Tenant Law in Virginia
In Burke, Virginia, relationships between tenants and landlords can sometimes become strained.
Both parties to a landlord/tenant relationship are governed by an extensive body of laws and regulations, defining their legal rights and obligations.
Landlord's Rights in Burke, VA
The most basic right that landlords have is the right to be paid the agreed-upon rent by their tenant. Obviously, renting apartments is how landlords earn a living, so they are entitled to collect the rent that the tenant agreed to pay.
Landlords also have a right to be free from damage to the rented unit. Tenants are expected not to damage their dwellings, intentionally or negligently. Landlords can deduct the cost of repairs from the tenant's security deposit. In general, tenants are not liable for damage resulting from ordinary wear and tear.
Tenant's Rights in Burke, VA
Much like landlords have a right to get paid for the service they provide, tenants have a right to get what they pay for: a suitable place to live. In Burke, Virginia, all residential rental agreements carry an "implied warranty of habitability." This means that a landlord implicitly guarantees that any residence he or she rents will be fit for human habitation. In general, an unit will be automatically deemed uninhabitable if it lacks running water, electricity, heat, and adequate protection from the elements. There are many more factors that can be considered, as well, but those are some of the basics.
Additionally, tenants have rights to common areas that are free of physical obstructions, as well as serious health and safety hazards. Common areas are the places in apartment buildings and other residential complexes which every tenant can access, and include hallways, stairwells, and fire escapes. In Burke, Virginia, these areas must be kept in a safe condition, at the landlord's expense.
Tenants also have rights, under federal and Virginia law, to not be victims of racial, ethnic, or gender discrimination in housing, whether they are renting or buying. Furthermore, landlords are not allowed to discriminate against tenants based on physical disabilities. They must also allow physically-disabled tenants to make reasonable modifications to the apartment to make it more accessible. However, the landlord can require tenants to remove those modifications and restore the property to its original condition once the tenant moves out.
Finally, tenants are legally protected from arbitrary eviction. Landlords generally must have a very good reason to evict a tenant before the lease agreement reaches the end of its term (at this point, they are of course allowed to decline to renew the lease). Of course, if the tenant breaches the lease agreement (such as by failing to pay rent, damaging the property, or violating other reasonable rules the landlord has put in the lease), the landlord, like a party to any other contract, is free to terminate the agreement and evict the breaching tenant.
Can a Burke, Virginia Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants usually prefer to avoid getting into fights with one another, for evident reasons. A harmonious relationship is profitable for everyone involved. To that end, the advice of a good Burke, Virginia landlord/tenant attorney can help defuse arguments before they become too serious.