Tenant Law in Virginia
In Portsmouth, Virginia, it's not easy to be a tenant or a landlord, and relations between those parties can sometimes get testy.
Landlords and tenants have many 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 Portsmouth, VA
The most important and most discernible 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.
Additionally, 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 accountable for normal wear and tear, over which they have little control.
Tenant's Rights in Portsmouth, VA
Tenants, most basically, have a right to a habitable apartment. After all, this is what they're paying for. Portsmouth, Virginia landlords are obligated to see that the units they rent to tenants are fit to be lived in by people. Many various 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 include lobbies, hallways, and stairwells - basically anything that everyone living in an apartment complex has access to. These common areas must meet the building standards of Portsmouth, Virginia, and must not contain any unnecessary safety hazards.
In the United States, and most likely under the rules of Virginia, it is unlawful for renters or sellers of real estate to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, national origin, color, or religion. Doing so can subject a landlord to harsh civil penalties. Furthermore, they cannot discriminate based on physical disabilities, either. Tenants with physical disabilities, who are otherwise qualified to rent an apartment (they are able to pay, have good credit, etc.) are entitled to make reasonable modifications to the apartment to make it more accessible to them, and the landlord generally can't bar a tenant from doing this, as long as the modifications are not too extensive, and are reversible. The landlord can, however, require the tenant to remove the modifications, at the tenant's expense, when they move out.
Finally, tenants in most states have a right to be free from unfair eviction. Typically, lease agreements last for a set period of time, and both parties are bound by that contract. Landlords cannot arbitrarily evict clients while the lease is still in effect.
Can a Portsmouth, Virginia Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants normally prefer to avoid getting into fights with one another, for discernible reasons. A harmonious relationship is profitable for everyone involved. To that end, the advice of a good Portsmouth, Virginia landlord/tenant attorney can help defuse arguments before they become too serious.