How to Report a Landlord in Virginia for Unsafe Living Conditions
August 17, 2023
When a renter in Virginia can’t obtain necessary repairs, before beginning a court case it’s usually possible to file a report with the proper government departments about the unsafe conditions on the property. Code inspectors have the power to order repairs or fine noncompliant landlords.
What Are Considered Unsafe Living Conditions in Virginia?
In Virginia, unsafe living conditions exist when a rental property doesn’t have safe and working:
Hot running water.
Garbage containers and removal.
Required smoke alarms and provided carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
Features that affect health, safety, or habitability.
After receiving a complaint, an inspecting officer might contact the tenant for more information. Then the officer will usually inspect the property and cite the landlord for any code violations.
How Can a Tenant Report a Health or Safety Violation in Virginia Beach?
A tenant in Virginia Beach can report a health or safety violation by calling Code Enforcement at (757) 385-4421 or using the providedonline form. Most issues fall under “Maintenance -> Private Property Concerns.” Select a location, provide issue details and contact information, and submit.
How Can a Tenant Report a Health or Safety Violation in Chesapeake?
A tenant in Chesapeake can report a health or safety violation by calling the Code Compliance Division at (757) 382-2489 or using the providedonline form. Most issues fall under “Property Maintenance Violation.” Provide an address, detail the issue, enter contact information, attach additional information (optional), and submit.
How Can a Tenant Report a Health or Safety Violation in Arlington?
A tenant in Arlington can report a health or safety violation by calling Code Enforcement at (703) 228-3232 or using the providedonline form. Select the “Code Enforcement” category, enter contact information, provide a detailed issue description including specific address, and submit.
What Could Happen to a Landlord After a Complaint Is Made in Virginia?
After a tenant files a complaint about unsafe living conditions in Virginia, an officer may inspect the property. The landlord must fix noted code violations. Otherwise, the landlord could be fined and the local government might file to condemn the property.
“The landlord shall: 1. Comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety; 2. Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition; 3. Keep all common areas shared by two or more dwelling units of a multifamily premises in a clean and structurally safe condition; 4. Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by him.”
“A landlord shall maintain the premises in such a condition as to prevent the accumulation of moisture and the growth of mold and promptly respond to any notices from a tenant as provided in subdivision A 10 of § 55.1-1227. Where there is visible evidence of mold, the landlord shall promptly remediate the mold conditions in accordance with the requirements of subsection E of § 8.01-226.12 and reinspect the dwelling unit to confirm that there is no longer visible evidence of mold in the dwelling unit. The landlord shall provide a tenant with a copy of a summary of information related to mold remediation occurring during that tenancy and, upon request of the tenant, make available the full package of such information and reports not protected by attorney-client privilege. Once the mold has been remediated in accordance with professional standards, the landlord shall not be required to make disclosures of a past incidence of mold to subsequent tenants.”
“A landlord shall: 6. Provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the collection, storage, and removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of dwelling units and arrange for the removal of same; 7. Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable air conditioning if provided and heat in season except where the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat, air conditioning, or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant or supplied by a direct public utility connection.”
“A landlord shall provide a certificate to the tenant stating that all smoke alarms are present, have been inspected, and are in good working order no more than once every 12 months. The landlord, his employee, or an independent contractor may perform the inspection to determine that the smoke alarm is in good working order.”
“Upon written request of a tenant in a dwelling unit, the landlord shall install a carbon monoxide alarm in the tenant’s dwelling unit within 90 days. The landlord may charge the tenant a reasonable fee to recover the costs of the equipment and labor for such installation. The landlord’s installation of a carbon monoxide alarm shall be in compliance with the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.).”
“Except as provided in this chapter, if there is a material noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or a noncompliance with any provision of this chapter, materially affecting health and safety, the tenant may serve a written notice on the landlord specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and stating that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than 30 days after receipt of the notice if such breach is not remedied in 21 days…”
“If (i) there exists in the dwelling unit a condition that constitutes a material noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or with provisions of law or that, if not promptly corrected, will constitute a fire hazard or serious threat to the life, health, or safety of occupants of the premises, including an infestation of rodents or a lack of heat, hot or cold running water, light, electricity, or adequate sewage disposal facilities, and (ii) the tenant has notified the landlord of the condition in writing, the landlord shall take reasonable steps to make the repair or to remedy such condition within 14 days of receiving notice from the tenant.”