Virginia Termination for Nonpayment of Rent and Other Rent Rules

Learn Virginia rent rules, including notice landlords must give tenants to raise the rent or end the tenancy for nonpayment of rent.

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Your lease or rental agreement should spell out your landlord's key rent rules, including:

  • the amount of rent (there are no limits to how much a landlord can charge in Virginia since there are no communities with rent control in the state)
  • where rent is due (such as by mail to the landlord's business address)
  • when rent is due (including what happens if the rent due date falls on a weekend date or holiday)
  • how rent should be paid (usually check, money order, cash, and/or credit card)
  • the amount of notice landlords must provide to increase rent
  • the amount of any extra fee if your rent check bounces, and
  • the consequences of paying rent late, including late fees and termination of the tenancy.

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.

Virginia Rules on Late Fees

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).)

Virginia Rules on Service Fees for Bounced Checks

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).)

Notice Virginia Landlords Must Give Tenants to Increase Rent

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.

Rent Increases as Retaliation or Discrimination

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).)

Virginia State Laws on Termination for Nonpayment of Rent

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).)

Virginia Landlord-Tenant Law Resources

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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