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Are you a landlord who wants to rent a commercial or residential property in Virginia? If so, you probably know how important a rental agreement or lease is.

The Virginia lease agreement or Virginia sublease agreement sets the tone for the experience you and your tenant have. Therefore, it must protect your best interests and tell prospective tenants what they need to know before moving into the rental property.

In the rental agreement, you must include the terms you want to uphold for the rental unit, such as landlord-tenant laws and other miscellaneous factors. These include termination fees, pet allowances, and recurring fees. You've also got to follow the rental laws in your state.

The following page outlines everything your legal contract needs to have and offers tips about making the process easier with property management software.

Virginia Lease

A Virginia lease agreement is a contract signed between the prospective tenant and the landlord. This document states all the rules associated with living in the unit, including monthly payments for rent, the security deposit, and other crucial factors.

Generally, Virginia lease agreements have to comply with current rental laws in the state to be legal documents. Those with a Virginia roommate agreement must also abide by those laws.

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Commercial Lease

The Virginia rental laws are similar for a commercial lease and focus on rent payments for the office space. Overall, the landlord may include stipulations for all parties involved.

What to Include

It's often a good idea to have a Virginia rental application for your prospective tenants, which helps the landlord and tenant understand how the property should be used for the set time. An application process, complete with background checks, allows you to make sure you're finding the best tenants for your unit.

Generally, the lease agreement specifies the parties involved, the premises, and how much money is paid during the term. Here are the things the landlord may include in the Virginia lease agreement:

Rent

The Virginia landlord is required to disclose specific information, such as a move-in inspection that details the overall conditions for the premises. This state has no rent control rules. Therefore, the landlord can increase rent with a 30-day written notice.

That also means the Virginia landlord can make rent increases as high or low as they want. However, it's in their best interest to keep the rental contract at a price people can afford in that area.

The tenant can object to the new rent amount and may vacate the unit during that 30-day notice period. If they don't, they could be held on a month-to-month lease and must pay the landlord on a monthly basis until they vacate.

Security Deposit

The security deposits maximum for a Virginia rental can't be more than two months' rent. That is a crucial part of the document because it protects landlords if the tenants lose or damage any real property.

If a landlord chooses to keep any part of the security deposit after the lease term, the money must be used to pay for damages the tenants cause while living on the premises. That can include:

  • Damaged or missing furnishings
  • Stained, discolored, and damaged floors
  • Unreasonable wear and tear from children or pets
  • Painting property a different color than agreed upon
  • Holes and other structural damage to the property
  • Damaged fixtures, such as door knobs, switches, and lighting units

Once the tenant moves out, they must receive the security deposit within 45 days if it wasn't used to fix issues. If some of the money was used for repairs, the tenant must receive the remaining amount.

Lease Termination and Eviction Process

Rental agreements are designed to protect tenant rights and landlord rights. State laws determine how and when landlords can terminate a tenancy.

Landlords can give tenants who repeatedly violate the lease an unconditional quit notice, requiring the tenant to be out in 30 days before filing the eviction. It's often best to work with a law firm if you're unsure how to start the proceedings.

Landlord's Right to Entry

Tenants are required to receive a 24-hour notice before a landlord can enter a Virginia rental unless it follows the person's request for maintenance or repair, such as to the air conditioning unit. This also doesn't apply when there's an emergency within the tenant's unit that must be fixed immediately.

Miscellaneous Rules

Though these may not be part of Virginia law regarding rental agreements, the lease can include various rules for the tenant, such as:

  • Smoking rules
  • Partying rules
  • Pet rules (size, type, number allowed)
  • Loud noise rules
  • Parking rules
  • Others

Generally, landlords can put in whatever they feel appropriate for the residential property.

Mandatory Disclosure

Now you know everything the property owner should include in the lease agreement to notify tenants about rules. Here is a list of required disclosures each contract should have:

  • Landlord's Name and Address - The landlord must provide their address and name for future legal demands and notices sent by the tenant to be delivered. This information is often included in the rental agreement.
  • Move-in Checklist - Virginia law requires a landlord to provide the move-in checklist along with the lease, outlining the condition and inventory of the property. There's a five-day limit, and the tenant gets five days to refute the damages.
  • Mold Disclosure - The landlord must disclose, within the move-in checklist, a report of any visible mold in the rental unit. The tenant may then terminate the tenancy or choose an "as is" condition knowing that mold is there.
  • Shared Utility Arrangements - Landlords must list specifics about how the utilities are split between common areas and tenants. Service fees are permitted if they're disclosed in the lease.
  • Demolition and Displacement - If the tenant might be displaced from the property because of rehabilitation or demolition, this must be disclosed.
  • Military Air Installation - When dwellings are located near military air installations that could cause accidents or disturbances, they must be included. The accident potential zone can change, but the lease must specify the zone for that housing unit.
  • Defective Drywall - This is applicable where the landlord has actual knowledge of issues and must be provided to the tenant before entering into the rental agreement.
  • Methamphetamine Contamination - The landlord must notify tenants of potential methamphetamine contamination for those rental properties, stating that it happened and when.
  • Lead-based Paint - It's a federal law in the US for all homes built before 1978 to include risks posed by any lead-based paint. The tenant should receive a pamphlet detailing the dangers.

Using DoorLoop

Virginia landlords can make it easier to create and organize rental agreements with property management software.

DoorLoop helps you upload your customized legal documents in seconds, auto-filling them with the right information. Plus, you get tenant screening, which happens in one click, handpicking those who should fill out a rental application.

See these features first-hand on a demo of DoorLoop.

FAQs

How long is a lease agreement in Virginia?

A residential lease agreement can only be one year long in Virginia. If it must be longer than that, you need to get it in writing.

Does a lease agreement have to be notarized for Virginia?

No, they do not require notarization in Virginia, though the lease must be signed by one party and meet all requirements to be enforceable.

Can the rental agreement renew automatically in Virginia?

Yes, the landlord and tenant can agree to automatically renew a lease.

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David Bitton

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!