Virginia Landlord Retaliation Laws

Virginia Landlord Retaliation Laws

Last Updated: August 17, 2023

Tenant Protected Actions
  • Health/Safety Complaints to Gov’t
  • Complaints to Landlord
  • Participation in a Tenant Organization
  • Testifying Against the Landlord
Landlord Retaliatory Actions
  • Raising Rent
  • Decreasing Services
  • Filing/Threatening Eviction or Lawsuit
Penalties for Retaliation
  • Repossess Property
  • Sue for Damages

When Is It Illegal for Landlords to Retaliate in Virginia?

It’s illegal for Virginia landlords to retaliate with raised rent, reduced services, or threatened eviction against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions:

  • Complaining to the government about health and safety issues on the property.
  • Complaining to the landlord about failure to comply with legal requirements.
  • Participating in a tenant organization.
  • Testifying in a court case against the landlord.

The law allows an exception when the landlord has good-faith reason for the alleged retaliatory action. For example, a landlord who raises rent reasonably according to local market values isn’t retaliating. It’s the tenant’s burden of proof to establish the landlord’s retaliatory intention.

What Can Tenants Do in Response in Virginia?

Virginia tenants can respond to landlord retaliation by suing for quiet enjoyment of the property. A successful retaliation claim is also a defense against eviction. In either case, the tenant can recover monetary damages from the landlord.