Your lease or rental agreement should spell out your landlord's key rent rules, including:
State laws in Virginia cover several of these rent-related issues, including the amount of notice a landlord must provide to increase rent under a month-to-month tenancy, and how much time a tenant has to pay rent or move before a landlord can file for eviction.
Rent is legally due on the date specified in your lease or rental agreement (usually the first of the month). If you don't pay rent when it is due, the landlord may begin charging you a late fee. Virginia landlords can charge a late fee only if the late fee is noted in the written lease or rental agreement. Late fees can't be more than 10% of the rent or 10% of the remaining balance due and owed by the tenant (whichever is less). (Va. Code § 55.1-1204 (2023).)
Under Virginia law, landlords can charge a bounced check fee of up to $50. If the landlord has to sue the tenant for the bounced check, the landlord can receive the face amount of the check, interest, any bad check return fee charged by the bank, the late fee, and reasonable attorneys' fees. (Va. Code § 8.01-27.1 (2023).)
For month-to-month rentals, Virginia landlords must typically provide 30 days' notice to change the rent or another term of the tenancy. (Va. Code §§ 55.1-1204, 55.1-1253 (2023).) However, the landlord and tenant may agree on a different notice period in the rental agreement.
If you have a long-term lease, the landlord may not increase the rent until the lease ends and a new tenancy begins—unless the lease itself provides for an increase.
Virginia landlords may not raise the rent in a discriminatory manner—for example, only for members of a certain race. Also, Virginia landlords may not use a rent increase in retaliation against you for exercising a legal right—for example, in response to your legitimate complaint to a local housing agency about a broken heater. (Va. Code §§ 55.1-1258, 55.1-1259 (2023).)
States set specific rules and procedures for ending a tenancy when a tenant has not paid the rent. Virginia landlords must give tenants at least five days in which to pay the rent or move. If the tenant does neither, the landlord can file for eviction. (Va. Code §§ 55.1-1245, 55.1-1250 (2020).)
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) maintains a tenant and landlord resources website that includes links to Virginia's landlord-tenant statutes.
See the Laws and Legal Research section of Nolo for advice on finding and reading statutes and court decisions.
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