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Illustration abut a tenant in Virginia

Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act: What This Means For You

May 15, 2018

Across the D.C. metro area, dozens of new state and local rules dealing with property management issues, from security deposits and collecting back rent to liability for dog bites, recently became law.

The  Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR) has summarized real estate-related laws that went into effect July 1 in Virginia, with full text available at the Virginia General Assembly’s site. Some key changes include:

  • Residential Landlord-Tenant Act: The act governing rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants now apply to owners of more than two single-family rentals, instead of the previous threshold of more than four homes in cities or 10 homes elsewhere in the state, NVAR wrote.
  • Security Deposits: Revisions to the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act also eliminate interest on security deposits beginning in 2015; previously earned interest must still be paid. Landlords may also charge an administrative fee if a tenant makes a written request for an expedited return of a security deposit. For tenants who do not leave a forwarding address, landlords may dispose of the security deposit to a state fund after a year and 45 days.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms: Landlords are required to install carbon monoxide alarms at the written request of a tenant. Landlords may charge a reasonable fee for installation and must install it according to state code.

In Arlington County, residents have to adhere to a stricter noise ordinance as of July 1. The new law attempts to clamp down on yelling, dog barking, and other noise that may disturb residents, especially from late-night revelers within residential and mixed-use districts such as Rosslyn and Ballston. It also requires developers and owners to mitigate construction noise.

 By Jill S. Gross

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