Tenant Law in Virginia
In Winchester, 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 Winchester, 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.
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 Winchester, VA
The most basic right of a tenant is the right to a living space that's fit for human habitation. This is, after all, what they're paying the landlord to present. Landlords in Winchester, Virginia are under a legal duty to make sure that their apartments are habitable. There are various factors that are considered in deciding if an unit is habitable or not, but, generally, an unit will not be deemed habitable if it lacks any of the following: running water, electricity, heat, and protection from the elements (such as proper insulation, and windows that close).
Furthermore, tenants are entitled to common areas which are reasonably safe and clean, and free of physical obstacles. Areas such as lobbies, hallways, stairwells, and fire escapes must comply with the building codes of Winchester, Virginia. Furthermore, any other unreasonable safety hazard, even if it doesn't violate a specific provision of a building code, can create liability for the landlord if it injures a tenant.
A tenant also has a right, under federal law and the laws of Virginia to be free from discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, or gender. Landlords can also not discriminate against persons with disabilities, and must make reasonable accommodations for those disabilities.
Tenants are also legally safeguarded from unfair eviction. Before a lease agreement expires, landlords cannot evict tenants unless they breach as significant term of the agreement by not paying rent, causing serious damage to the property, engaging in activities that are a nuisance to the other tenants, or engaging in illegal activity on the property, among other things.
Can a Winchester, Virginia Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants almost always prefer to prevent conflict. In a perfect world, tenants would pay rent on time, and landlords would always provide the services that they're being paid for. As we know, the world isn't perfect. When circumstances demonstrate the world's imperfection, a Winchester, Virginia real estate attorney can help, whether you're a landlord or a tenant.