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January 3, 2024

How Much Can a Landlord Raise Rent in Virginia in 2024?

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In the United States, every state defines its laws and regulations. Every state has its rent regulations formulated in accordance with subsets of apartments. The idea is to monitor affordable housing and keep people from going homeless and broke. Safeguard your assets and financial interests with the ideal Virginia landlord insurance coverage for your property.

However, Virginia has no rent stabilization or rent control laws. There is a state ban on rent control, governed by VA Stat. § 55.1-1200. This enables landlords to set rent and increase it across the state, given that they provide proper notice.

On the other hand, the landlord can increase the rent with certain discretions, as much as they wish, and whenever they want. So, let's find out:

- What do these terms mean?

- What are the exceptions?

- What are the limitations? 

These questions will help us understand the rights of both tenants and landlords in Virginia.

What is rent control?

Rent control, or rent regulation, usually refers to laws and ordinances limiting how much a landlord can increase rent in a given period and set conditions for when and how much they can raise rents. Such regulations are set to make housing affordable by imposing price controls. ‍There are generally two types of rent regulation:

  • Eviction control
  • Price control

Both require landlords to limit their rates for tenants based on factors such as salaries and inflation. Eviction controls specify criteria under which tenants cannot be evicted, whereas price controls define how landlords can increase rent. Controlling the eviction rates is often difficult due to constant changes in housing markets; therefore, wage-related regulations are more common.

Rent control is more common in cities where competition for limited housing stock raises market-rate prices out of reach for these residents.

According to the National Multifamily Housing Council’s website, rent control is not applicable in all United States. For example, some states have neither rent control nor premonitions, including the following:  Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Ohio, Maine, Hawaii, Delaware, Alaska, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Related Reading: What Does Landlord Insurance Cover?

When Can a Landlord Raise Rent in Virginia?

A landlord can raise rent in Virginia upon the termination of a lease period. A landlord must give a 30-day written notice of the increase. If a tenant objects to the new rent amount, they have the right to vacate the unit within that 30-day period.

How Much Can a Landlord Raise Rent in Virginia in 2023?

Unfortunately, Virginia has no law control or rent stabilization laws like in other states. Hence the state fails to regulate or intervene on how much a landlord can raise the rent in Virginia. According to the CoStar data from the Virginia Realtors multifamily rental housing report, rents in key cities in Virginia have gone up over the past 6 and 12 months. Northern Virginia, for example, saw a 13% rent increase over the past 12 months, and Richmond saw a 10.7% rent increase.  The median Fair Market Rent in Virginia is $1,009 for a 2-bedroom home in 2023.

In short - The state of Virginia does not provide a limit to rent increases.  

Source: HUD Fair Market Rents Documentation System FY 2023

How Can You Have Fixed Rent in Virginia?

In Virginia, landlords are not legally required to offer fixed rent, but they can choose to do so if they wish. A fixed rent agreement would specify a set amount for the rent that will not change for a certain period of time, usually a year. The agreement would be set in a lease contract between the landlord and tenant.

To have fixed rent, the landlord and the tenant will have to agree on a specific amount for the entire term of the lease, usually one year. Once the lease is signed, the rent will not be increased during the lease term.

It's important to note that even if a landlord agrees to a fixed rent, they can still increase the rent when the lease is renewed, or if a new tenant moves in.

When Can an Increase in Rent Become Illegal?

Certain situations classify the rent hike as illegal in the state of Virginia. Those are:

In Virginia, there is no state-mandated limit on how much a landlord can raise rent, but the increase in rent must be considered reasonable and the landlord must provide advance notice before increasing the rent. However, there are certain circumstances in which a rent increase may be considered illegal in Virginia.

  1. Discrimination: A landlord cannot increase rent based on the tenant's race, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability. This is considered illegal discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.
  2. Retaliation: A landlord cannot increase rent as a form of retaliation against a tenant for exercising their legal rights, such as complaining about a repair issue or organizing with other tenants.
  3. Breach of contract: A landlord cannot increase rent during the lease term if it is prohibited by the lease agreement. When signing the lease for a year, the tenant and landlord agree on the rent. The lease document indicates that the rent will remain the same until the end of the lease term. In this scenario, the landlord has to wait for the lease term to end and cannot increase the rent.
  4. Excessive increase: A rent increase is considered excessive if it is significantly higher than the average rent for similar properties in the area.

Tenants who believe their landlord has raised their rent illegally can file a complaint with the housing department or seek legal assistance.

The legal rights include:

By making a complaint to any governmental agency regarding certain conditions in the building. Such as health inspectors, building inspectors, fire departments, or any other regulatory body for lousy living conditions.

By joining any tenant union. Suppose the landlord is uncomfortable with the tenant joining any union and retaliates against it. However, it is the legal right of the tenant to join any tenant union.

Use rent money to fix any defects in the rental unit. The tenant can use the rent money for these fixes when the landlord has failed to comply with the fixes, resulting in terrible living conditions, health hazards, or safety hazards.

Related Reading: How Much Does Landlord Insurance Cost?

Is There a Certain Limit to Rent Increment?

Again, no! The landlord can increase the rent as much as they intend to. However, this can cause a loss of income in the future.

If tenants find the rent unreasonable, they are likely to move out when they find something within the budget. However, since the rent is high, conflicting with the space and location, there are chances to have new tenants any time soon.

When the old tenants leave, it's a loss of income for the landlord. That's because the property will stay vacant until someone comes along and agrees to the hiked rents.

The Rent Increase Notice

A majority of jurisdictions require landlords to send an official rent increase notice to raise the price of rental units. This notification must detail the new price, as well as when it takes effect. In Virginia, the amount of time that must be given depends on:

  • The property type
  • Lease type
  • Rent increase

In Virginia, landlords are required to provide advance notice before increasing the rent. The notice is typically given 30 days before the rent increase takes effect. The notice must inform the tenant of the amount of the rent increase and the date it will take effect.

It's important to note that if the lease agreement does not specify the notice period, the landlord is supposed to give at least 30 days notice for a month-to-month tenancy, or 60 days notice for a tenancy with a term longer than one month.

It's also important to note that if the tenant has a lease agreement, the rent cannot be increased during the term of the lease unless the lease specifically allows for it.

It's always a good idea for tenants to keep records of all rent increase notices and any other written communication with their landlord to ensure they are aware of the notice given and when the increase will take effect.

Because local laws may differ, landlords should be aware of the county or city’s landlord-tenant regulations and the other state’s rules to comply.

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    This post is for informational purposes only and does not serve as legal, financial, or tax advice. Consult your own legal, financial, or tax advisor for matters mentioned here. Steadily is not liable for any actions taken based on this information. If you believe any of this information may be inaccurate please contact us.

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