Most places, including Virginia, make a landlord responsible for the “habitability” of rental property. This means rental properties must be kept in proper condition to use for their intended purpose. Habitability is an important right for renters, but can be complicated because of details and differences in habitability requirements.
Virginia Implied Warranty of Habitability
In Virginia, the implied warranty of habitability means that a landlord must provide and maintain safe and habitable rental property. “Implied” means the requirement applies whether or not the lease agreement specifically says so and even if the lease tries to waive the obligation.
Examples of clear habitability violations include:
- Exposed electrical wiring.
- A pipe leaking human waste.
- A broken front doorknob that won’t lock.
However, the implied warranty of habitability does not guarantee that anything at the property will be pretty, clean, new or issue-free, so it doesn’t cover things like stained carpet or dents in a wall. It only guarantees basic health and safety.
Landlord Responsibilities in Virginia
Note: Check local city/county laws and ordinances for additional requirements.
|Has To Provide?
|Has To Fix / Replace?
|Air Conditioning / Heating
|Only Heating, In Season
|Only If Provided
|Washer & Dryer
|Only If Provided
|Only Smoke (CO by tenant request)
|Only If Provided
Landlord Responsibilities for Heating & Air Conditioning in Virginia
Virginia landlords must provide seasonal heating for rental properties. They don’t have to provide air conditioning, but they do have to keep it in good working order if it’s provided.
Are Landlords Required to Provide Air Filter Replacements in Virginia?
Virginia landlords don’t have to replace things like air filters, unless required heating equipment won’t work otherwise.
Landlord Responsibilities for Plumbing in Virginia
Virginia landlords must keep plumbing in reasonable working condition, although the renter is usually equally responsible for using the plumbing in a reasonable and sanitary way that doesn’t cause damage.
Are Landlords Required To Provide Hot Water in Virginia?
Virginia landlords must provide and maintain running heated water for rental properties.
Are Landlords Responsible for Fixing Clogged Drains & Toilets in Virginia?
Virginia landlords must fix clogs that keep the plumbing from being in reasonable working condition.
Are Landlords in Virginia Responsible for Fixing Leaks?
Virginia landlords must fix leaks that keep the plumbing from being in reasonable working condition.
Landlord Responsibilities for Kitchen Appliances in Virginia
Virginia landlords don’t have to provide or maintain kitchen appliances such as a dishwasher, stove, oven, microwave, or refrigerator. However, if provided, it’s the landlord’s duty to maintain such appliances in good working order.
Landlord Responsibilities for Electrical Issues in Virginia
Virginia landlords are responsible for making sure there are no electrical issues that endanger basic safety or habitability on the rental property.
Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Light Bulbs in Virginia?
Virginia landlords are not responsible for replacing light bulbs or particular light fixtures, except as needed to maintain provided appliances or services.
Landlord Responsibilities for Garbage Removal in Virginia
Virginia landlords must provide and maintain outside garbage containers and garbage removal services.
Landlord Responsibilities for Landscaping in Virginia
Virginia landlords have no specific obligation to provide landscaping or maintain it with actions like cutting grass. They only have to deal with issues like fallen trees if they interfere with the cleanliness of common areas, violate local codes, or create a hazard to health and safety.
Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Mold in Virginia
Virginia landlords are responsible for most mold issues. They have to treat any rental properties where there’s visible evidence of mold. They also have to provide specific disclosures about the presence and treatment of mold on the property.
Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Pests in Virginia
Virginia landlords are responsible for fixing pest issues the renter didn’t cause, including rats, roaches, mice, bed bugs, and ants.
Landlord Responsibilities for Windows & Window Coverings in Virginia
Virginia landlords have no specific responsibilities relating to windows and window coverings. The landlord has to repair broken windows the tenant didn’t cause, since this is a health and safety issue.
Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Safety Devices in Virginia
Virginia landlords are responsible for providing and maintaining smoke alarms on rental property. They have to give tenants the relevant certificate of inspection, no more than once a year. As an appliance provided by the landlord, smoke alarms must be kept in good working order.
Landlords must also maintain carbon monoxide (CO) detectors, and provide one within 90 days of the tenant specifically requesting it. The landlord can charge the tenant reasonable installation fees for this appliance, but it’s still the landlord’s job to keep it in good working order after installation.
Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Batteries of Safety Devices in Virginia?
Virginia landlords are responsible for replacing batteries of safety devices, as needed to keep such provided appliances in good working order.
Landlord Responsibilities for Doors & Locks in Virginia
Virginia landlords are not responsible by default for providing particular doors or locks, except what’s required for basic health and safety (like broken doors). However, Virginia law does let local governments optionally require specific standards for doors and locks, so this is an area where local law is especially important.
Landlord Responsibilities for Washers and Dryers in Virginia
Virginia landlords are not required to furnish their rental properties with a working washer and dryer. However, if provided, it’s the landlord’s duty to keep such appliances in good working order.
Renter’s Rights for Repairs in Virginia
Virginia renters have the right to repairs for issues that affect health and safety, unless they caused the issue themselves. To exercise their right, the renter must start by notifying the landlord of the issue in writing. The landlord usually gets 14-21 days after notice to fix the issue.
If the issue isn’t fixed within the legally required time, the renter can end the rental agreement, or ask a court to order repairs or compensation, as well as repairing and deducting from rent in some cases. The renter isn’t allowed to unilaterally withhold rent.
- 1 Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1208.A.1 (2023)
- 2 Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1220.A.6 & A.7 (2023)
- 3 Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1220.A.1 - A.4 (2023)
- 4 Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1220.B (2023)
- 5 Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1220.A.5 (2023)
- 6 Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1220.A.8 (2023)
- 7 Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1229.E (2023)
- 8 Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1221 (2023)
- 9 Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1234 (2023)
- 10 Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1234 (2023)
- 11 Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1244.1.B (2023)
- 12 Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1244.1.C (2023)