Paycheck Chronicles

New Landlord-Tenant Laws in Virginia

The Virginia State Legislature has made a few changes to the Landlord-Tenant laws in Virginia and those new changes are effective as of July 1st.  The most important change is a requirement that landlords notify their tenants, in writing, if the mortgage on the rented property has gone into default or if a pending foreclosure notice has been received.

In the past, renters have been surprised to discover that their rented home has been subject to foreclosure proceedings.  If properly applied, this change will benefit renters greatly.  The potential problem is that most landlords aren't familiar with the landlord tenant laws, and it seems likely that some landlords won't adhere to this new law.  When facing a foreclosure, the landlord is probably dealing with multiple problems at one time and talking to the tenants might be the last thing on their mind, or that they want to do.

You can read the complete changes to the law at HB 2080.

Regardless of what state you live in, there are some common thoughts on foreclosure and tenancy:

How can a renter protect themselves from a surprise eviction due to a landlord's mismanagement?  First, keep an eye on the mail and the local papers.  Foreclosure proceedings are published in the newspapers, and foreclosure notices may be sent to the property address.  If you have reason to suspect that your landlord might be facing foreclosure on your home, call your local courthouse and ask them how to check.

What if you discover that your landlord is facing legal action?  Check with an attorney who works in your area.  One possible choice is to make your rent payments into an escrow account held with a third-party (someone other than you or your landlord.)  This way, the payments are still being made, but you aren't just handing the money over to a landlord who isn't paying the bills.

For links to state specific information, see What If Your Landlord is Foreclosed Upon?

Also, be aware that the military does pay for moves due to landlord foreclosure.  See Some Relief for Military Renters for more information.

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