The State of Virginia allows landlords to require a security deposit when tenants move into a rental property in order to protect against future damages or unpaid rent.
There are certain laws which must be followed by both parties in regards to that deposit. Here are the key points about the security deposit law which you'll want to know.
1. Landlords can charge 2 month's rent as a security deposit.
If a landlord charges $750 in rent, then the maximum security deposit allowed would be $1,500.
Requiring renter's insurance and having the premiums paid before moving in is included in this two months' rent maximum amount. Allowing a pet provides landlords the opportunity to charge an extra amount.
2. There is a 45 day deadline to return a security deposit.
This includes any interest that may be due. Any claims made against the deposit must be itemized and sent within this same deadline.
Security deposits begin earning interests after tenants stay in a rental for more than 13 months and is earned at a year rate.
3. Virginia allows for reasonable wear and tear.
As long as it is not damage above wear and tear that has been caused by a tenant living in a rental unit, landlords are not permitted to make a claim.
If your dog chews up some of the wood on a deck or a friend punched a hole in the wall, these would qualify for deductions.
4. Landlords can place certain cost stipulations into a lease.
Virginia allows for a lease to specifically state that cleaning fees will automatically be deducted from the security deposit.
Tenants have the option to not sign this lease and look for housing elsewhere if they do not wish to have this as part of their rental agreement.
5. Tenants can be sued for additional damages, fees, and unpaid rent.
If a security deposit does not cover all costs, then landlords are permitted to sue to recover the remainder of damages that were caused after moving out.
The Virginia security deposit law for landlords and tenants is designed to provide clear boundaries for each party so everyone knows what to expect. For questions about a specific situation, seek out professional legal assistance or read the state statutes thoroughly.
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