Michele - Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Some landlords feel that self-managing will be easy! All they need to do is have tenants deposit rent into their account and put a home warranty in place. Wow! That is definitely not all there is to it!
The standard lease in our area is 14 pages long and we usually add two or three addendums and a handbook. Only 3 paragraphs in the lease are related to rent collection and late rent. Only 1 paragraph in the lease references the landlord’s responsibility for maintenance. There is so much more to the lease. On top of the lease, there is so much more to the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act (VRLTA).
Yesterday, I got a call from a friend of a friend who self-manages a property outside of our area. This landlord asked about Fair Housing Laws and whether he needed to accept an application where the applicant was enrolled in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. While I could not provide him with legal advice, I sent him a link to section of the VRLTA that applied and let him know that he’d need to consult an attorney if he had any specific questions regarding the law.
As the conversation continued, I realized that there were several other Virginia requirements th...
Michele - Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Each year, the General Assemble passes several bills that directly impact landlords through an update of the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act (VRLTA). This year, an unusually high number of new laws will become effective July 1st. Here is a quick summary that landlords should be aware of. Please contact our office (Michele at 703-590-8109) if you have any specific questions about how your lease or rental property may be impacted.
- Late fees capped – late fees are now capped at 10% of the monthly rent or 10% of the total balance due, whichever is less. This law was pushed forward on an emergency basis and has already taken effect.
- Landlords can accept damage insurance instead of a security deposit – this has been a popular option in other states. Our staff will fully research available policies, coverages, and limitations so that we can advise our landlord clients.
- Tenant Remedy by Repair – This bill was originated by the Poverty Law Center to protect tenants from slumlord practices. Tenants will be allowed to make repairs and deduct the cost from their rent IF AND ONLY IF the repairs impact healthy, safety, or habitability and the landlord does not take action in 14 days...
Michele - Thursday, May 14, 2015
In Virginia, if a landlord owns only one rental property, the owner may choose to lease that property subject to Common Law or subject to the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act (VRLTA). While the landlord does have that choice, at RPM Direct, it is our policy to prepare all leases subject to the VRLTA.
There are many differences between the two options, both of which do provide fair protection to both parties. The primary reasons that we’ve decided to use the VRLTA lease exclusively are related to the late payment of rent and the eviction process:
Under Common Law, when a 5-Day Pay or Quit Notice is posted on the tenant’s door, if the tenant decides to “Quit” or leave the property rather than to pay the past due rent, the lease is automatically terminated and no further rent is due from the tenant to the owner. Under VRTLA, when a 5-Day Notice of Material Non-Compliance is posted, even if the tenant leaves the property, he or she is still financially responsible for payment of rent through the remainder of the lease term, subject to the owner’s duty to attempt to find a replacement tenant.
Under Common Law, once the eviction (unlawful d...
Michele - Saturday, July 5, 2014
Over the past decade, numerous provisions have been added to Virginia Law to protect tenants against the impacts of mold in a residential property. The standard leases used by Realtors in our area, and the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act, (VRLTA) allows tenants to reject/cancel their lease without penalty if they see visible evidence of mold in the property within 5 days of lease start date. The VRLTA also dictates that landlords and property managers must promptly address any reports of mold and to do so per EPA regulations, including specific timeframes and procedures to be followed.
Often when tenants report a concern of mold, they are actually seeing algae (which grows frequently on decks and siding) or mildew (which grows easily in tubs and showers). In order to comply with the law and to guard against a costly mold remediation job that could have been addressed at an earlier stage, we will promptly respond to any reported concern of mold, determine if the reported growth is actually mold, and take action to remediate if needed. Since the costs associated with any litigation related to mold can be astronomical, taking immediate steps which include the cost of a professional opinion are required to manage risk and to protect ...
Michele - Sunday, June 17, 2012
Unlike other utility bills that remain the responsibility of the tenant, final water bills can end up as a lien on a landlord's home if they are not paid promptly by the tenant. A new Virginia Law, which goes into effect on July 1st seeks to reduce the impact on landlords by requiring tenants to pay a $250 deposit when setting up a new water service account. This deposit will then be applied to the final bill, greatly reducing the number of unpaid final bills and therefore greatly reducing the number of liens on properties.
While the new law has a positive benefit for landlords, new tenants are already expressing concerns about having to provide a $250 deposit to initiate their water service along with all the other costs of moving into a new home.
Click here to see more information from PWCSA on their implementation of the new law. Other local water authorities have similar new procedures.