Virginia Rental Lease Agreements

The Virginia Rental Lease Agreements form an understanding between a landlord and tenant that the former will receive equal monthly payments in return for the latter’s right to reside in the rental property. The contract will outline numerous pertinent matters, including, but not limited to the amount of rent, utilities, repairs, and guest policies.

Landlords should be mindful that Virginia has a considerable number of mandatory disclosures landlords must make to tenants. Therefore, in order to comply with state laws and avoid legal repercussions, landlords must ensure they disclose any necessary matters to tenants.

Types of Agreements

Commercial Lease Agreement – A landlord who will lease a property for commercial purposes should clearly outline all necessary rights and responsibilities using this particular contract.

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Lease to Own Agreement – This contract encompasses tenant and landlord obligations that when met, allow for the former to purchase the latter’s rental property.

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Month-to-Month Lease Agreement – A lease that spans one (1) month at a time, with the continuation of the lease contingent on neither the landlord nor tenant terminating it.

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Roommate Agreement – A recommended document for roommates to fill out in order to reach a consensus about behavior and conduct when in their shared household.

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Standard Residential Lease Agreement – This contract includes state-specific provisions regarding the rental of a residential property in Virginia.

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Sublease Agreement – A legally-binding document created to establish the rights of parties to a sublease, as well as their respective obligations.

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What is a Virginia Lease Agreement?

A Virginia Lease Agreement represents any provisions that are relevant to the lease of a residential property in the state of Virginia. The agreement states both the parties’ rights as well as their responsibilities to one another. Landlords should ensure they carefully vet tenants prior to signing this contract. This can best be done by using a rental application form.

State Definition (§ 55-248.4) – “means all agreements, written or oral, and valid rules and regulations adopted under § 55-248.17 embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit and premises.”

When is Rent Due?

According to § 55-248.7(C), rent is owed by the tenant as per the terms of the agreement. In most cases, this will mean they must pay the rent at the start of the month in equal installments. The landlord will usually specify where the rent should be paid. Periodic rent must be paid at the start of any term of one (1) month or less. No grace period laws exist in Virginia.

Landlord’s Access

Emergency (§ 55-248.18(A)): A landlord has the right to enter the rental property in emergency situations, however, they may not abuse this right of access or use it to harass the tenant.

Non-Emergency (§ 55-248.18(A)): In order to enter the rental property in non-emergency situations, a landlord must give a tenant notice of their intent to enter and may enter only at reasonable times. If there is routine maintenance the landlord must perform that has not been requested by the tenant, they must give the tenant at least twenty-four (24) hours notice.

Required Disclosures

  • Defective Drywall (§ 55-248.12:2): A landlord who is aware of the existence of defective drywall in the rental property that has not been remediated must provide a prospective tenant with a written disclosure that the property has defective drywall. The disclosure must be provided prior to the execution by the tenant of a written lease agreement. If the parties will enter into an oral lease agreement, the disclosure must be made prior to occupancy by the tenant.
  • Lead Paint Disclosure: If a landlord of a rental property constructed prior to 1978 is aware of any lead paint hazards that are present, they are required by federal law to disclose this information to tenants. They are also required to provide tenants with a copy of a brochure about lead hazards in the home.
  • Military (Air) Zone (§ 55-248.12:1): A landlord must provide a prospective tenant with a written disclosure, prior to the execution of the written lease agreement, if the property is located in a noise zone or accident potential zone, or both, as designated by the locality on its official zoning map. If the parties will enter into an oral lease agreement, the disclosure must be made prior to occupancy by the tenant. The disclosure must “specify the noise zone or accident potential zone in which the property is located according to the official zoning map of the locality.”
  • Move-In Report (§ 55-248.11:1): A landlord must provide a written report to the tenant itemizing damages to the rental property existing at the time of occupancy. The report must be given within five (5) days after occupancy of the rental property. It will be considered correct, unless the tenant objects in writing within five (5) days of receiving it. Pursuant with (§ 55-248.11:2), the landlord must disclose within the report whether there is any visible evidence of mold in areas readily accessible within the interior of the rental property.
  • Planned Demolition or Rehabilitation of the Property (§ 55-248.12(C)): A landlord must disclose in writing to prospective tenants if there is a six (6) month plan that will result in the tenant’s displacement from the rental property. This could be either due to the demolition or substantial rehabilitation of the property or the conversion of the rental property to office, hotel or motel use or planned unit development.
  • Ratio of Utilities (§ 55-226.2): A landlord must clearly state in the rental agreement if a ratio utility billing system is used in the rental property. That is, if a mathematical formula is used for the actual or anticipated water, sewer, electrical, oil, or natural gas billings, this must be disclosed in the rental agreement.

Security Deposit Laws

Maximum (§ 55-248.15:1(A)): A landlord may charge a maximum of two (2) month’s rent equivalent as a security deposit.

Returning to Tenant (§ 55-248.15:1(A)): A landlord must return the security deposit to a tenant within forty-five (45) days after the termination date of the tenancy. If the landlord will make any deductions to the security deposit due to damages or charges, these must be itemized by the landlord in a written notice given at the same time as the remaining security deposit.

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