduct of the transaction concerned.

"Guest or invitee" means a person, other than the tenant or an authorized occupant, who has the permission of the tenant to visit but not to occupy the premises.

"Interior of the dwelling unit" means the inside of the dwelling unit, consisting of interior walls, floor, and ceiling, that enclose the dwelling unit as conditioned space from the outside air.

"Landlord" means the owner, lessor, or sublessor of the dwelling unit or the building of which such dwelling unit is a part. "Landlord" also includes a managing agent of the premises who fails to disclose the name of such owner, lessor, or sublessor. Such managing agent shall be subject to the provisions of § 16.1-88.03. "Landlord" does not include a community land trust.

"Managing agent" means the person authorized by the landlord to act as the property manager on behalf of the landlord pursuant to the written property management agreement.

"Mold remediation in accordance with professional standards" means mold remediation of that portion of the dwelling unit or premises affected by mold, or any personal property of the tenant affected by mold, performed consistent with guidance documents published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (Bioaerosols: Assessment and Control); Standard and Reference Guides of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) for Professional Water Damage Restoration and Professional Mold Remediation; or any protocol for mold remediation prepared by an industrial hygienist consistent with such guidance documents.

"Multifamily dwelling unit" means more than one single-family dwelling unit located in a building. However, nothing in this definition shall be construed to apply to any nonresidential space in such building.

"Natural person," wherever the chapter refers to an owner as a "natural person," includes co-owners who are natural persons, either as tenants in common, joint tenants, tenants in partnership, tenants by the entirety, trustees or beneficiaries of a trust, general partnerships, limited liability partnerships, registered limited liability partnerships or limited liability companies, or any other lawful combination of natural persons permitted by law.

"Notice" means notice given in writing by either regular mail or hand delivery, with the sender retaining sufficient proof of having given such notice in the form of a certificate of service confirming such mailing prepared by the sender. However, a person shall be deemed to have notice of a fact if he has actual knowledge of it, he has received a verbal notice of it, or, from all of the facts and circumstances known to him at the time in question, he has reason to know it exists. A person "notifies" or "gives" a notice or notification to another by taking steps reasonably calculated to inform another person, whether or not the other person actually comes to know of it. If notice is given that is not in writing, the person giving the notice has the burden of proof to show that the notice was given to the recipient of the notice.

"Organization" means a corporation, government, governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, or association; two or more persons having a joint or common interest; any combination thereof; and any other legal or commercial entity.

"Owner" means one or more persons or entities, jointly or severally, including a mortgagee in possession, in whom is vested:

1. All or part of the legal title to the property; or

2. All or part of the beneficial ownership and a right to present use and enjoyment of the premises.

"Person" means any individual, group of individuals, corporation, partnership, business trust, association, or other legal entity, or any combination thereof.

"Premises" means a dwelling unit and the structure of which it is a part, facilities and appurtenances contained therein, and grounds, areas, and facilities held out for the use of tenants generally or whose use is promised to the tenant.

"Processing fee for payment of rent with bad check" means the processing fee specified in the rental agreement, not to exceed $50, assessed by a landlord against a tenant for payment of rent with a check drawn by the tenant on which payment has been refused by the payor bank because the drawer had no account or insufficient funds.

"Readily accessible" means areas within the interior of the dwelling unit available for observation at the time of the move-in inspection that do not require removal of materials, personal property, equipment, or similar items.

"Rent" means all money, other than a security deposit, owed or paid to the landlord under the rental agreement, including prepaid rent paid more than one month in advance of the rent due date.

"Rental agreement" or "lease agreement" means all rental agreements, written or oral, and valid rules and regulations adopted under § 55.1-1228 embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit and premises.

"Rental application" means the written application or similar document used by a landlord to determine if a prospective tenant is qualified to become a tenant of a dwelling unit.

"Residential tenancy" means a tenancy that is based on a rental agreement between a landlord and a tenant for a dwelling unit.

"Roomer" means a person occupying a dwelling unit that lacks a major bathroom or kitchen facility, in a structure where one or more major facilities are used in common by occupants of the dwelling unit and other dwelling units. "Major facility" in the case of a bathroom means a toilet and either a bath or shower and in the case of a kitchen means a refrigerator, stove, or sink.

"Security deposit" means any refundable deposit of money that is furnished by a tenant to a landlord to secure the performance of the terms and conditions of a rental agreement, as a security for damages to the leased premises, or as a pet deposit. However, such money shall be deemed an application deposit until the commencement date of the rental agreement. "Security deposit" does not include a damage insurance policy or renter's insurance policy, as those terms are defined in § 55.1-1206, purchased by a landlord to provide coverage for a tenant.

"Single-family residence" means a structure, other than a multifamily residential structure, maintained and used as a single dwelling unit, condominium unit, or any other dwelling unit that has direct access to a street or thoroughfare and does not share heating facilities, hot water equipment, or any other essential facility or essential service with any other dwelling unit.

"Sublease" means the transfer by any tenant of any but not all interests created by a rental agreement.

"Tenant" means a person entitled only under the terms of a rental agreement to occupy a dwelling unit to the exclusion of others and includes a roomer. "Tenant" does not include (i) an authorized occupant, (ii) a guest or invitee, or (iii) any person who guarantees or cosigns the payment of the financial obligations of a rental agreement but has no right to occupy a dwelling unit.

"Tenant records" means all information, including financial, maintenance, and other records about a tenant or prospective tenant, whether such information is in written or electronic form or any other medium.

"Utility" means electricity, natural gas, or water and sewer provided by a public service corporation or such other person providing utility services as permitted under § 56-1.2. If the rental agreement so provides, a landlord may use submetering equipment or energy allocation equipment as defined in § 56-245.2 or a ratio utility billing system as defined in § 55.1-1212.

"Visible evidence of mold" means the existence of mold in the dwelling unit that is visible to the naked eye by the landlord or tenant in areas within the interior of the dwelling unit readily accessible at the time of the move-in inspection.

"Written notice" means notice given in accordance with § 55.1-1202, including any representation of words, letters, symbols, numbers, or figures, whether (i) printed in or inscribed on a tangible medium or (ii) stored in an electronic form or any other medium, retrievable in a perceivable form, and regardless of whether an electronic signature authorized by the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (§ 59.1-479 et seq.) is affixed.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.4; 1977, c. 427; 1987, c. 428; 1990, c. 55; 1991, c. 205; 1999, cc. 77, 258, 359, 390; 2000, cc. 760, 816; 2002, c. 531; 2003, cc. 355, 425, 855; 2004, c. 123; 2007, c. 634; 2008, cc. 489, 640; 2010, cc. 180, 550, § 55-221.1; 2012, c. 788; 2013, c. 563; 2014, c. 651; 2015, c. 596; 2016, c. 744; 2017, c. 730; 2019, cc. 5, 45, 477, 712.

§ 55.1-1201. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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.

§ 55.1-1202. (Effective October 1, 2019) Notice.

A. If the rental agreement so provides, the landlord and tenant may send notices in electronic form; however, any tenant who so requests may elect to send and receive notices in paper form. If electronic delivery is used, the sender shall retain sufficient proof of the electronic delivery, which may be an electronic receipt of delivery, a confirmation that the notice was sent by facsimile, or a certificate of service prepared by the sender confirming the electronic delivery.

B. In the case of the landlord, notice is served on the landlord at his place of business where the rental agreement was made or at any place held out by the landlord as the place for receipt of the communication.

In the case of the tenant, notice is served at the tenant's last known place of residence, which may be the dwelling unit.

C. Notice, knowledge, or a notice or notification received by an organization is effective for a particular transaction from the time it is brought to the attention of the person conducting that transaction, or from the time it would have been brought to his attention if the organization had exercised reasonable diligence.

D. No notice of termination of tenancy served upon a tenant by a public housing authority organized under the Housing Authorities Law (§ 36-1 et seq.) shall be effective unless it contains on its first page, in type no smaller or less legible than that otherwise used in the body of the notice, the name, address, and telephone number of the legal services program, if any, serving the jurisdiction in which the premises is located.

E. The landlord may, in accordance with a written agreement, delegate to a managing agent or other third party the responsibility of providing any written notice under this chapter. The landlord may also engage an attorney at law to prepare or provide any written notice under this chapter or legal process under Title 8.01. Nothing herein shall be construed to preclude use of an electronic signature as defined in § 59.1-480, or an electronic notarization as defined in § 47.1-2, in any written notice under this chapter or legal process under Title 8.01.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.6; 1982, c. 260; 1993, c. 754; 1998, c. 260; 2000, c. 760; 2008, cc. 489, 640; 2017, c. 730; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1203. (Effective October 1, 2019) Application deposit and application fee.

A. Any landlord may require a refundable application deposit in addition to a nonrefundable application fee. If the applicant fails to rent the unit for which application was made, from the application deposit the landlord shall refund to the applicant within 20 days after the applicant's failure to rent the unit or the landlord's rejection of the application all sums in excess of the landlord's actual expenses and damages together with an itemized list of such expenses and damages. If, however, the application deposit was made by cash, certified check, cashier's check, or postal money order, such refund shall be made within 10 days of the applicant's failure to rent the unit if the failure to rent is due to the landlord's rejection of the application. If the landlord fails to comply with this section, the applicant may recover as damages suffered by him that portion of the application deposit wrongfully withheld and reasonable attorney fees.

B. A landlord may request that a prospective tenant provide information that will enable the landlord to determine whether each applicant may become a tenant. The landlord may photocopy each applicant's driver's license or other similar photo identification, containing either the applicant's social security number or control number issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to § 46.2-342. However, a landlord shall not photocopy a U.S. government-issued identification so long as to do so is a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 701. The landlord may require, for the purpose of determining whether each applicant is eligible to become a tenant in the landlord's dwelling unit, that each applicant provide a social security number issued by the U.S. Social Security Administration or an individual taxpayer identification number issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

C. An application fee shall not exceed $50, exclusive of any actual out-of-pocket expenses paid by the landlord to a third party performing background, credit, or other pre-occupancy checks on the applicant. However, where an application is being made for a dwelling unit that is a public housing unit or other housing unit subject to regulation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, an application fee shall not exceed $32, exclusive of any actual out-of-pocket expenses paid to a third party by the landlord performing background, credit, or other pre-occupancy checks on the applicant.

1977, c. 427, § 55-248.6:1; 1985, c. 208; 1993, c. 382; 2000, c. 760; 2003, c. 416; 2008, c. 489; 2011, c. 766; 2013, c. 563; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1204. (Effective October 1, 2019) Terms and conditions of rental agreement; payment of rent; copy of rental agreement for tenant.

A. A landlord and tenant may include in a rental agreement terms and conditions not prohibited by this chapter or other rule of law, including rent, charges for late payment of rent, the term of the agreement, automatic renewal of the rental agreement, requirements for notice of intent to vacate or terminate the rental agreement, and other provisions governing the rights and obligations of the parties.

B. The landlord shall offer the tenant a written rental agreement containing the terms governing the rental of the dwelling unit and setting forth the terms and conditions of the landlord tenant relationship. Such written rental agreement shall be effective upon the date signed by the parties.

C. If a landlord does not offer a written rental agreement, the tenancy shall exist by operation of law, consisting of the following terms and conditions:

1. The provision of this chapter shall be applicable to the dwelling unit that is being rented;

2. The duration of the rental agreement shall be for 12 months and shall not be subject to automatic renewal, except in the event of a month-to-month lease as otherwise provided for under subsection C of § 55.1-1253;

3. Rent shall be paid in 12 equal periodic installments in an amount agreed upon by the landlord and the tenant and if no amount is agreed upon, the installments shall be at fair market rent;

4. Rent payments shall be due on the first day of each month during the tenancy and shall be considered late if not paid by the fifth of the month;

5. If the rent is paid by the tenant after the fifth day of any given month, the landlord shall be entitled to charge a late charge as provided in this chapter;

6. The landlord may collect a security deposit not to exceed an amount equal to two months of rent; and

7. The parties may enter into a written rental agreement at any time during the 12-month tenancy created by this subsection.

D. Except as provided in the written rental agreement, or as provided in subsection C if no written agreement is offered, rent shall be payable without demand or notice at the time and place agreed upon by the parties. Except as provided in the written rental agreement, rent is payable at the place designated by the landlord, and periodic rent is payable at the beginning of any term of one month or less and otherwise in equal installments at the beginning of each month. If the landlord receives from a tenant a written request for a written statement of charges and payments, he shall provide the tenant with a written statement showing all debits and credits over the tenancy or the past 12 months, whichever is shorter. The landlord shall provide such written statement within 10 business days of receiving the request.

E. Except as provided in the written rental agreement or, as provided in subsection C if no written agreement is offered, the tenancy shall be week-to-week in the case of a tenant who pays weekly rent and month-to-month in all other cases. Terminations of tenancies shall be governed by § 55.1-1253 unless the rental agreement provides for a different notice period.

F. If the rental agreement contains any provision allowing the landlord to approve or disapprove a sublessee or assignee of the tenant, the landlord shall, within 10 business days of receipt of the written application of the prospective sublessee or assignee on a form to be provided by the landlord, approve or disapprove the sublessee or assignee. Failure of the landlord to act within 10 business days is evidence of his approval.

G. The landlord shall provide a copy of any written rental agreement signed by both the tenant and the landlord to the tenant within one month of the effective date of the written rental agreement. The failure of the landlord to deliver such a rental agreement shall not affect the validity of the agreement.

H. No unilateral change in the terms of a rental agreement by a landlord or tenant shall be valid unless (i) notice of the change is given in accordance with the terms of the rental agreement or as otherwise required by law and (ii) both parties consent in writing to the change.

I. The landlord shall provide the tenant with a written receipt, upon request from the tenant, whenever the tenant pays rent in the form of cash or money order.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.7; 1977, c. 427; 1983, c. 39; 1988, c. 68; 2000, c. 760; 2003, c. 424; 2012, cc. 464, 503; 2013, c. 563; 2017, c. 730; 2019, cc. 5, 45, 712.

§ 55.1-1205. (Effective October 1, 2019) Prepaid rent; maintenance of escrow account.

A landlord and a tenant may agree in a rental agreement that the tenant pay prepaid rent. If a landlord receives prepaid rent, it shall be placed in an escrow account in a federally insured depository authorized to do business in Virginia by the end of the fifth business day following receipt and shall remain in the account until such time as the prepaid rent becomes due. Unless the landlord has otherwise become entitled to receive any portion of the prepaid rent, it shall not be removed from the escrow account required by this section without the written consent of the tenant.

2002, c. 531, § 55-248.7:1; 2015, c. 596; 2017, c. 730; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1206. (Effective October 1, 2019) Landlord may obtain certain insurance for tenant.

A. A landlord may require as a condition of tenancy that a tenant have commercial insurance coverage as specified in the rental agreement to secure the performance by the tenant of the terms and conditions of the rental agreement and pay for the cost of premiums for such insurance coverage obtained by the landlord, generally known as "damage insurance." As provided in § 55.1-1200, such payments shall not be deemed a security deposit, but shall be rent. However, as provided in § 55.1-1208, the landlord shall not require a tenant to pay both a security deposit and the cost of damage insurance premiums, if the total amount of any security deposit and damage insurance premiums exceeds the amount of two months' periodic rent. The landlord shall notify a tenant in writing that the tenant has the right to obtain a separate policy from the landlord's policy for damage insurance. If a tenant elects to obtain a separate policy, the tenant shall submit to the landlord written proof of such coverage and shall maintain such coverage at all times during the term of the rental agreement. Where a landlord obtains damage insurance coverage on behalf of a tenant, the insurance policy shall provide coverage for the tenant as an insured. The landlord shall recover from the tenant the actual costs of such insurance coverage and may recover administrative or other fees associated with administration of a damage insurance policy, including a tenant opting out of the insurance coverage provided by the landlord pursuant to this subsection. If a landlord obtains damage insurance for his tenants, the landlord shall provide to each tenant, prior to execution of the rental agreement, a summary of the insurance policy or certificate evidencing the coverage being provided and upon request of the tenant make available a copy of the insurance policy.

B. A landlord may require as a condition of tenancy that a tenant have renter's insurance as specified in the rental agreement that is a combination multi-peril policy containing fire, miscellaneous property, and personal liability coverage insuring personal property located in dwelling units not occupied by the owner. A landlord may require a tenant to pay for the cost of premiums for such insurance obtained by the landlord, in order to provide such coverage for the tenant as part of rent or as otherwise provided in this section. As provided in § 55.1-1200, such payments shall not be deemed a security deposit but shall be rent. The landlord shall notify a tenant in writing that the tenant has the right to obtain a separate policy from the landlord's policy for renter's insurance. If a tenant elects to obtain a separate policy, the tenant shall submit to the landlord written proof of such coverage and shall maintain such coverage at all times during the term of the rental agreement. If a tenant allows his renter's insurance policy required by the rental agreement to lapse for any reason, the landlord may provide any landlord's renter's insurance coverage to such tenant. The tenant shall be obligated to pay for the cost of premiums for such insurance as rent or as otherwise provided herein until the tenant has provided written documentation to the landlord showing that the tenant has reinstated his own renter's insurance coverage.

C. If the landlord requires that such premiums be paid prior to the commencement of the tenancy, the total amount of all security deposits and insurance premiums for damage insurance and renter's insurance shall not exceed the amount of two months' periodic rent. Otherwise, the landlord may add a monthly amount as additional rent to recover the costs of such insurance coverage.

D. Where a landlord obtains renter's insurance coverage on behalf of a tenant, the insurance policy shall provide coverage for the tenant as an insured. The landlord shall recover from the tenant the actual costs of such insurance coverage and may recover administrative or other fees associated with the administration of a renter's insurance program, including a tenant opting out of the insurance coverage provided to the tenant pursuant to this subsection. If a landlord obtains renter's insurance for his tenants, the landlord shall provide to each tenant, prior to execution of the rental agreement, a summary of the insurance policy prepared by the insurer or certificate evidencing the coverage being provided and upon request of the tenant make available a copy of the insurance policy. Such summary or certificate shall include a statement regarding whether the insurance policy contains a waiver of subrogation provision. Any failure of the landlord to provide such summary or certificate, or to make available a copy of the insurance policy, shall not affect the validity of the rental agreement.

If the rental agreement does not require the tenant to obtain renter's insurance, the landlord shall provide a written notice to the tenant, prior to the execution of the rental agreement, stating that (i) the landlord is not responsible for the tenant's personal property, (ii) the landlord's insurance coverage does not cover the tenant's personal property, and (iii) if the tenant wishes to protect his personal property, he should obtain renter's insurance. The notice shall inform the tenant that any such renter's insurance obtained by the tenant does not cover flood damage and advise the tenant to contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or visit the websites for FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program or for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation's Flood Risk Information System to obtain information regarding whether the property is located in a special flood hazard area. Any failure of the landlord to provide such notice shall not affect the validity of the rental agreement. If the tenant requests translation of the notice from the English language to another language, the landlord may assist the tenant in obtaining a translator or refer the tenant to an electronic translation service. In doing so, the landlord shall not be deemed to have breached any of his obligations under this chapter or otherwise become liable for any inaccuracies in the translation. The landlord shall not charge a fee for such assistance or referral.

E. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the landlord from recovering from the tenant, as part of the rent, the tenant's prorated share of the actual costs of other insurance coverages provided by the landlord relative to the premises, or the tenant's prorated share of a self-insurance program held in an escrow account by the landlord, including the landlord's administrative or other fees associated with the administration of such coverages. The landlord may apply such funds held in escrow to pay claims pursuant to the landlord's self-insurance plan.

2004, c. 123, § 55-248.7:2; 2005, c. 285; 2010, c. 550; 2012, c. 788; 2015, c. 596; 2018, c. 221; 2019, cc. 386, 394, 712.

§ 55.1-1207. (Effective October 1, 2019) Effect of unsigned or undelivered rental agreement.

If the landlord does not sign and deliver a written rental agreement signed and delivered to him by the tenant, acceptance of rent without reservation by the landlord gives the rental agreement the same effect as if it had been signed and delivered by the landlord. If the tenant does not sign and deliver a written rental agreement signed and delivered to him by the landlord, acceptance of possession or payment of rent without reservation gives the rental agreement the same effect as if it had been signed and delivered by the tenant. If a rental agreement given effect pursuant to this section provides for a term longer than one year, it is effective for only one year.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.8; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1208. (Effective October 1, 2019) Prohibited provisions in rental agreements.

A. A rental agreement shall not contain provisions that the tenant:

1. Agrees to waive or forgo rights or remedies under this chapter;

2. Agrees to waive or forgo rights or remedies pertaining to the 120-day conversion or rehabilitation notice required in the Virginia Condominium Act (§ 55.1-1900 et seq.) or the Virginia Real Estate Cooperative Act (§ 55.1-2100 et seq.) or under § 55.1-1410;

3. Authorizes any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the rental agreement;

4. Agrees to pay the landlord's attorney fees except as provided in this chapter;

5. Agrees to the exculpation or limitation of any liability of the landlord to the tenant arising under law or to indemnify the landlord for that liability or any associated costs;

6. Agrees as a condition of tenancy in public housing to a prohibition or restriction of any lawful possession of a firearm within individual dwelling units unless required by federal law or regulation; or

7. Agrees to both the payment of a security deposit and the provision of a bond or commercial insurance policy purchased by the tenant to secure the performance of the terms and conditions of a rental agreement, if the total of the security deposit and the bond or insurance premium exceeds the amount of two months' periodic rent.

B. Any provision prohibited by subsection A that is included in a rental agreement is unenforceable. If a landlord brings an action to enforce any such provision, the tenant may recover actual damages sustained by him and reasonable attorney fees.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.9; 1977, c. 427; 1987, c. 473; 1991, c. 720; 2000, c. 760; 2002, c. 531; 2003, c. 905; 2016, c. 744; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1209. (Effective October 1, 2019) Confidentiality of tenant records.

A. No landlord or managing agent shall release information about a tenant or prospective tenant in the possession of the landlord or managing agent to a third party unless:

1. The tenant or prospective tenant has given prior written consent;

2. The information is a matter of public record as defined in § 2.2-3701;

3. The information is a summary of the tenant's rent payment record, including the amount of the tenant's periodic rent payment;

4. The information is a copy of a material noncompliance notice that has not been remedied or a termination notice given to the tenant under § 55.1-1245 and the tenant did not remain in the premises after such notice was given;

5. The information is requested by a local, state, or federal law-enforcement or public safety official in the performance of his duties;

6. The information is requested pursuant to a subpoena in a civil case;

7. The information is requested by a local commissioner of the revenue in accordance with § 58.1-3901;

8. The information is requested by a contract purchaser of the landlord's property, provided that the contract purchaser agrees in writing to maintain the confidentiality of such information;

9. The information is requested by a lender of the landlord for financing or refinancing of the property;

10. The information is requested by the commanding officer, military housing officer, or military attorney of the tenant;

11. The third party is the landlord's attorney or the landlord's collection agency;

12. The information is otherwise provided in the case of an emergency;

13. The information is requested by the landlord to be provided to the managing agent or a successor to the managing agent; or

14. The information is requested by an employee or independent contractor of the United States to obtain census information pursuant to federal law.

B. A tenant may designate a third party to receive duplicate copies of a summons that has been issued pursuant to § 8.01-126 and of written notices from the landlord relating to the tenancy. Where such a third party has been designated by the tenant, the landlord shall mail the duplicate copy of any summons issued pursuant to § 8.01-126 or notice to the designated third party at the same time the summons or notice is mailed to or served upon the tenant. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to grant standing to any third party designated by the tenant to challenge actions of the landlord in which notice was mailed pursuant to this subsection. The failure of the landlord to give notice to a third party designated by the tenant shall not affect the validity of any judgment entered against the tenant.

C. A landlord or managing agent may enter into an agreement with a third-party service provider to maintain tenant records in electronic form or other medium. In such case, the landlord and managing agent shall not be liable under this section in the event of a breach of the electronic data of such third-party service provider, except in the case of gross negligence or intentional act. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a landlord or managing agent to indemnify such third-party service provider.

D. A tenant may request a copy of his tenant records in paper or electronic form. If the rental agreement so provides, a landlord may charge a tenant requesting more than one copy of his records the actual costs of preparing copies of such records. However, if the landlord makes available tenant records to each tenant by electronic portal, the tenant shall not be required to pay for access to such portal.

1985, c. 567, § 55-248..9:1; 2000, c. 760; 2003, c. 426; 2006, cc. 491, 667; 2008, c. 489; 2010, c. 550; 2015, c. 596; 2016, c. 744; 2018, c. 221; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1210. (Effective October 1, 2019) Landlord and tenant remedies for abuse of access.

If the tenant refuses to allow lawful access, the landlord may obtain injunctive relief to compel access, or terminate the rental agreement. In either case, the landlord may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney fees. If the landlord makes an unlawful entry or a lawful entry in an unreasonable manner or makes repeated demands for entry that is otherwise lawful but that have the effect of unreasonably harassing the tenant, the tenant may obtain injunctive relief to prevent the recurrence of the conduct, or terminate the rental agreement. In either case, the tenant may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney fees.

2000, c. 760, § 55-248.10:1; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1211. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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 residential real property.

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.

§ 55.1-1212. (Effective October 1, 2019) Energy submetering, energy allocation equipment, sewer and water submetering equipment, and ratio utility billing systems; local government fees.

A. As used in this section:

"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 residential building, including charges or fees for stormwater, recycling, trash collection, elevator testing, fire or life safety testing, or residential rental inspection programs.

"Ratio utility billing system" means a program that utilizes a mathematical formula for allocating, among the tenants in a residential building, the actual or anticipated water, sewer, electrical, oil, or natural gas billings billed to the residential building 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 residential building owner and the tenant in the rental agreement or lease.

"Residential building" means all of the individual units served through the same utility-owned meter within a residential building that is defined in § 56-245.2 as an apartment building or house or all of the individual dwelling units served through the same utility-owned meter within a manufactured home park as defined in § 55.1-1300.

"Water and sewer submetering equipment" means equipment used to measure actual water or sewer usage in any residential building when such equipment is not owned or controlled by the utility or other provider of water or sewer service that provides service to the residential building.

B. Energy submetering equipment, energy allocation equipment, water and sewer submetering equipment, or a ratio utility billing system may be used in a residential building if clearly stated in the rental agreement or lease for the residential building. 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, energy allocation equipment, or water and sewer submetering equipment is used in any residential building, the owner, manager, or operator of such residential building shall bill the tenant for electricity, oil, natural gas, or water and sewer for the same billing period as the utility serving the residential building, unless the rental agreement or lease expressly provides otherwise. The owner, manager, or operator of such residential building 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 residential building owner, manager, or operator by a third-party provider of such services, provided that such charges are agreed to by the residential building owner and the tenant in the rental agreement or lease. The residential building 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 residential building, in lieu of increasing the rent, the owner, manager, or operator of such residential building may employ such a program that utilizes a mathematical formula for allocating, among the tenants in a residential building, the actual or anticipated water, sewer, electrical, oil, or natural gas billings billed to the residential building owner from a third-party provider of the utility service. The owner, manager, or operator of the residential building 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 residential building owner, manager, or operator by a third-party provider of such services, provided that such charges are agreed to by the residential building owner and the tenant in the rental agreement or lease. The residential building 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. The late charge shall be deemed rent (i) as defined in § 55.1-1200 if a ratio utility billing system is used in a residential multifamily dwelling unit subject to this chapter or (ii) as defined in § 55.1-1300 if a ratio utility billing system is used in a manufactured home park subject to the Manufactured Home Lot Rental Act (§ 55.1-1300 et seq.).

E. Energy allocation equipment shall be tested periodically by the owner, manager, or operator of the residential building. 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 residential building shall maintain adequate records regarding energy submetering equipment, energy allocation equipment, water and sewer submetering 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 or serving the residential building. The owner of the residential building 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, energy allocation equipment, water and sewer submetering 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 residential building may employ a program that utilizes a mathematical formula for allocating the actual or anticipated local government fees billed to the residential building owner among the tenants in such residential building if clearly stated in the rental agreement or lease. Permitted allocation methods may include formulas based upon square footage, occupancy, number of bedrooms, or some other specific method agreed to by the residential building owner and the tenant in the rental agreement or lease. Such owner, manager, or operator of a residential building 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. If the building is residential and is subject to (i) this chapter, such local government fees and administrative expenses shall be deemed to be rent as defined in § 55.1-1200 or (ii) the Manufactured Home Lot Rental Act (§ 55.1-1300 et seq.), such local government fees and administrative expenses shall be deemed to be rent as defined in § 55.1-1300.

I. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit an owner, manager, or operator of a residential building 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.

§ 55.1-1213. (Effective October 1, 2019) Transfer of deposits upon purchase.

The current owner of 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.

§ 55.1-1214. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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, 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. 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.

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.

§ 55.1-1227. (Effective October 1, 2019) Tenant to maintain dwelling unit.

A. In addition to the provisions of the rental agreement, the tenant shall:

1. Comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;

2. Keep that part of the dwelling unit and the part of the premises that he occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit;

3. Keep that part of the dwelling unit and the part of the premises that he occupies free from insects and pests, as those terms are defined in § 3.2-3900, and promptly notify the landlord of the existence of any insects or pests;

4. Remove from his dwelling unit all ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste in a clean and safe manner and in the appropriate receptacles provided by the landlord;

5. Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits;

6. Use in a reasonable manner all utilities and all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including an elevator in a multifamily premises, and keep all utility services paid for by the tenant to the utility service provider or its agent on at all times during the term of the rental agreement;

7. Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove any part of the premises or permit any person, whether known by the tenant or not, to do so;

8. Not remove or tamper with a properly functioning smoke alarm installed by the landlord, including removing any working batteries, so as to render the alarm inoperative. The tenant shall maintain the smoke alarm in accordance with the uniform set of standards for maintenance of smoke alarms established in the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.) and subdivision C 6 of § 36-105, Part III of the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.);

9. Not remove or tamper with a properly functioning carbon monoxide alarm installed by the landlord, including the removal of any working batteries, so as to render the carbon monoxide alarm inoperative. The tenant shall maintain the carbon monoxide alarm in accordance with the uniform set of standards for maintenance of carbon monoxide alarms established in the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.) and subdivision C 6 of § 36-105, Part III of the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.);

10. Use reasonable efforts to maintain the dwelling unit and any other part of the premises that he occupies in such a condition as to prevent accumulation of moisture and the growth of mold and promptly notify the landlord of any moisture accumulation that occurs or of any visible evidence of mold discovered by the tenant;

11. Not paint or disturb painted surfaces or make alterations in the dwelling unit without the prior written approval of the landlord, provided that (i) the dwelling unit was constructed prior to 1978 and therefore requires the landlord to provide the tenant with lead-based paint disclosures and (ii) the landlord has provided the tenant with such disclosures and the rental agreement provides that the tenant is required to obtain the landlord's prior written approval before painting, disturbing painted surfaces, or making alterations in the dwelling unit;

12. Be responsible for his conduct and the conduct of other persons, whether known by the tenant or not, who are on the premises with his consent, to ensure that his neighbors' peaceful enjoyment of the premises will not be disturbed;

13. Abide by all reasonable rules and regulations imposed by the landlord;

14. Be financially responsible for the added cost of treatment or extermination due to the tenant's unreasonable delay in reporting the existence of any insects or pests and be financially responsible for the cost of treatment or extermination due to the tenant's fault in failing to prevent infestation of any insects or pests in the area occupied; and

15. Use reasonable care to prevent any dog or other animal in possession of the tenant, authorized occupants, or guests or invitees from causing personal injuries to a third party in the dwelling unit or on the premises, or property damage to the dwelling unit or the premises.

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

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.16; 1987, c. 428; 1999, c. 80; 2000, c. 760; 2003, c. 355; 2004, c. 226; 2008, cc. 489, 617, 640; 2009, c. 663; 2011, c. 766; 2014, c. 632; 2016, c. 744; 2017, cc. 262, 730; 2018, cc. 41, 81, 221; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1228. (Effective October 1, 2019) Rules and regulations.

A. A landlord, from time to time, may adopt rules or regulations, however described, concerning the tenant's use and occupancy of the dwelling unit and premises. Any such rule or regulation is enforceable against the tenant only if:

1. Its purpose is to promote the convenience, safety, or welfare of the tenants in the premises, preserve the landlord's property from abusive use, or make a fair distribution of services and facilities held out for the tenants generally;

2. It is reasonably related to the purpose for which it is adopted;

3. It applies to all tenants in the premises in a fair manner;

4. It is sufficiently explicit in its prohibition, direction, or limitation of the tenant's conduct to fairly inform him of what he is required to do or is prohibited from doing to comply;

5. It is not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord; and

6. The tenant has been provided with a copy of the rules and regulations or changes to such rules and regulations at the time he enters into the rental agreement or when they are adopted.

B. A rule or regulation adopted, changed, or provided to the tenant after the tenant enters into the rental agreement shall be enforceable against the tenant if reasonable notice of its adoption or change has been given to the tenant and it does not constitute a substantial modification of his bargain. If a rule or regulation adopted or changed after the tenant enters into the rental agreement does constitute a substantial modification of his bargain, it shall not be valid unless the tenant consents to it in writing.

C. Any court enforcing this chapter shall consider violations of the reasonable rules and regulations imposed under this section as a breach of the rental agreement and grant the landlord appropriate relief.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.17; 2000, c. 760; 2017, c. 730; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1229. (Effective October 1, 2019) Access; consent; correction of nonemergency conditions; relocation of tenant; security systems.

A. The tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter into the dwelling unit in order to inspect the premises; make necessary or agreed-upon repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements; supply necessary or agreed-upon services; or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen, or contractors. If, upon inspection of a dwelling unit during the term of a tenancy, the landlord determines there is a violation by the tenant of § 55.1-1227 or the rental agreement materially affecting health and safety that can be remedied by repair, replacement of a damaged item, or cleaning in accordance with § 55.1-1248, the landlord may make such repairs and send the tenant an invoice for payment. If, upon inspection of the dwelling unit during the term of a tenancy, the landlord discovers a violation of the rental agreement, this chapter, or other applicable law, the landlord may send a written notice of termination pursuant to § 55.1-1245. If the rental agreement so provides and if a tenant without reasonable justification declines to permit the landlord or managing agent to exhibit the dwelling unit for sale or lease, the landlord may recover damages, costs, and reasonable attorney fees against such tenant.

The landlord may enter the dwelling unit without consent of the tenant in case of emergency. The landlord shall not abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant. Except in case of emergency or if it is impractical to do so, the landlord shall give the tenant notice of his intent to enter and may enter only at reasonable times. Unless impractical to do so, the landlord shall give the tenant at least 24 hours' notice of routine maintenance to be performed that has not been requested by the tenant. If the tenant makes a request for maintenance, the landlord is not required to provide notice to the tenant. During the pendency of an unlawful detainer filed by the landlord against the tenant, the landlord may request the court to enter an order requiring the tenant to provide the landlord with access to such dwelling unit.

B. Upon the sole determination by the landlord of the existence of a nonemergency property condition in the dwelling unit that requires the tenant to temporarily vacate the dwelling unit in order for the landlord to properly remedy such property condition, the landlord may, upon at least 30 days' written notice to the tenant, require the tenant to temporarily vacate the dwelling unit for a period not to exceed 30 days to a comparable dwelling unit, or hotel, as selected by the landlord and at no expense or cost to the tenant. The landlord shall not be required to pay for any other expenses of the tenant that arise after the temporary relocation period. The landlord and tenant may agree for the tenant to temporarily vacate the dwelling unit in less than 30 days. For purposes of this subsection, "nonemergency property condition" means (i) a condition in the dwelling unit that, in the determination of the landlord, is necessary for the landlord to remedy in order for the landlord to be in compliance with § 55.1-1220; (ii) the condition does not need to be remedied within a 24-hour period, with any condition that needs to be remedied within 24 hours being defined as an "emergency condition"; and (iii) the condition can only be effectively remedied by the temporary relocation of the tenant pursuant to the provisions of this subsection.

The tenant shall continue to be responsible for payment of rent under the rental agreement during the period of any temporary relocation. The landlord shall pay all costs of repairs or remediation required to address the nonemergency property condition. Refusal of the tenant to cooperate with a temporary relocation pursuant to this subsection shall be deemed a breach of the rental agreement, unless the tenant agrees to vacate the unit and terminate the rental agreement within the 30-day notice period. If the landlord properly remedies the nonemergency property condition within the 30-day period, nothing in this section shall be construed to entitle the tenant to terminate the rental agreement. Further, nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the landlord from taking legal action against the tenant for any noncompliance that occurs during the period of any temporary relocation pursuant to this subsection. During the pendency of an unlawful detainer filed by the landlord against the tenant, the landlord may request the court to enter an order requiring the tenant to provide the landlord with access to such dwelling unit.

C. The landlord has no other right to access except by court order or that permitted by §§ 55.1-1248 and 55.1-1249 or if the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises.

D. The tenant may install within the dwelling unit new security systems that the tenant may believe necessary to ensure his safety, including chain latch devices approved by the landlord and fire detection devices, provided that:

1. Installation does no permanent damage to any part of the dwelling unit;

2. A duplicate of all keys and instructions for the operation of all devices are given to the landlord; and

3. Upon termination of the tenancy, the tenant is responsible for payment to the landlord for reasonable costs incurred for the removal of all such devices and repairs to all damaged areas.

E. Upon written request of a tenant in a dwelling unit, the landlord shall install a carbon monoxide alarm in the tenant's dwelling unit within 90 days. The landlord may charge the tenant a reasonable fee to recover the costs of the equipment and labor for such installation. The landlord's installation of a carbon monoxide alarm shall be in compliance with the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.).

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.18; 1993, c. 634; 1995, c. 601; 1999, c. 65; 2000, c. 760; 2001, c. 524; 2004, c. 307; 2008, cc. 489, 617; 2009, c. 663; 2011, c. 766; 2014, c. 632; 2015, c. 596; 2016, c. 744; 2017, c. 730; 2018, cc. 41, 81; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1230. (Effective October 1, 2019) Access following entry of certain court orders.

A. A tenant or authorized occupant who has obtained an order from a court pursuant to § 16.1-279.1 or subsection B of § 20-103 granting such tenant possession of the premises to the exclusion of one or more co-tenants or authorized occupants may provide the landlord with a copy of that court order and request that the landlord either (i) install a new lock or other security devices on the exterior doors of the dwelling unit at the landlord's actual cost or (ii) permit the tenant or authorized occupant to do so, provided that:

1. Installation of the new lock or security devices does no permanent damage to any part of the dwelling unit; and

2. A duplicate copy of all keys and instructions for the operation of all devices are given to the landlord.

Upon termination of the tenancy, the tenant shall be responsible for payment to the landlord of the reasonable costs incurred for the removal of all such devices installed and repairs to all damaged areas.

B. A person who is not a tenant or authorized occupant of the dwelling unit and who has obtained an order from a court pursuant to § 16.1-279.1 or subsection B of § 20-103 granting such person possession of the premises to the exclusion of one or more co-tenants or authorized occupants may provide a copy of such order to the landlord and submit a rental application to become a tenant of such dwelling unit within 10 days of the entry of such order. If such person's rental application meets the landlord's tenant selection criteria, such person may become a tenant of such dwelling unit under a written rental agreement. If such person submits a rental application and does not meet the landlord's tenant selection criteria, such person shall vacate the dwelling unit no later than 30 days after the date the landlord gives such person written notice that his rental application has been rejected. If such person does not provide a copy of the protective order to the landlord and submit a rental application to the landlord within 10 days as required by this section, such person shall vacate the dwelling unit no later than 30 days after the date of the entry of such order. Such person shall be liable to the landlord for failure to vacate the dwelling unit as required in this section.

Any tenant obligated on a rental agreement shall pay the rent and otherwise comply with any and all requirements of the rental agreement and any applicable laws and regulations. The landlord may pursue all of its remedies under the rental agreement and applicable laws and regulations, including filing an unlawful detainer action pursuant to § 8.01-126 to obtain a money judgment and to evict any persons residing in such dwelling unit.

C. A landlord who has received a copy of a court order in accordance with subsection A shall not provide copies of any keys to the dwelling unit to any person excluded from the premises by such order.

D. This section shall not apply when the court order excluding a person was issued ex parte.

2005, cc. 735, 825, § 55-248.18:1; 2016, c. 595; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1231. (Effective October 1, 2019) Relocation of tenant where mold remediation needs to be performed in the dwelling unit.

Where a mold condition in the dwelling unit materially affects the health or safety of any tenant or authorized occupant, the landlord may require the tenant to temporarily vacate the dwelling unit in order for the landlord to perform mold remediation in accordance with professional standards as defined in § 55.1-1200 for a period not to exceed 30 days. The landlord shall provide the tenant with either (i) a comparable dwelling unit, as selected by the landlord, at no expense or cost to the tenant or (ii) a hotel room, as selected by the landlord, at no expense or cost to the tenant. The landlord shall not be required to pay for any other expenses of the tenant that arise after the relocation period. The tenant shall continue to be responsible for payment of rent under the rental agreement during the period of any temporary relocation and for the remainder of the term of the rental agreement following the remediation. Nothing in this section shall be construed as entitling the tenant to a termination of a tenancy where the landlord has remediated a mold condition in accordance with professional standards as defined in § 55.1-1200. The landlord shall pay all costs of the relocation and the mold remediation, unless the mold is a result of the tenant's failure to comply with § 55.1-1227.

2008, c. 640, § 55-248.18:2; 2009, c. 663; 2011, c. 779; 2016, c. 744; 2017, c. 730; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1232. (Effective October 1, 2019) Use and occupancy by tenant.

Unless otherwise agreed, the tenant shall occupy his dwelling unit only as a residence.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.19; 2000, c. 760; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1233. (Effective October 1, 2019) Tenant to surrender possession of dwelling unit.

At the termination of the term of tenancy, whether by expiration of the rental agreement or by reason of default by the tenant, the tenant shall promptly vacate the premises, removing all items of personal property and leaving the premises in good and clean order, reasonable wear and tear excepted. If the tenant fails to vacate, the landlord may bring an action for possession and damages, including reasonable attorney fees.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.20; 2000, c. 760; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1234. (Effective October 1, 2019) Noncompliance by landlord.

Except as provided in this chapter, if there is a material noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or a noncompliance with any provision of this chapter, materially affecting health and safety, the tenant may serve a written notice on the landlord specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and stating that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than 30 days after receipt of the notice if such breach is not remedied in 21 days.

If the landlord commits a breach that is not remediable, the tenant may serve a written notice on the landlord specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and stating that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than 30 days after receipt of the notice.

If the landlord has been served with a prior written notice that required the landlord to remedy a breach, and the landlord remedied such breach, where the landlord intentionally commits a subsequent breach of a like nature as the prior breach, the tenant may serve a written notice on the landlord specifying the acts and omissions constituting the subsequent breach, make reference to the prior breach of a like nature, and state that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than 30 days after receipt of the notice.

If the breach is remediable by repairs and the landlord adequately remedies the breach prior to the date specified in the notice, the rental agreement will not terminate. The tenant may not terminate for a condition caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, an authorized occupant, or a guest or invitee of the tenant. In addition, the tenant may recover damages and obtain injunctive relief for noncompliance by the landlord with the provisions of the rental agreement or of this chapter. The tenant shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees unless the landlord proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the landlord's actions were reasonable under the circumstances. If the rental agreement is terminated due to the landlord's noncompliance, the landlord shall return the security deposit in accordance with § 55.1-1226.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.21; 1982, c. 260; 1987, c. 387; 2000, c. 760; 2003, c. 363; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1235. (Effective October 1, 2019) Early termination of rental agreement by military personnel.

A. Any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or a member of the National Guard serving on full-time duty or as a civil service technician with the National Guard may, through the procedure detailed in subsection B, terminate his rental agreement if the member (i) has received permanent change of station orders to depart 35 miles or more (radius) from the location of the dwelling unit, (ii) has received temporary duty orders in excess of three months' duration to depart 35 miles or more (radius) from the location of the dwelling unit, (iii) is discharged or released from active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States or from his full-time duty or technician status with the National Guard, or (iv) is ordered to report to government-supplied quarters resulting in the forfeiture of basic allowance for quarters.

B. Tenants who qualify to terminate a rental agreement pursuant to subsection A shall do so by serving on the landlord a written notice of termination to be effective on a date stated in such written notice, such date to be not less than 30 days after the first date on which the next rental payment is due and payable after the date on which the written notice is given. The termination date shall be no more than 60 days prior to the date of departure necessary to comply with the official orders or any supplemental instructions for interim training or duty prior to the transfer. Prior to the termination date, the tenant shall furnish the landlord with a copy of the official notification of the orders or a signed letter, confirming the orders, from the tenant's commanding officer.

C. The landlord may not charge any liquidated damages.

D. Nothing in this section shall affect the tenant's obligations established by § 55.1-1227.

1977, c. 427, § 55-248.21:1; 1978, c. 104; 1982, c. 260; 1983, c. 241; 1986, c. 29; 1988, c. 184; 2000, c. 760; 2002, c. 760; 2005, c. 742; 2006, c. 667; 2007, c. 252; 2017, c. 730; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1236. (Effective October 1, 2019) Early termination of rental agreements by victims of family abuse, sexual abuse, or criminal sexual assault.

A. Any tenant who is a victim of (i) family abuse as defined by § 16.1-228, (ii) sexual abuse as defined by § 18.2-67.10, or (iii) other criminal sexual assault under Article 7 (§ 18.2-61 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2 may terminate such tenant's obligations under a rental agreement under the following circumstances:

1. The victim has obtained an order of protection pursuant to § 16.1-279.1 and has given written notice of termination in accordance with subsection B during the period of the protective order or any extension thereof; or

2. A court has entered an order convicting a perpetrator of any crime of sexual assault under Article 7 (§ 18.2-61 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2, sexual abuse as defined by § 18.2-67.10, or family abuse as defined by § 16.1-228 against the victim and the victim gives written notice of termination in accordance with subsection B. A victim may exercise a right of termination under this section to terminate a rental agreement in effect when the conviction order is entered and one subsequent rental agreement based upon the same conviction.

B. A tenant who qualifies to terminate such tenant's obligations under a rental agreement pursuant to subsection A shall do so by serving on the landlord a written notice of termination to be effective on a date stated in such written notice, such date to be not less than 30 days after the first date on which the next rental payment is due and payable after the date on which the written notice is given. When the tenant serves the termination notice on the landlord, the tenant shall also provide the landlord with a copy of (i) the order of protection issued or (ii) the conviction order.

C. The rent shall be payable at such time as would otherwise have been required by the terms of the rental agreement through the effective date of the termination as provided in subsection B.

D. The landlord may not charge any liquidated damages.

E. The victim's obligations as a tenant under § 55.1-1227 shall continue through the effective date of the termination as provided in subsection B. Any co-tenants on the lease with the victim shall remain responsible for the rent for the balance of the term of the rental agreement. If the perpetrator is the remaining sole tenant obligated on the rental agreement, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement and collect actual damages for such termination against the perpetrator pursuant to § 55.1-1251.

2013, c. 531, § 55-248.21:2; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1237. (Effective October 1, 2019) Notice to tenant in event of foreclosure.

A. The landlord of a dwelling unit used as a single-family residence shall give written notice to the tenant or any prospective tenant of such dwelling unit that the landlord has received a notice of a mortgage default, mortgage acceleration, or foreclosure sale relative to the loan on the dwelling unit within five business days after written notice from the lender is received by the landlord. This requirement shall not apply (i) to any managing agent who does not receive a copy of such written notice from the lender or (ii) if the tenant or prospective tenant provides a copy of the written notice from the lender to the landlord or the managing agent.

B. If the landlord fails to provide the notice required by this section, the tenant shall have the right to terminate the rental agreement upon written notice to the landlord at least five business days prior to the effective date of termination. If the tenant terminates the rental agreement, the landlord shall make disposition of the tenant's security deposit in accordance with law or the provisions of the rental agreement, whichever is applicable.

C. If there is in effect at the date of the foreclosure sale a tenant in a dwelling unit foreclosed upon, the foreclosure shall act as a termination of the rental agreement by the owner. In such case, the tenant may remain in possession of such dwelling unit as a month-to-month tenant on the terms of the terminated rental agreement until the successor owner gives a notice of termination of such month-to-month tenancy. If the successor owner elects to terminate the month-to-month tenancy, written notice of such termination shall be given in accordance with the rental agreement or the provisions of § 55.1-1202 or 55.1-1410, as applicable.

D. Unless or until the successor owner terminates the month-to-month tenancy, the terms of the terminated rental agreement remain in effect except that the tenant shall make rental payments (i) to the successor owner as directed in a written notice to the tenant in this subsection; (ii) to the managing agent of the owner, if any, or successor owner; or (iii) into a court escrow account pursuant to the provisions of § 55.1-1244; however, there is no obligation of a tenant to file a tenant's assertion and pay rent into escrow. Where there is not a managing agent designated in the terminated rental agreement, the tenant shall remain obligated for payment of the rent but shall not be held to be delinquent or assessed a late charge until the successor owner provides written notice identifying the name, address, and telephone number of the party to which the rent should be paid.

E. The successor owner may enter into a new rental agreement with the tenant in the dwelling unit, in which case, upon the commencement date of the new rental agreement, the month-to-month tenancy shall terminate.

2018, c. 221, § 55-248.21:3; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1238. (Effective October 1, 2019) Failure to deliver possession.

If the landlord willfully fails to deliver possession of the dwelling unit to the tenant, then rent abates until possession is delivered, and the tenant may (i) terminate the rental agreement upon at least five days' written notice to the landlord, upon which termination the landlord shall return all prepaid rent and security deposits, or (ii) demand performance of the rental agreement by the landlord. If the tenant elects, he may file an action for possession of the dwelling unit against the landlord or any person wrongfully in possession and recover the damages sustained by him. If a person's failure to deliver possession is willful and not in good faith, an aggrieved person may recover from that person the actual damages sustained by him and reasonable attorney fees.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.22; 2000, c. 760; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1239. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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.

§ 55.1-1240. (Effective October 1, 2019) Fire or casualty damage.

If the dwelling unit or premises is damaged or destroyed by fire or casualty to an extent that the tenant's enjoyment of the dwelling unit is substantially impaired or required repairs can only be accomplished if the tenant vacates the dwelling unit, either the tenant or the landlord may terminate the rental agreement. The tenant may terminate the rental agreement by vacating the premises and within 14 days thereafter, serving on the landlord a written notice of his intention to terminate the rental agreement, in which case the rental agreement terminates as of the date of vacating. If continued occupancy is lawful, § 55.1-1411 shall apply.

The landlord may terminate the rental agreement by giving the tenant 14 days' notice of his intention to terminate the rental agreement on the basis of the landlord's determination that such damage requires the removal of the tenant and that the use of the premises is substantially impaired, in which case the rental agreement terminates as of the expiration of the notice period.

If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all security deposits in accordance with § 55.1-1226 and prepaid rent, plus accrued interest, recoverable by law unless the landlord reasonably believes that the tenant, an authorized occupant, or a guest or invitee of the tenant was the cause of the damage or casualty, in which case the landlord shall provide a written statement to the tenant for the security and prepaid rent, plus accrued interest based upon the damage or casualty, and may recover actual damages sustained pursuant to § 55.1-1251. Proration for rent in the event of termination or apportionment shall be made as of the date of the casualty.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.24; 1982, c. 260; 2000, c. 760; 2005, c. 807; 2011, c. 766; 2015, c. 596; 2016, c. 744; 2017, c. 730; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1241. (Effective October 1, 2019) Landlord's noncompliance as defense to action for possession for nonpayment of rent.

A. In an action for possession based upon nonpayment of rent or in an action for rent by a landlord when the tenant is in possession, the tenant may assert as a defense that there exists upon the leased premises a condition that constitutes, or will constitute, a fire hazard or a serious threat to the life, health, or safety of the occupants of the dwelling unit, including (i) a lack of heat, running water, light, electricity, or adequate sewage disposal facilities; (ii) an infestation of rodents; or (iii) a condition that constitutes material noncompliance on the part of the landlord with the rental agreement or provisions of law. The assertion of any defense provided for in this section shall be conditioned upon the following:

1. Prior to the commencement of the action for rent or possession, the landlord or his agent refused or, having a reasonable opportunity to do so, failed to remedy the condition for which he was served a written notice of the condition by the tenant or was notified of such condition by a violation or condemnation notice from an appropriate state or local agency. For the purposes of this subsection, what period of time shall be deemed to be unreasonable delay is left to the discretion of the court, except that there shall be a rebuttable presumption that a period in excess of 30 days from receipt of the notification by the landlord is unreasonable; and

2. The tenant, if in possession, has paid into court the amount of rent found by the court to be due and unpaid, to be held by the court pending the issuance of an order under subsection C.

B. It shall be a sufficient answer to such a defense provided for in this section if the landlord establishes that (i) the conditions alleged in the defense do not in fact exist; (ii) such conditions have been removed or remedied; (iii) such conditions have been caused by the tenant, his guest or invitee, members of the family of such tenant, or a guest or invitee of such family member; or (iv) the tenant has unreasonably refused entry to the landlord to the premises for the purposes of correcting such conditions.

C. The court shall make findings of fact upon any defense raised under this section or the answer to any defense and shall issue any order as may be required, including any one or more of the following:

1. Reducing rent in such amount as the court determines to be equitable to represent the existence of any condition set forth in subsection A;

2. Terminating the rental agreement or ordering the surrender of the premises to the landlord; or

3. Referring any matter before the court to the proper state or local agency for investigation and report and granting a continuance of the action or complaint pending receipt of such investigation and report. When such a continuance is granted, the tenant shall deposit with the court any rents that will become due during the period of continuance, to be held by the court pending its further order, or, in its discretion, the court may use such funds to (i) pay a mortgage on the property in order to stay a foreclosure, (ii) pay a creditor to prevent or satisfy a bill to enforce a mechanic's or materialman's lien, or (iii) remedy any condition set forth in subsection A that is found by the court to exist.

D. If it appears that the tenant has raised a defense under this section in bad faith or has caused the violation or has unreasonably refused entry to the landlord for the purpose of correcting the condition giving rise to the violation, the court may impose upon the tenant the reasonable costs of the landlord, including court costs, the costs of repair where the court finds the tenant has caused the violation, and reasonable attorney fees.

E. If the court finds that the tenant has successfully raised a defense under this section and enters judgment for the tenant, the court, in its discretion, may impose upon the landlord the reasonable costs of the tenant, including court costs, and reasonable attorney fees.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.25; 1982, c. 260; 2000, c. 760; 2019, cc. 324, 712.

§ 55.1-1242. (Effective October 1, 2019) Rent escrow required for continuance of tenant's case.

A. Where a landlord has filed an unlawful detainer action seeking possession of the premises as provided by this chapter and the tenant seeks to obtain a continuance of the action or to set it for a contested trial, the court shall, upon request of the landlord, order the tenant to pay an amount equal to the rent that is due as of the initial court date into the court escrow account prior to granting the tenant's request for a delayed court date. However, if the tenant asserts a good faith defense, and the court so finds, the court shall not require the rent to be escrowed. If the landlord requests a continuance or to set the case for a contested trial, the court shall not require the rent to be escrowed.

B. If the court finds that the tenant has not asserted a good faith defense, the tenant shall be required to pay an amount determined by the court to be proper into the court escrow account in order for the case to be continued or set for contested trial. The court may grant the tenant a continuance of no more than one week to make full payment of the court-ordered amount into the court escrow account. If the tenant fails to pay the entire amount ordered, the court shall, upon request of the landlord, enter judgment for the landlord and enter an order of possession of the premises.

C. The court shall further order that should the tenant fail to pay future rents due under the rental agreement into the court escrow account, the court shall, upon the request of the landlord, enter judgment for the landlord and enter an order of possession of the premises.

D. Upon motion of the landlord, the court may disburse the moneys held in the court escrow account to the landlord for payment of his mortgage or other expenses relating to the dwelling unit.

E. Except as provided in subsection D, no rent required to be escrowed under this section shall be disbursed within 10 days of the date of the judgment unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. If an appeal is taken by the plaintiff, the rent held in escrow shall be transmitted to the clerk of the circuit court to be held in such court escrow account pending the outcome of the appeal.

1999, cc. 382, 506, § 55-248.25:1; 2009, c. 137; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1243. (Effective October 1, 2019) Tenant's remedies for landlord's unlawful ouster, exclusion, or diminution of service.

If a landlord unlawfully removes or excludes a tenant from the premises or willfully diminishes services to the tenant by interrupting or causing the interruption of an essential service to the tenant, the tenant may obtain an order from a general district court to recover possession, require the landlord to resume any such interrupted essential service, or terminate the rental agreement and, in any case, recover the actual damages sustained by him and reasonable attorney fees. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all of the security deposit in accordance with § 55.1-1226.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.26; 2000, c. 760; 2013, c. 110; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1244. (Effective October 1, 2019) Tenant's assertion; rent escrow.

A. The tenant may assert that there exists upon the leased premises a condition that constitutes a material noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or with provisions of law or that, if not promptly corrected, will constitute a fire hazard or serious threat to the life, health, or safety of occupants of the premises, including (i) a lack of heat or hot or cold running water, except where the tenant is responsible for payment of the utility charge and where the lack of such heat or hot or cold running water is the direct result of the tenant's failure to pay the utility charge; (ii) a lack of light, electricity, or adequate sewage disposal facilities; (iii) an infestation of rodents; or (iv) the existence of paint containing lead pigment on surfaces within the dwelling, provided that the landlord has notice of such paint. The tenant may file such an assertion in a general district court in which the premises is located by a declaration setting forth such assertion and asking for one or more forms of relief as provided for in subsection D.

B. Prior to the granting of any relief, the tenant shall show to the satisfaction of the court that:

1. Prior to the commencement of the action, the landlord or his agent refused or, having a reasonable opportunity to do so, failed to remedy the condition for which he was served a written notice of the condition by the tenant or was notified of such condition by a violation or condemnation notice from an appropriate state or local agency. For the purposes of this subsection, what period of time shall be deemed to be unreasonable delay is left to the discretion of the court, except that there shall be a rebuttable presumption that a period in excess of 30 days from receipt of the notification by the landlord is unreasonable; and

2. The tenant has paid into court the amount of rent called for under the rental agreement, within five days of the date due under the rental agreement, unless or until such amount is modified by subsequent order of the court under this chapter.

C. It shall be sufficient answer or rejoinder to an assertion made pursuant to subsection A if the landlord establishes to the satisfaction of the court that (i) the conditions alleged by the tenant do not in fact exist; (ii) such conditions have been removed or remedied; (iii) such conditions have been caused by the tenant, his guest or invitee, members of the family of such tenant, or a guest or invitee of such family member; or (iv) the tenant has unreasonably refused entry to the landlord to the premises for the purpose of correcting such conditions.

D. Any court shall make findings of fact on the issues before it and shall issue any order that may be required. Such an order may include any one or more of the following:

1. Terminating the rental agreement upon the request of the tenant or ordering the surrender of the premises to the landlord if the landlord prevails on a request for possession pursuant to an unlawful detainer properly filed with the court;

2. Ordering all moneys already accumulated in escrow disbursed to the landlord or to the tenant in accordance with this chapter;

3. Ordering that the escrow be continued until the conditions causing the complaint are remedied;

4. Ordering that the amount of rent, whether paid into the escrow account or paid to the landlord, be abated as determined by the court in such an amount as may be equitable to represent the existence of any condition found by the court to exist. In all cases where the court deems that the tenant is entitled to relief under this chapter, the burden shall be upon the landlord to show cause why there should not be an abatement of rent;

5. Ordering any amount of moneys accumulated in escrow disbursed to the tenant where the landlord refuses to make repairs after a reasonable time or to the landlord or to a contractor chosen by the landlord in order to make repairs or to otherwise remedy the condition. In either case, the court shall in its order insure that moneys thus disbursed will be in fact used for the purpose of making repairs or effecting a remedy;

6. Referring any matter before the court to the proper state or local agency for investigation and report and granting a continuance of the action or complaint pending receipt of such investigation and report. When such a continuance is granted, the tenant shall deposit with the court, within five days of date due under the rental agreement, subject to any abatement under this section, rents that become due during the period of the continuance, to be held by the court pending its further order;

7. Ordering escrow funds disbursed to pay a mortgage on the property in order to stay a foreclosure; or

8. Ordering escrow funds disbursed to pay a creditor to prevent or satisfy a bill to enforce a mechanic's or materialman's lien.

E. Notwithstanding any provision of subsection D, where an escrow account is established by the court and the condition is not fully remedied within six months of the establishment of such account, and the landlord has not made reasonable attempts to remedy the condition, the court shall award all moneys accumulated in escrow to the tenant. In such event, the escrow shall not be terminated, but shall begin upon a new six-month period with the same result if, at the end of the period, the condition has not been remedied.

F. The initial hearing on the tenant's assertion filed pursuant to subsection A shall be held within 15 calendar days from the date of service of process on the landlord as authorized by § 55.1-1216, except that the court shall order an earlier hearing where emergency conditions are alleged to exist upon the premises, such as failure of heat in winter, lack of adequate sewage disposal facilities, or any other condition that constitutes an immediate threat to the health or safety of the inhabitants of the leased premises. The court, on motion of either party or on its own motion, may hold hearings subsequent to the initial proceeding in order to further determine the rights and obligations of the parties. Distribution of escrow moneys may only occur by order of the court after a hearing of which both parties are given notice as required by law or upon motion of both the landlord and tenant or upon certification by the appropriate inspector that the work required by the court to be done has been satisfactorily completed. If the tenant proceeds under this subsection, he may not proceed under any other section of this article as to that breach.

G. In cases where the court deems that the tenant is entitled to relief under this section and enters judgment for the tenant, the court, in its discretion, may impose upon the landlord the reasonable costs of the tenant, including court costs, and reasonable attorney fees.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.27; 2000, c. 760; 2001, c. 524; 2016, cc. 384, 459; 2017, c. 730; 2019, cc. 324, 712.

§ 55.1-1245. (Effective October 1, 2019) Noncompliance with rental agreement; monetary penalty.

A. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, if there is a material noncompliance by the tenant with the rental agreement or a violation of § 55.1-1227 materially affecting health and safety, the landlord may serve a written notice on the tenant specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and stating that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than 30 days after receipt of the notice if the breach is not remedied in 21 days and that the rental agreement shall terminate as provided in the notice.

B. If the breach is remediable by repairs or the payment of damages or otherwise and the tenant adequately remedies the breach prior to the date specified in the notice, the rental agreement shall not terminate.

C. If the tenant commits a breach that is not remediable, the landlord may serve a written notice on the tenant specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and stating that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than 30 days after receipt of the notice. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, when a breach of the tenant's obligations under this chapter or the rental agreement involves or constitutes a criminal or a willful act that is not remediable and that poses a threat to health or safety, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement immediately and proceed to obtain possession of the premises. For purposes of this subsection, any illegal drug activity involving a controlled substance, as used or defined by the Drug Control Act (§ 54.1-3400 et seq.), or any activity that involves or constitutes a criminal or willful act that also poses a threat to health and safety, by the tenant, an authorized occupant, or a guest or invitee of the tenant shall constitute an immediate nonremediable violation for which the landlord may proceed to terminate the tenancy without the necessity of waiting for a conviction of any criminal offense that may arise out of the same actions. In order to obtain an order of possession from a court of competent jurisdiction terminating the tenancy for illegal drug activity or for any other activity that involves or constitutes a criminal or willful act that also poses a threat to health and safety, the landlord shall prove any such violations by a preponderance of the evidence. However, where the illegal drug activity or any activity that involves or constitutes a criminal or willful act that also poses a threat to health and safety is engaged in by an authorized occupant or a guest or invitee of the tenant, the tenant shall be presumed to have knowledge of such activities unless the presumption is rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence. The initial hearing on the landlord's action for immediate possession of the premises shall be held within 15 calendar days from the date of service on the tenant; however, the court shall order an earlier hearing when emergency conditions are alleged to exist upon the premises that constitute an immediate threat to the health or safety of the other tenants. After the initial hearing, if the matter is scheduled for a subsequent hearing or for a contested trial, the court, to the extent practicable, shall order that the matter be given priority on the court's docket. Such subsequent hearing or contested trial shall be heard no later than 30 calendar days from the date of service on the tenant. During the interim period between the date of the initial hearing and the date of any subsequent hearing or contested trial, the court may afford any further remedy or relief as is necessary to protect the interests of parties to the proceeding or the interests of any other tenant residing on the premises. Failure by the court to hold either of the hearings within the time limits set out in this section shall not be a basis for dismissal of the case.

D. If the tenant is a victim of family abuse as defined in § 16.1-228 that occurred in the dwelling unit or on the premises and the perpetrator is barred from the dwelling unit pursuant to § 55.1-1246 on the basis of information provided by the tenant to the landlord, or by a protective order from a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to § 16.1-253.1 or 16.1-279.1 or subsection B of § 20-103, the lease shall not terminate solely due to an act of family abuse against the tenant. However, these provisions shall not be applicable if (i) the tenant fails to provide written documentation corroborating the tenant's status as a victim of family abuse and the exclusion from the dwelling unit of the perpetrator no later than 21 days from the alleged offense or (ii) the perpetrator returns to the dwelling unit or the premises, in violation of a bar notice, and the tenant fails to promptly notify the landlord within 24 hours that the perpetrator has returned to the dwelling unit or the premises, unless the tenant proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the tenant had no actual knowledge that the perpetrator violated the bar notice, or it was not possible for the tenant to notify the landlord within 24 hours, in which case the tenant shall promptly notify the landlord, but in no event later than seven days. If the provisions of this subsection are not applicable, the tenant shall remain responsible for the acts of the other co-tenants, authorized occupants, or guests or invitees pursuant to § 55.1-1227 and is subject to termination of the tenancy pursuant to the lease and this chapter.

E. If the tenant has been served with a prior written notice that required the tenant to remedy a breach, and the tenant remedied such breach, where the tenant intentionally commits a subsequent breach of a like nature as the prior breach, the landlord may serve a written notice on the tenant specifying the acts and omissions constituting the subsequent breach, make reference to the prior breach of a like nature, and state that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than 30 days after receipt of the notice.

F. If rent is unpaid when due, and the tenant fails to pay rent within five days after written notice is served on him notifying the tenant of his nonpayment, and of the landlord's intention to terminate the rental agreement if the rent is not paid within the five-day period, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement and proceed to obtain possession of the premises as provided in § 55.1-1251. If a check for rent is delivered to the landlord drawn on an account with insufficient funds, or if an electronic funds transfer has been rejected because of insufficient funds or a stop-payment order has been placed in bad faith by the authorizing party, and the tenant fails to pay rent within five days after written notice is served on him notifying the tenant of his nonpayment and of the landlord's intention to terminate the rental agreement if the rent is not paid by cash, cashier's check, certified check, or a completed electronic funds transfer within the five-day period, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement and proceed to obtain possession of the premises as provided in § 55.1-1251. Nothing shall be construed to prevent a landlord from seeking an award of costs or attorney fees under § 8.01-27.1 or civil recovery under § 8.01-27.2, as a part of other damages requested on the unlawful detainer filed pursuant to § 8.01-126, provided that the landlord has given notice in accordance with § 55.1-1202, which notice may be included in the five-day termination notice provided in accordance with this section.

G. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the landlord may recover damages and obtain injunctive relief for any noncompliance by the tenant with the rental agreement or § 55.1-1227. In the event of a breach of the rental agreement or noncompliance by the tenant, the landlord shall be entitled to recover from the tenant the following, regardless of whether a lawsuit is filed or an order is obtained from a court: (i) rent due and owing as contracted for in the rental agreement, (ii) other charges and fees as contracted for in the rental agreement, (iii) late charges contracted for in the rental agreement, (iv) reasonable attorney fees as contracted for in the rental agreement or as provided by law, (v) costs of the proceeding as contracted for in the rental agreement or as provided by law only if court action has been filed, and (vi) damages to the dwelling unit or premises as contracted for in the rental agreement.

H. In a case where a lawsuit is pending before the court upon a breach of the rental agreement or noncompliance by the tenant and the landlord prevails, the court shall award a money judgment to the landlord and against the tenant for the relief requested, which may include the following: (i) rent due and owing as of the court date as contracted for in the rental agreement; (ii) other charges and fees as contracted for in the rental agreement; (iii) late charges contracted for in the rental agreement; (iv) reasonable attorney fees as contracted for in the rental agreement or as provided by law, unless in any such action the tenant proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the tenant's failure to pay rent or vacate was reasonable; (v) costs of the proceeding as contracted for in the rental agreement or as provided by law; and (vi) damages to the dwelling unit or premises.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.31; 1978, c. 378; 1980, c. 502; 1982, c. 260; 1984, c. 78; 1987, c. 387; 1988, c. 62; 1989, c. 301; 1995, c. 580; 2000, c. 760; 2003, c. 363; 2004, c. 232; 2005, cc. 808, 883; 2006, cc. 628, 717; 2007, c. 273; 2008, c. 489; 2013, c. 563; 2014, c. 813; 2017, c. 730; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1246. (Effective October 1, 2019) Barring guest or invitee of a tenant.

A. A guest or invitee of a tenant may be barred from the premises by the landlord upon written notice served personally upon the guest or invitee of the tenant for conduct on the landlord's property where the premises are located that violates the terms and conditions of the rental agreement, a local ordinance, or a state or federal law. A copy of the notice shall be served upon the tenant in accordance with this chapter. The notice shall describe the conduct of the guest or invitee that is the basis for the landlord's action.

B. In addition to the remedies against the tenant authorized by this chapter, a landlord may apply to the magistrate for a warrant for trespass, provided that the guest or invitee has been served in accordance with subsection A.

C. The tenant may file a tenant's assertion, in accordance with § 55.1-1244, requesting that the general district court review the landlord's action to bar the guest or invitee.

1999, cc. 359, 390, § 55-248.31:01; 2000, c. 760; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1247. (Effective October 1, 2019) Sheriffs authorized to serve certain notices; fee for service.

The sheriff of any county or city, upon request, may deliver any notice to a tenant on behalf of a landlord or lessor under the provisions of § 55.1-1245 or 55.1-1415. For this service, the sheriff shall be allowed a fee not to exceed $12.

1981, c. 148, § 55-248.31:1; 1995, c. 51; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1248. (Effective October 1, 2019) Remedy by repair, etc.; emergencies.

If there is a violation by the tenant of § 55.1-1227 or the rental agreement materially affecting health and safety that can be remedied by repair, replacement of a damaged item, or cleaning, the landlord shall send a written notice to the tenant specifying the breach and stating that the landlord will enter the dwelling unit and perform the work in a workmanlike manner and submit an itemized bill for the actual and reasonable cost for such work to the tenant, which shall be due as rent on the next rent due date or, if the rental agreement has terminated, for immediate payment.

In case of emergency the landlord may, as promptly as conditions require, enter the dwelling unit, perform the work in a workmanlike manner, and submit an itemized bill for the actual and reasonable cost for such work to the tenant, which shall be due as rent on the next rent due date or, if the rental agreement has terminated, for immediate payment.

The landlord may perform the repair, replacement, or cleaning or may engage a third party to do so.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.32; 2000, c. 760; 2009, c. 663; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1249. (Effective October 1, 2019) Remedies for absence, nonuse, and abandonment.

If the rental agreement requires the tenant to give notice to the landlord of an anticipated extended absence in excess of seven days and the tenant fails to do so, the landlord may recover actual damages from the tenant. During any absence of the tenant in excess of seven days, the landlord may enter the dwelling unit at times reasonably necessary to protect his possessions and property. The rental agreement is deemed to be terminated by the landlord as of the date of abandonment by the tenant. If the landlord cannot determine whether the premises has been abandoned by the tenant, the landlord shall serve written notice on the tenant in accordance with § 55.1-1202 requiring the tenant to give written notice to the landlord within seven days that the tenant intends to remain in occupancy of the premises. If the tenant gives such written notice to the landlord, or if the landlord otherwise determines that the tenant remains in occupancy of the premises, the landlord shall not treat the premises as having been abandoned. Unless the landlord receives written notice from the tenant or otherwise determines that the tenant remains in occupancy of the premises, upon the expiration of seven days from the date of the landlord's notice to the tenant, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the premises has been abandoned by the tenant, and the rental agreement shall be deemed to terminate on that date. The landlord shall mitigate damages in accordance with § 55.1-1251.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.33; 2002, c. 761; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1250. (Effective October 1, 2019) Landlord's acceptance of rent with reservation.

A. The landlord may accept full or partial payment of all rent and receive an order of possession from a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to an unlawful detainer action filed under Article 13 (§ 8.01-124 et seq.) of Chapter 3 of Title 8.01 and proceed with eviction under § 55.1-1255, provided that the landlord has stated in a written notice to the tenant that any and all amounts owed to the landlord by the tenant, including payment of any rent, damages, money judgment, award of attorney fees, and court costs, would be accepted with reservation and would not constitute a waiver of the landlord's right to evict the tenant from the dwelling unit. Such notice may be included in a written termination notice given by the landlord to the tenant in accordance with § 55.1-1245, and if so included, nothing herein shall be construed by a court of law or otherwise as requiring such landlord to give the tenant subsequent written notice. If the dwelling unit is a public housing unit or other housing unit subject to regulation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, nothing in this section shall be construed to require that written notice be given to any public agency paying a portion of the rent under the rental agreement. If a landlord enters into a new written rental agreement with the tenant prior to eviction, an order of possession obtained prior to the entry of such new rental agreement is not enforceable.

B. The tenant may pay or present to the court a redemption tender for payment of all rent due and owing as of the return date, including late charges, attorney fees, and court costs, at or before the first return date on an action for unlawful detainer. For purposes of this section, "redemption tender" means a written commitment to pay all rent due and owing as of the return date, including late charges, attorney fees, and court costs, by a local government or nonprofit entity within 10 days of such return date.

C. If the tenant presents a redemption tender to the court at the return date, the court shall continue the action for unlawful detainer for 10 days following the return date for payment to the landlord of all rent due and owing as of the return date, including late charges, attorney fees, and court costs, and dismiss the action upon such payment. Should the landlord not receive full payment of all rent due and owing as of the return date, including late charges, attorney fees, and court costs, within 10 days of the return date, the court shall, without further evidence, grant to the landlord judgment for all amounts due and immediate possession of the premises.

D. In cases of unlawful detainer, a tenant may pay the landlord or the landlord's attorney or pay into court all (i) rent due and owing as of the court date as contracted for in the rental agreement, (ii) other charges and fees as contracted for in the rental agreement, (iii) late charges contracted for in the rental agreement, (iv) reasonable attorney fees as contracted for in the rental agreement or as provided by law, and (v) costs of the proceeding as provided by law, at which time the unlawful detainer proceeding shall be dismissed. If such payment has not been made as of the return date for the unlawful detainer, the tenant may pay to the landlord, the landlord's attorney, or the court all amounts claimed on the summons in unlawful detainer, including current rent, damages, late fees, costs of court, any civil recovery, attorney fees, and sheriff fees, no less than two business days before the date scheduled by the officer to whom the writ of eviction has been delivered to be executed. Any payments made by the tenant shall be by cashier's check, certified check, or money order. A tenant may invoke the rights granted in this section no more than one time during any 12-month period of continuous residency in the dwelling unit, regardless of the term of the rental agreement or any renewal term of the rental agreement.

2003, c. 427, § 55-248.34:1; 2006, c. 667; 2008, c. 489; 2010, c. 793; 2012, c. 788; 2013, c. 563; 2014, c. 813; 2018, cc. 220, 233; 2019, cc. 28, 43, 712.

§ 55.1-1251. (Effective October 1, 2019) Remedy after termination.

If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord may have a claim for possession and for rent and a separate claim for actual damages for breach of the rental agreement, reasonable attorney fees as provided in § 55.1-1245, and the cost of service of any notice under § 55.1-1245 or 55.1-1415 or process by a sheriff or private process server, which cost shall not exceed the amount authorized by § 55.1-1247, and such claims may be enforced, without limitation, by initiating an action for unlawful entry or detainer. Actual damages for breach of the rental agreement may include a claim for rent that would have accrued until the expiration of the term of the rental agreement or until a tenancy pursuant to a new rental agreement commences, whichever occurs first, provided that nothing contained in this section shall diminish the duty of the landlord to mitigate actual damages for breach of the rental agreement. In obtaining post-possession judgments for actual damages as defined in this section, the landlord shall not seek a judgment for accelerated rent through the end of the term of the tenancy.

In any unlawful detainer action brought by the landlord, this section shall not be construed to prevent the landlord from being granted by the court a simultaneous judgment for money due and for possession of the premises without a credit for any security deposit. Upon the tenant vacating the premises either voluntarily or by a writ of eviction, security deposits shall be credited to the tenant's account by the landlord in accordance with the requirements of § 55.1-1226.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.35; 1981, c. 539; 1988, c. 68; 1989, c. 383; 1996, c. 326; 2000, c. 760; 2001, c. 524; 2019, cc. 180, 700, 712.

§ 55.1-1252. (Effective October 1, 2019) Recovery of possession limited.

A landlord may not recover or take possession of the dwelling unit (i) by willful diminution of services to the tenant by interrupting or causing the interruption of an essential service required by the rental agreement or (ii) by refusal to permit the tenant access to the unit unless such refusal is pursuant to a court order for possession.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.36; 1978, c. 520; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1253. (Effective October 1, 2019) Periodic tenancy; holdover remedies.

A. The landlord or the tenant may terminate a week-to-week tenancy by serving a written notice on the other at least seven days prior to the next rent due date. The landlord or the tenant may terminate a month-to-month tenancy by serving a written notice on the other at least 30 days prior to the next rent due date, unless the rental agreement provides for a different notice period. The landlord and the tenant may agree in writing to an early termination of a rental agreement. In the event that no such agreement is reached, the provisions of § 55.1-1251 shall control.

B. If the tenant remains in possession without the landlord's consent after expiration of the term of the rental agreement or its termination, the landlord may bring an action for possession and may also recover actual damages, reasonable attorney fees, and court costs, unless the tenant proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the failure of the tenant to vacate the dwelling unit as of the termination date was reasonable. The landlord may include in the rental agreement a reasonable liquidated damage penalty, not to exceed an amount equal to 150 percent of the per diem of the monthly rent, for each day the tenant remains in the dwelling unit after the termination date specified in the landlord's notice. However, if the dwelling unit is a public housing unit or other housing unit subject to regulation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, any liquidated damage penalty shall not exceed an amount equal to the per diem of the monthly rent set out in the lease agreement. If the landlord consents to the tenant's continued occupancy, § 55.1-1204 applies.

C. In the event of termination of a rental agreement where the tenant remains in possession with the agreement of the landlord either as a hold-over tenant or a month-to-month tenant and no new rental agreement is entered into, the terms of the terminated agreement shall remain in effect and govern the hold-over or month-to-month tenancy, except that the amount of rent shall be either as provided in the terminated rental agreement or the amount set forth in a written notice to the tenant, provided that such new rent amount shall not take effect until the next rent due date coming 30 days after the notice.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.37; 1977, c. 427; 1982, c. 260; 2004, c. 123; 2005, c. 805; 2009, c. 663; 2013, c. 563; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1254. (Effective October 1, 2019) Disposal of property abandoned by tenants.

If any items of personal property are left in the dwelling unit, the premises, or any storage area provided by the landlord after the rental agreement has terminated and delivery of possession has occurred, the landlord may consider such property to be abandoned. The landlord may dispose of the property so abandoned as the landlord sees fit or appropriate, provided that he has given (i) a termination notice to the tenant in accordance with this chapter, including a statement that any items of personal property left in the dwelling unit or the premises would be disposed of within the 24-hour period after termination; (ii) written notice to the tenant in accordance with § 55.1-1249, including a statement that any items of personal property left in the dwelling unit, the premises, or the storage area would be disposed of within the 24-hour period after expiration of the seven-day notice period; or (iii) a separate written notice to the tenant, including a statement that any items of personal property left in the dwelling unit, the premises, or the storage area would be disposed of within 24 hours after expiration of a 10-day period from the date such notice was given to the tenant. Any written notice to the tenant shall be given in accordance with § 55.1-1202. The tenant shall have the right to remove his personal property from the dwelling unit, the premises, or the storage area at reasonable times during the 24-hour period after termination or at such other reasonable times until the landlord has disposed of the remaining personal property of the tenant.

During the 24-hour period and until the landlord disposes of the remaining personal property of the tenant, the landlord shall not have any liability for the risk of loss for such personal property. If the landlord fails to allow reasonable access to the tenant to remove his personal property as provided in this section, the tenant shall have a right to injunctive or other relief as provided by law. If the landlord received any funds from any sale of abandoned property as provided in this section, the landlord shall pay such funds to the account of the tenant and apply the funds to any amounts due the landlord by the tenant, including the reasonable costs incurred by the landlord in selling, storing, or safekeeping such property. If any such funds are remaining after application, the remaining funds shall be treated as a security deposit under the provisions of § 55.1-1226. The provisions of this section shall not be applicable if the landlord has been granted an order of possession for the premises in accordance with Title 8.01 and execution of a writ of eviction has been completed pursuant to § 8.01-470.

Nothing in this section shall affect the right of a landlord to enforce an inchoate or perfected lien of the landlord on the personal property of a tenant in a dwelling unit or on the premises leased to such tenant and the right of a landlord to distress, levy, and seize such personal property as otherwise provided by law.

1984, c. 741, § 55-248.38:1; 1995, c. 228; 1998, c. 461; 2000, c. 760; 2002, c. 762; 2013, c. 563; 2017, c. 730; 2019, cc. 180, 700, 712.

§ 55.1-1255. (Effective October 1, 2019) Authority of sheriffs to store and sell personal property removed from residential premises; recovery of possession by owner; disposition or sale.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 8.01-156, when personal property is removed from a dwelling unit, the premises, or any storage area provided by the landlord pursuant to an action of unlawful detainer or ejectment, or pursuant to any other action in which personal property is removed from the dwelling unit in order to restore the dwelling unit to the person entitled to such dwelling unit, the sheriff shall oversee the removal of such personal property to be placed into the public way. The tenant shall have the right to remove his personal property from the public way during the 24-hour period after eviction. Upon the expiration of the 24-hour period after eviction, the landlord shall remove, or dispose of, any such personal property remaining in the public way.

At the landlord's request, any personal property removed pursuant to this section shall be placed into a storage area designated by the landlord, which may be the dwelling unit. The tenant shall have the right to remove his personal property from the landlord's designated storage area at reasonable times during the 24 hours after eviction or at such other reasonable times until the landlord has disposed of the property as provided in this section. During that 24-hour period and until the landlord disposes of the remaining personal property of the tenant, the landlord and the sheriff shall not have any liability for the risk of loss for such personal property. If the landlord fails to allow reasonable access to the tenant to remove his personal property as provided in this section, the tenant shall have a right to injunctive or other relief as otherwise provided by law.

Any property remaining in the landlord's storage area upon the expiration of the 24-hour period after eviction may be disposed of by the landlord as the landlord sees fit or appropriate. If the landlord receives any funds from any sale of such remaining property, the landlord shall pay such funds to the account of the tenant and apply the funds to any amounts due the landlord by the tenant, including the reasonable costs incurred by the landlord in the eviction process described in this section or the reasonable costs incurred by the landlord in selling or storing such property. If any funds are remaining after application, the remaining funds shall be treated as a security deposit under the provisions of § 55.1-1226.

The notice posted by the sheriff with the writ of eviction setting the date and time of the eviction, pursuant to § 8.01-470, shall provide notice to the tenant of the rights afforded to tenants in this section and shall include a copy of this statute attached to, or made a part of, the notice.

2001, c. 222, § 55-248.38:2; 2006, c. 129; 2013, c. 563; 2019, cc. 180, 700, 712.

§ 55.1-1256. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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.

§ 55.1-1257. (Effective October 1, 2019) Who may recover rent or possession.

Notwithstanding any rule of court to the contrary, (i) any person licensed under the provisions of § 54.1-2106.1, (ii) any property manager or the managing agent of a landlord as defined in § 55.1-1200 pursuant to the written property management agreement, or (iii) any employee, who is authorized in writing by a corporate officer with the approval of the board of directors, or by a manager, a general partner, or a trustee, of a partnership, association, corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, professional corporation, professional limited liability company, registered limited liability partnership, registered limited liability limited partnership, business trust, or family trust to sign pleadings as the agent of the business entity may obtain a judgment (a) for possession in the general district court for the county or city in which the premises, or part thereof, is situated or (b) for rent or damages, including actual damages for breach of the rental agreement, or for final rent and damages under § 8.01-128, in any general district court where venue is proper under Chapter 5 (§ 8.01-257 et seq.) of Title 8.01, against any defendant if the person seeking such judgment had a contractual agreement with the landlord to manage the premises for which rent or possession is due and may prepare, execute, file, and have served on other parties in any general district court a warrant in debt, suggestion for summons in garnishment, garnishment summons, order of possession, writ of eviction, or writ of fieri facias arising out of a landlord-tenant relationship. However, the activities of any such person in court shall be limited by the provisions of § 16.1-88.03. However, nothing shall be construed as preventing a nonlawyer from requesting relief from the court as provided by law or statute when such nonlawyer is before the court on one of the actions specified herein.

1983, c. 8, § 55-246.1; 1989, c. 612; 1998, c. 452; 2003, cc. 665, 667; 2004, cc. 338, 365; 2010, c. 550; 2013, c. 563; 2015, c. 190; 2018, c. 221; 2019, cc. 180, 477, 700, 712.

§ 55.1-1258. (Effective October 1, 2019) Retaliatory conduct prohibited.

A. Except as provided in this section or as otherwise provided by law, a landlord may not retaliate by increasing rent or decreasing services or by bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession or by causing a termination of the rental agreement pursuant to § 55.1-1253 or 55.1-1410 after he has knowledge that (i) the tenant has complained to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building or housing code of a violation applicable to the premises materially affecting health or safety, (ii) the tenant has made a complaint to or filed an action against the landlord for a violation of any provision of this chapter, (iii) the tenant has organized or become a member of a tenant's organization, or (iv) the tenant has testified in a court proceeding against the landlord. However, the provisions of this subsection shall not be construed to prevent the landlord from increasing rent to that which is charged for similar market rentals nor decreasing services that apply equally to all tenants.

B. If the landlord acts in violation of this section, the tenant is entitled to the applicable remedies provided for in this chapter, including recovery of actual damages, and may assert such retaliation as a defense in any action against him for possession. The burden of proving retaliatory intent shall be on the tenant.

C. Notwithstanding subsections A and B, a landlord may terminate the rental agreement pursuant to § 55.1-1253 or 55.1-1410 and bring an action for possession if:

1. Violation of the applicable building or housing code was caused primarily by lack of reasonable care by the tenant, an authorized occupant, or a guest or invitee of the tenant;

2. The tenant is in default in rent;

3. Compliance with the applicable building or housing code requires alteration, remodeling, or demolition that would effectively deprive the tenant of use of the dwelling unit; or

4. The tenant is in default of a provision of the rental agreement materially affecting the health and safety of himself or others. The maintenance of the action provided in this section does not release the landlord from liability under § 55.1-1226.

D. The landlord may also terminate the rental agreement pursuant to § 55.1-1253 or 55.1-1410 for any other reason not prohibited by law unless the court finds that the reason for the termination was retaliation.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.39; 1983, c. 396; 1985, c. 268; 2000, c. 760; 2015, c. 408; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1259. (Effective October 1, 2019) Actions to enforce chapter.

In addition to any other remedies in this chapter, any person adversely affected by an act or omission prohibited under this chapter may institute an action for injunction and damages against the person responsible for such act or omission in the circuit court in the county or city in which such act or omission occurred. If the court finds that the defendant was responsible for such act or omission, it shall enjoin the defendant from continuance of such practice, and in its discretion award the plaintiff damages as provided in this section.

1974, c. 680, § 55-248.40; 2013, c. 110; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1260. (Effective July 1, 2020; Expires July 1, 2023) Establishment of Eviction Diversion Pilot Program; purpose; goals.

A. There is hereby established the Eviction Diversion Pilot Program (the Program) within the existing structure of the general district courts for the cities of Danville, Hampton, Petersburg, and Richmond. The purpose of the Program shall be to reduce the number of evictions of low-income persons. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no eviction diversion court or program shall be established except in conformance with this section.

B. The goals of the Program shall include (i) reducing the number of evictions of low-income persons from their residential dwelling units for the failure to pay small amounts of money under the rental agreement, in particular when such persons have experienced an event that adversely affected financial circumstances such as the loss of employment or a medical crisis in their immediate family; (ii) reducing displacement of families from their homes and the resulting adverse consequences to children who are no longer able to remain in the same public school after eviction; (iii) encouraging understanding of eviction-related processes and facilitating the landlord's and tenant's entering into a reasonable payment plan that provides for the landlord to receive full rental payments as contracted for in the rental agreement and for the tenant to have the opportunity to make current such rental payments; and (iv) encouraging tenants to make rental payments in the manner as provided in the rental agreement.

2019, cc. 355, 356, § 55-248.40:1.

§ 55.1-1261. (Effective July 1, 2020; Expires July 1, 2023) Eviction Diversion Pilot Program; administration.

Administrative oversight of the implementation of the Program and training for judges who preside over general district courts participating in the Program shall be conducted by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia (Executive Secretary).

2019, cc. 355, 356, § 55-248.40:2.

§ 55.1-1262. (Effective July 1, 2020; Expires July 1, 2023) Eviction Diversion Pilot Program; process; court-ordered payment plan.

A. A tenant in an unlawful detainer case shall be eligible to participate in the Program if he:

1. Appears in court on the first docket call of the case and requests to have the case referred into the Program;

2. Pays to the landlord or into the court at least 25 percent of the amount due on the unlawful detainer as amended on the first docket call of the case;

3. Provides sworn testimony that he is employed and has sufficient funds to make the payments under the court payment plan, or otherwise has sufficient funds to make such payments;

4. Provides sworn testimony explaining the reasons for being unable to make rental payments as contracted for in the rental agreement;

5. Has not been late within the last 12 months in payment of rent as contracted for in the rental agreement at the rate of either (i) more than two times in six months or (ii) more than three times in 12 months;

6. Has not exercised the right of redemption pursuant to § 55.1-1250 within the last six months; and

7. Has not participated in an eviction diversion program within the last 12 months.

B. The court shall direct an eligible tenant pursuant to subsection A and his landlord to participate in the Program and to enter into a court-ordered payment plan. The court shall provide for a continuance of the case on the docket of the general district court in which the unlawful detainer action is filed to allow for full payment under the plan. The court-ordered payment plan shall be based on a payment agreement entered into by the landlord and tenant, on a form provided by the Executive Secretary, and shall contain the following provisions:

1. All payments shall be (i) made to the landlord; (ii) paid by cashier's check, certified check, or money order; and (iii) received by the landlord on or before the fifth day of each month included in the plan;

2. The remaining payments of the amounts on the amended unlawful detainer after the first payments made on the first docket call of the case shall be paid on the following schedule: (i) 25 percent due by the fifth day of the month following the initial court hearing date, (ii) 25 percent due by the fifth day of the second month following the initial court hearing date, and (iii) the final payment of 25 percent due by the fifth day of the third month following the initial court hearing date; and

3. All rental payments shall continue to be made by the tenant to the landlord as contracted for in the rental agreement within five days of the due date established by the rental agreement each month during the course of the court-ordered payment plan.

C. If the tenant makes all payments in accordance with the court-ordered payment plan, the judge shall dismiss the unlawful detainer as being satisfied.

D. If the tenant fails to make a payment under the court-ordered payment plan or to keep current any monthly rental payments to the landlord as contracted for in the rental agreement within five days of the due date established by the rental agreement, the landlord shall submit to the general district court clerk a written notice, on a form provided by the Executive Secretary, that the tenant has failed to make payments in accordance with the plan. A copy of such written notice shall be given to the tenant in accordance with § 55.1-1202.

The court shall enter an order of possession without further hearings or proceedings, unless the tenant files an affidavit with the court within 10 days of the date of such notice stating that the current rent has in fact been paid and that the landlord has not properly acknowledged payment of such rent. A copy of such affidavit shall be given to the landlord in accordance with § 55.1-1202.

The landlord may seek a money judgement for final rent and damages pursuant to subsection B of § 8.01-128.

E. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit (i) the landlord from filing an unlawful detainer for a non-rent violation against the tenant while such tenant is participating in the Program or (ii) the landlord and tenant from entering into a voluntary payment agreement outside the provisions of this section.

2019, cc. 355, 356, § 55-248.40:3.

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