The Virginia lease agreement is a legally binding document that regulates the rights and obligations of the person who owns a property (the landlord or lessor) and the person who wants to rent it (the tenant or lessee).
The landlord's main obligation is to enable the tenant to access and use the leased property without being disturbed. On the other hand, the tenant must pay the rent by the due date specified in the lease agreement.
Before concluding a lease agreement, the landlord will ask the potential tenant to submit a rental application and pay a fee (if applicable). The rental application contains personal information about the potential tenant, his credit score, and references from previous landlords.
Virginia Lease Agreement Required Disclosures
The following disclosures are required by both federal and state law and must be included in every lease agreement in the state of Virginia:
Lead-based paint disclosure. The landlord must inform the tenant whether there is lead-based paint on the property if it was built before 1978.
Defective drywall disclosure. The landlord of the residential unit must notify the tenant of defective drywall that has not been repaired. (§55.1-1218)
Property previously used to manufacture methamphetamine. If the property was once used as a methamphetamine lab and wasn't cleaned as required, the landlord must disclose this to the tenant. (§55.1-708)
Military air installations disclosure. The landlord must disclose to the potential tenant that the property is located in a zone of increased noise or potential accidents because of the military air installations' close proximity. (§55.1-1217)
Mold disclosure. The lessor must disclose whether there are mold-affected areas on the property. (§55.1-1215)
Move-in Checklist. The landlord must send a written report to the tenant within five days of the tenant moving into a dwelling unit. The report must list all the damages to the dwelling unit at the time of occupancy. (§55.1-1214)
Notices. The contracting parties can send each other all notices in electronic form, but this must be defined in the lease agreement. (§55.1-1202(A))
Planned Demolition. If the landlord plans to demolish the leased property or convert it into a hotel or motel, they are required to send a 180-day written notice to the tenant. (§55.1-1308)
Ratio of Utilities. The landlord must disclose the utility billing system to the tenant when there are several users of utility services on the rented property and there is only one meter for all of them. (§55.1-1212)
Virginia Lease Agreement Optional Disclosures
Although not prescribed as mandatory, the following disclosures will additionally protect the rights and interests of both contracting parties:
Asbestos disclosure. The lease agreements for properties built before 1981 should include information about any asbestos hazards that may exist there.
Information disclosure. Before signing the lease agreement, the landlord is obliged to provide the tenant with information about the person who can act on behalf of the landlord.
Bed bug disclosure. If there was a bed bug infestation at the leased property in the past, the landlord shall inform the tenant and provide guidelines on how to act if the said issue occurs again.
Smoking and pet disclosures. These specify whether pets and smoking are permitted on the rented property, as well as what the consequences for violating these obligations are.
Consequences of Non-Disclosure
If the landlord fails to inform the tenant about the defective drywall, the tenant has the right to terminate the contract at any time within 60 days from the day they discovered the problem. In such cases, it is necessary to provide written notice to the landlord. (§55.1-1218(B))
Also, the tenant who has not been informed by the landlord that the rented property is located in a zone of increased noise and potential accidents may terminate the lease agreement at any time within 30 days from the beginning of the lease. (§55.1-1217)
The fine that the landlord can expect if they fail to notify the tenant of a lead-based paint hazard is up to $19,507 (24 CFR § 30.65). Also, if the tenant suffers damage due to the presence of hazardous substances that the landlord did not disclose, the landlord can face legal liability as well.
Virginia Lease Agreement Security Deposits
Security Deposit Maximum
In accordance with Article (55.1-1226 (A)), the landlord can request a security deposit sum that is not higher than the two agreed rents from the tenant.
Security Deposit Return
The deadline for giving back the security deposit is 45 days after the most recent event, whether that was the end of the contract or the tenant moving out. (§55.1-1226(A))
When is Rent Due in Virginia? (Grace Period)
The 1st of the month is the official rent due date. However, the state of Virginia allows tenants a 5-day grace period to pay their rent. (§55.1-1204)
Virginia Rent Late Fees
If the rent isn't paid on time, the landlord can charge a fee of up to 10% of the agreed-upon rent. However, if only part of the rent is paid, the landlord can charge a fine of up to 10% of the remaining rent. (§55.1-1204(E))
Notice: The landlord can charge a fee for late rent payments only if this option was specified in the written lease agreement.
Virginia NSF Checks
A bad check will result in a fee of $50, plus legal interest from the date of the check and any fees the bank charges the holder for returning the check. (§8.01-27.1(B))
Virginia Landlord’s Right to Enter
In the event of an emergency, the landlord is allowed access to the leased property without giving advance notice. In all other non-urgent situations, the landlord is required to provide 72-hour notice before entering the property. (§55.1-1229)
Virginia Lease Agreement FAQ
Yes, lease agreements in Virginia are legally binding, and only one of the parties needs to sign it.
Whenever you draft a leasing agreement, keep the following components in mind:
Information about the parties
Details on the leased property
The lease's duration and renewal terms
The rent amount and payment method
The security deposit requirements
The option of charging a fee for late rent payments
Household regulations, utility expenses, and subleasing
Signatures and the date of signing
Our website provides a template for a variety of leases, be it a commercial, residential, room rental, or any other type of agreement.
You can select and download the agreement based on your needs and the length of time during which you wish to rent a particular property.
The following are some points to keep in mind after creating the lease agreement:
Carefully review the contract to ensure that it is complete and accurate.
Make several copies of the contract so that each party has its own copy.
Notarize a contract for greater credibility.
Inspect and document the property's condition upon moving in.
Notify the landlord of any problems with the property (if you’re a tenant).
Pay the first rent and security deposit (if you’re a tenant).
Hand over the keys to the tenant (if you’re a landlord).