Real Estate Tips |5 min read

North Virginia Real Estate Law: Huge 2023 Changes

The Virginia Landlord-Tenant Residential Act is one of the most critical aspects of Virginia real estate law. Yet many people aren’t aware that this act has changed within the past year. Property managers in North Virginia can give you all the updates. In 2023, policies were changed regarding estimates and repairs after lease termination, lease termination of uninhabitable properties, assistance animals, the statement of tenant rights and responsibilities form, rent increase notices, and summons for unlawful detainer.

Virginia Landlord-Tenant Residential Act: 10 Main Points

Regardless of your location, understanding the local laws that govern rental properties is critical. It is because of this that many investors and landlords turn to the expertise of reputable property managers in Northern Virginia to ensure legal compliance. But if you are wondering what laws may have changed last year, here’s a succinct summary of the North Virginia Landlord-Tenant Residential Act’s main points.

Virginia Landlord-Tenant Residential Act Main Points

Virginia’s Landlord-Tenant Residential Act is the law that deals with many landlord concerns. These include retaliation laws, disclosure laws, rent refusal, and more. Below, you will find a complete list of these sections.

  1. Disclosure: Landlords must disclose certain information, such as a written statement of tenant rights and responsibilities and renter’s agreement, to their tenants within a month of the agreement’s enactment.
  2. Security Deposit: Landlords can only charge a security deposit equal to either two months’ rent or the same-costing damage insurance. The deposit must be returned within 45 days after a tenant moves.
  3. Small Claims: Tenants can sue landlords in small claims court to have their security deposit returned up to $5,000.
  4. Rent Refusal: Tenants can refuse to pay rent if landlords do not address critical complaints.
  5. Eviction: Landlords can evict tenants who do not fix rent violations for 21 days (plus 9 to quit) and evict 30 days after an unfixable violation.
  6. 24 Hours’ Notice: Virginia landlords must provide 24 hours’ notice before they enter the renter’s property unless the renter has requested the landlord come in for maintenance or there is a clear emergency.
  7. Retaliation: Landlords cannot retaliate against tenants for employing their legal rights.
  8. Abandoned Personal Property: Landlords must follow certain protocols when dealing with tenants’ abandoned personal property.
  9. Domestic Violence Survivors: Landlords must provide domestic violence survivors with special protections, such as early termination rights.
  10. Fair Housing: It isn’t new, but it is worth the reminder that landlords must abide by all state and federal fair housing laws.

2023 Changes to VA Landlord-Tenant Laws

The Virginia government changed some renter’s rights and landlord-tenant laws in mid-2023. Landlords should pay attention to altered policies such as mandatory rent increase notices.

1. Post Lease Repair Legislation

These rental laws give landlords an extra 15 days to get estimates and do repairs after a lease ends. Landlords must now give written notice that damages are larger than the security deposit’s amount and will necessitate third-party contractor fixes. This notice must be provided within 45 days after a lease ends. After landlords deliver this notice, they have to provide a rundown of the damages and repair costs. Before June 30th, 2024, they will have 30 days to provide this information. After June 30th, 2024, this 30-day number will change to 15 days.

2. Uninhabitable Dwelling Units

This Virginia real estate law allows tenants to end a lease and be refunded all paid rent and deposits if a dwelling unit is uninhabitable.

If a dwelling poses a fire hazard, life, health, or safety threat, tenants may end a lease through written notice in 7 days. Afterward, landlords have 15 business days to refund all paid funds or provide a written, reasoned refusal to that notice. If they refuse, tenants can escalate the issue in court. Threats could involve rodent infestations, as well as the absence of heat, hot and cold water, or sewage disposal facilities.

3. Rights and Responsibilities with Assistance Animals

Virginia’s new landlord-tenant law makes it illegal for someone to share fake supporting documents of a disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal. Anyone who “suffers a loss” because of a law violation can sue for $500 or the literal number of damages. Receivers of intentional damages can either sue $1,000 or three times the literal damage amount.

4. Statement of Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities Form

This rental law clarifies the rules by which landlords should use the Statement of Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities Form:

  • Failure to Respond: If tenants do not sign their forms, landlords must record this failure to respond, as well as the date on which tenants received the form. Once landlords have done these two things, they have fulfilled the law’s conditions. They can start the unlawful detainer process if desired.
  • After-Rental Signage: After a rental period begins, the landlord may choose to give their tenant the form for signage. However, it is not required.
  • Assumption of Form Currentness: The form is up to date as of the delivery date. Landlords do not need to give tenants the form again whenever it changes.

5. Rent Increase Notice Changes

All landlords must provide written notice of renewal rent increases to tenants if:

  • Tenant can renew their lease.
  • The tenant can automatically renew their lease.
  • Landlord owns over four rental housing units in Virginia.
  • The landlord has over 10% interest in over four housing units.

Landlords must provide tenants with this notice at least 60 days before the tenancy ends.

6. Summons for Unlawful Detainer Guide

The Virginia Supreme Court must make an easy-to-follow layman’s guide that shows defendants how to best understand the Summons for Unlawful Detainer.

Make Sure You Follow the Law with PPM

There are so many Virginia real estate laws that it’s overwhelming for the average person to keep up, let alone a landlord with countless units to maintain. Unless you’re a dedicated real estate attorney, you might be stretched too thin to juggle it all.

But what if you could have all that multitasking taken care of for you? Bay Management Group in Northern Virginia has years of experience navigating legal issues, accounting, financial management, maintenance, property inspections, and more. We know the best practices to solve many issues landlords face daily. Let us handle the hard work of managing tenants so you can spend more time living life. Contact us today to get started!

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