H&M lawyers handle all types of rental matters, from negotiations of original leases and drafting amendments and renegotiations, to evictions or complex litigation for damages or breach of contract disputes.
Additionally, our firm focuses its practice on several related areas of the law, including collections, construction litigation and contract review, and community association law, to provide clients with a comprehensive set of services to meet a variety of needs related to real property in Virginia.
Most residential rental properties in Virginia are covered by specific laws set out in the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (VRLTA), housed in Sections 55-248.2 to 55-248.40 of the Virginia Code. This Act establishes the framework for the landlord-tenant relationship in residential leases, and sets laws governing the rights, regulations, and obligations of both landlords and tenants. Commercial leases normally contain a few provisions similar to those found in the VRLTA, but are primarily governed by the terms of the lease itself, which then determine the rights and obligations of the commercial tenant and landlord. In either scenario, Virginia courts can enforce these rights and duties, and an experienced landlord-tenant attorney can help you achieve a fair and just outcome to your rental property issues.
Virginia Landlord Representation
Whether you own one residential rental property or manage a multi-unit professional office complex, there are many reasons to consult an experienced Virginia landlord-tenant attorney to ensure your rights are protected, from your initial screening of potential tenants, to an unfortunate eviction process or suit for damages for breach of the lease and damage to property.
H&M’s representation of landlords in Northern Virginia includes:
• Review of leases and rental applications to ensure compliance with all state and local laws and to incorporate all required provisions (and to ensure that a lease does not include provisions that are forbidden under Virginia law), or drafting of new leases which can offer protection of landlord rights and effective allocation of costs of breach;
• Working with commercial property managers and leasing agents to prepare appropriate contract language and terms for commercial leases;
• Review of a Landlord’s “Failure-to-Pay” or “Pay-or-Quit” notices, to ensure compliance with Virginia regulations for appropriate notice;
• Negotiation of modification of lease terms or duration of leases;
• Review of procedures for entry into residential or commercial rental property;
• Filing legal paperwork to protect a landlord’s financial interests when tenants refuse to pay rent or refuse to vacate a premises;
• Review of proper deductions from security deposits, and proper handling of security deposits to comply with Virginia law;
• Filing suits for Unlawful Detainer and requests for Writs of Possession in all Northern Virginia courts (more commonly known as an eviction proceeding);
• Pursuit of claims against defaulting tenants in bankruptcy court;
• Protection of a landlord’s rights for recovery of damages due to tenant breaches of the lease and recovery of amounts which may exceed the security deposit, either by litigation or other allowable means under Virginia law; and
• Defense against suits brought against landlords by disgruntled tenants.
Hartsoe & Morgan attorneys work with our landlord clients to educate them on the landlord-tenant laws of Virginia, including timeframes for service of particular types of notice, appropriate terms for leases and rental applications, and we offer experienced representation in litigation matters.
Virginia Tenant Representation
Both commercial and residential property owners have substantial rights when renting real property in Virginia; however, they also have varying levels of responsibility to maintain rental property in a certain condition, and to deal with tenants in a reasonable and professional manner. When landlords violate any of the terms of their lease, or fail to abide by the requirements of Virginia law, tenants have a right to recover damages, and should seek counsel of an experienced landlord-tenant lawyer to determine their rights and options under Virginia law.