Tenant-Landlord Laws


tenant landlord laws   The Consumer Affairs Branch provides advice, information, and guidance for tenants and landlords.  Though staff cannot provide legal advice, they can provide guidance to help resolve your complaint. Below is a list of resources to educate you in understanding your rights and responsiblities.

  • It's important the landlord and tenant understand their rights and responsibilities when entering in to a lease agreement.  We have provided a brief overview and links to guide you for additional information.  
  • The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (VRLTA), establishes the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords and applies to ALL apartment rental agreements. In Fairfax County, the VRLTA also applies to single-family, town-house and condominium unit rental agreements, but ONLY if the landlord owns and rents more than four such units, or if the lease agreement specifically references the VRLTA.
  • If you are not covered by the VRLTA, you have fewer choices. The lease should state the full agreement between the tenant and landlord. Also, Chapter 13 - Landlord and Tenant, of the Virginia code applies if the landlord is exempt from the VRLTA, or if there is not a lease agreement. This chapter is referred to as "common law".
  • Chapter 12 of the Fairfax County Code applies to rental agreements for dwelling units located within Fairfax County. Chapter 12 establishes policies that govern relationships between tenants and landlords, and outlines the duties of Consumer Affairs and the Tenant Landlord Commission.
  • On May 20, 2009, a new federal law. Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act was passed to protect tenants in foreclosed rental properties. Virginia Code § 55-225.10 requires a landlord to give written notice to a tenant of a mortgage default, notice of mortgage acceleration, or notice of foreclosure sale relative to the loan on the dwelling unit within five business days after written notice from the lender is received by the landlord.
  • The Fairfax Bar Association has information and resources for landlords.
  • Eviction is the process by which a landlord obtains possession of the rental property by entering a lawsuit against the tenant(s) and receiving judgment from the court directing the tenant(s) to leave the property and pay back any rent, damage claims and costs of the court process. Following are the steps a landlord must take in the eviction process.


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