Tenants' Security Deposit Rights in Virginia
Security Deposit Requirements for Landlords and Tenants
While landlords in Virginia have a right to require their tenants to put down a security deposit before moving into the property, there are specific rules that must be followed. These rules include how much the landlord can collect, how the landlord must store the deposit and how long after a tenant’s move out a landlord has to return the tenant’s deposit. Learn eight basics of a tenant’s security deposit rights in Virginia.
How Much Can Virginia Landlords Charge?
Virginia's landlord tenant law protects tenants by setting a limit on how much a landlord can collect as a security deposit. Landlords may not collect a security deposit amount that is greater than two months’ rent.
Are There Rules for Storing the Security Deposit in Virginia?
All security deposits in Virginia must earn interest at an annual rate that is four points below the Federal Reserve's discount rate as of January 1. Landlords only have to pay this interest to tenants who have been living in the same dwelling for more than 13 months. This interest will be due to such a tenant at the end of tenancy.
5 Reasons You Can Keep a Tenant’s Security Deposit in Virginia
Landlords in the state of Virginia have a right to make deductions from a tenant’s security deposit for the following reasons:
Deductions During Tenancy
If a landlord intends to make a deduction from the tenant’s security deposit during the course of tenancy, they must notify the tenant in writing within 30 days of making the determination. The 30 day notice is waived if the deduction would occur less than 30 days before tenant move-out.
Landlords Required to Keep Security Deposit Records
Virginia landlords must keep security deposit records for all tenants. These records:
- Must itemize any deductions that have been made from the security deposit over the last two years.
- Must be available for the tenant, the tenant’s attorney or the tenant’s authorized agent to view during normal business hours.
Do Virginia Tenants Have the Right to a Walk-Through Inspection?
Tenants in Virginia have the right to be present during the move out inspection.
- The landlord must make reasonable effort to notify the tenant of the tenant’s right to be present at the move-out inspection.
- This notification must be made within five days of a tenant giving the landlord their move-out notice or must be made when the landlord gives the tenant notice to vacate.
- The tenant must then respond in writing if they want to be present during the move-out inspection.
- The landlord must then respond to the tenant notifying them of the date and time of the inspection.
- The inspection should be scheduled no more than three days before the tenant’s move-out date.
- At the actual inspection, the landlord must give the tenant an itemized list of the damages to the unit found during the inspection.
45 Days to Return a Tenant’s Security Deposit in Virginia
In the state of Virginia, landlords must return a tenant’s security deposit within 45 days of tenant move-out and termination of lease. The landlord must return this deposit and accrued interest, less any allowable deductions, along with an itemized written statement which includes:
- The Amount of Security Deposit Returned
- The Accrued Interest
- Deductions for Damages- Type of Damage and Cost to Repair
This notice can be sent to the tenant via certified mail or it can be hand delivered to the tenant by the landlord.
If Damage Exceeds Security Deposit Amount
If the amount of damage exceeds the amount of the security deposit and the damages would need to be fixed by a contractor, the landlord must notify the tenant within the 45 day period of this fact. The landlord would then have an additional 15 days to provide the tenant with an itemized list of the damages and the cost of repair.
What If Virginia Landlord Sells Rental Property?
If the current landlord sells the rental property in Virginia, it is the new property owners’ responsibility to return the security deposit and any accrued interest to the tenant. Anyone buying rental property should make sure the receipt of this security deposit is included as a condition in the contract to buy the property.
What If Landlord Does Not Follow Virginia’s Security Deposit Law?
Failure to follow the terms of Virginia’s security deposit law could result in the tenant being entitled to the return of their security deposit and any accrued interest plus damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
What Is Virginia’s Security Deposit Law?
If you are looking for the original text of the law governing security deposits n the state of Virginia, please consult Virginia Code Annotated§ 55-248.15:1.