The Virginia residential lease agreement has been updated with some important new language from the commonwealth of Virginia.
Payment of rent
This section was updated to include the stipulation that payment of rent can be made using electronic funds transfer to an account designated by the landlord.
The addition of a damage insurance coverage option was added to this section. The landlord can now permit a tenant to provide damage insurance coverage instead of providing a security deposit. There are some stipulations for the insurance that must be followed:
- The insurance company must be licensed by the Virginia State Corporation Commission;
- The insurance permits the payment of premiums on a monthly basis, unless the tenant selects a different payment schedule;
- The coverage is effective upon the payment of the first premium and remains effective for the Agreement Term;
- The coverage provided per claim is no less than the amount landlord requires for security deposits;
- The insurance company agrees to approve or deny payment of a claim in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Corporation Commission's Bureau of Insurance; and
- The insurance company shall notify the landlord within 10 days if the damage policy lapses or is canceled.
A landlord is allowed to designate one or more damage insurance companies from which they will accept damage insurance in lieu of a security deposit, but those insurers must be identified in the written lease agreement.
Finally, if a tenant first opts for the damage insurance coverage but then changes their mind, they can at any time revert back to the payment of a security deposit without the consent of the landlord. If the tenant reverts back to the security deposit the landlord is prohibited from changing the terms of the lease.
A significant change in this section is the addition of a repair and deduct option by the tenant if the landlord fails in their responsibilities to maintain the premises in a material way.
The tenant must provide written notice of the condition that creates a material noncompliance by the landlord, and the landlord has 14 days after receiving the notice to make repairs or remedy the situation. If the landlord does not take action within the 14 day period, the tenant can then contract with a third party to make the repairs necessary to remedy the offending condition, and the actual costs incurred by the tenant can be recovered by the tenant. Total costs can not exceed the greater of one month’s rent or $1,500. The tenant is allowed to deduct the actual costs incurred from their rent, but an itemized statement of the costs must be provided by the tenant.
Release of tenant information to third parties
This section adds language about the confidentiality of certain tenant information. Specifically, any information received by the landlord as part of the rental application process (i.e. i.d., SSN, victim info.) shall remain a confidential tenant record and shall not be released to any person except in response to a subpoena.
A tenant may request a copy of their records in paper or electronic form from the landlord. If noted in a rental agreement, the landlord may charge a tenant who requests more than one copy of their records the actual costs of preparing copies of such records. It is important to note that if the landlord makes available tenant records by an electronic portal, the tenant shall not be required to pay for access to such portal.
Please note: Tenants who use LeaseRunner’s Tenant Payment Center are not charged to have access to their account, nor are they charged a periodic account subscription fee. Tenants are welcome to contact customer support to obtain tenant records that they may not have visibility to in their Tenant Payment Center account (i.e. copies of reports that were released by them).
Copies of Agreement; Statement of Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities
Additional language is added to specify that the landlord shall provide tenant(s) with an executed copy of the rental agreement and the statement of tenant rights and responsibilities within one month of the effective date.
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