Tenant Law in Virginia

In Marion, Virginia, relationships between tenants and landlords can occasionally become strained.

Both parties to a landlord/tenant relationship are controlled by an extensive body of laws and regulations, defining their legal rights and obligations.

Landlord's Rights in Marion, 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 make a living, so they are entitled to collect the rent that the tenant agreed to pay.

Landlords also have a right to be paid for damage to the building that a tenant causes, either intentionally or negligently. All damage caused by a tenant, besides reasonable wear and tear, can be billed, and the landlord can deduct from the tenant's security deposit to pay for repairs.

Tenant's Rights in Marion, 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 reside. In Marion, 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 acceptable protection from the elements. There are numerous more factors that can be considered, as well, but those are some of the basics.

Tenants also have a right to ensure that the common areas of their apartment building are reasonably safe. Landlords are required to make sure that the common areas of their buildings meet Marion, Virginia's building codes, and that there are no conditions that create unnecessary safety hazards. They are obligated to make, at their own expense, the proper repairs.

Under the laws of Virginia, and the United States, discrimination in housing on the basis of race, religion, or gender is strictly prohibited. Moreover, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, landlords must not discriminate against renters on the basis of any physical disability. They also have to permit the renter to make reasonable modifications to their apartment, to make it more accessible. Generally, landlords are only required to allow relatively minor and reversible modifications, and tenants cannot compel them to remodel the building, for example. Also, once the tenant leaves, the landlord can bill the tenant for the costs of restoring the apartment to its original condition.

Lastly, tenants are legally protected from arbitrary eviction. Landlords usually 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 Marion, Virginia Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?

Landlords and tenants generally want to avoid conflict with one another. Nonetheless, conflicts are sometimes unavoidable. If you end up in a major dispute with a landlord or a tenant, a reliable Marion, Virginia landlord/tenant attorney can help.