Tenant Law in Virginia
In Poquoson, Virginia, it's not simple to be a tenant or a landlord, and relations between those parties can occasionally get testy.
Landlords and tenants have several rights and responsibilities. What follows is a partial list of the rights that landlords and tenants have, and the corresponding duties of the other party.
Landlord's Rights in Poquoson, VA
The most important and most evident right that a landlord has is the right to timely payment of rent from the tenant. This, of course, means that the tenant has a duty to pay rent.
Furthermore, landlords can bill the tenant for any damage they cause to the unit, whether it was intentional or negligent. The costs of repairs for such damage can be deducted from a tenant's security deposit, but it should be noted that tenants aren't liable for ordinary wear and tear, over which they have little control.
Tenant's Rights in Poquoson, VA
Tenants, most essentially, have a right to a habitable apartment. After all, this is what they're paying for. Poquoson, Virginia landlords are obligated to see that the units they rent to tenants are fit to be lived in by people. Many different defects might render an apartment uninhabitable, such as serious infestations and other problems with sanitation, lack of running water or electricity, or failure to provide adequate protection from the outside elements.
In addition to habitable living spaces, tenants also have a right to reasonably safe common areas. Common areas contain lobbies, hallways, and stairwells - essentially anything that everyone living in an apartment complex has access to. These common areas must fulfill the building standards of Poquoson, Virginia, and must not contain any unnecessary safety hazards.
Under federal and Virginia law, tenants are also entitled to protection against discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, marital status, or gender. Such discrimination can lead to grave civil penalties against the landlord. Landlords also cannot discriminate against tenants based on physical disability, and have to make reasonable accommodations for physically disabled tenants. For instance, they have to allow disabled tenants to make minor physical alterations to the unit (at the tenant's expense) to make it more accessible. Now, they don't need to allow the tenants to have the building remodeled. We're just talking about things like installing handrails in the bathroom, and similar things. The landlord can, however, require tenants to restore the apartment to its original condition, at the tenant's expense, once the tenant leaves.
Lastly, 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 Poquoson, 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 reputable Poquoson, Virginia landlord/tenant attorney can help.