Sections
Article 1 General Provisions 55-248.2 – 55-248.10:1
Article 2 Landlord Obligations 55-248.11:1 – 55-248.15:2
Article 3 Tenant Obligations 55-248.16 – 55-248.20
Article 4 Tenant Remedies 55-248.21 – 55-248.28
Article 5 Landlord Remedies 55-248.31 – 55-248.38:3
Article 6 Retaliatory Action 55-248.39 – 55-248.40

Terms Used In Virginia Code > Title 55 > Chapter 13.2

  • Action: means recoupment, counterclaim, set off, or other civil suit and any other proceeding in which rights are determined, including without limitation actions for possession, rent, unlawful detainer, unlawful entry, and distress for rent. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
  • appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
  • Application deposit: means any refundable deposit of money, however denominated, including all money intended to be used as a security deposit under a rental agreement, or property, which is paid by a tenant to a landlord for the purpose of being considered as a tenant for a dwelling unit. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • Application fee: means any nonrefundable fee, which is paid by a tenant to a landlord or managing agent for the purpose of being considered as a tenant for a dwelling unit. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • Authorized occupant: means a person entitled to occupy a dwelling unit with the consent of the landlord, but who has not signed the rental agreement and therefore does not have the financial obligations as a tenant under the rental agreement. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • Building or housing code: means any law, ordinance or governmental regulation concerning fitness for habitation, or the construction, maintenance, operation, occupancy, use or appearance of any structure or that part of a structure that is used as a home, residence or sleeping place by one person who maintains a household or by two or more persons who maintain a common household. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • City: means an independent incorporated community which became a city as provided by law before noon on July 1, 1971, or which has within defined boundaries a population of 5,000 or more and which has become a city as provided by law. See Virginia Code 1-208
  • complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
  • continuance: Putting off of a hearing ot trial until a later time.
  • contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
  • counterclaim: A claim that a defendant makes against a plaintiff.
  • damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • discovery: Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
  • dismissal: The dropping of a case by the judge without further consideration or hearing. Source:
  • docket: A log containing brief entries of court proceedings.
  • Dwelling unit: means a structure or part of a structure that is used as a home or residence by one or more persons who maintain a household, including, but not limited to, a manufactured home. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • electronic funds transfer: The transfer of money between accounts by consumer electronic systems-such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and electronic payment of bills-rather than by check or cash. (Wire transfers, checks, drafts, and paper instruments do not fall into this category.) Source: OCC
  • equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
  • escheat: Reversion of real or personal property to the state when 1) a person dies without leaving a will and has no heirs, or 2) when the property (such as a bank account) has been inactive for a certain period of time. Source: OCC
  • escrow: Money given to a third party to be held for payment until certain conditions are met.
  • evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Facility: means something that is built, constructed, installed or established to perform some particular function. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • foreclosure: A legal process in which property that is collateral or security for a loan may be sold to help repay the loan when the loan is in default. Source: OCC
  • Good faith: means honesty in fact in the conduct of the transaction concerned. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • Guest or invitee: means a person, other than the tenant or person authorized by the landlord to occupy the premises, who has the permission of the tenant to visit but not to occupy the premises. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • in writing: include any representation of words, letters, symbols, numbers, or figures, whether (i) printed or inscribed on a tangible medium or (ii) stored in an electronic or other medium and retrievable in a perceivable form and whether an electronic signature authorized by Chapter 42. See Virginia Code 1-257
  • Includes: means includes, but not limited to. See Virginia Code 1-218
  • inhabitants: means with reference to any county, city, town, political subdivision of the Commonwealth or any combination thereof, the natural persons in such county, city, town, political subdivision or combination as shown by the unadjusted United States decennial census last preceding the time at which any provision dependent upon population is being applied or the time as of which it is being construed. See Virginia Code 1-235
  • injunction: An order of the court prohibiting (or compelling) the performance of a specific act to prevent irreparable damage or injury.
  • Interior of the dwelling unit: means the inside of the dwelling unit, consisting of interior walls, floor, and ceiling, that enclose the dwelling unit as conditioned space from the outside air. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • Landlord: means the owner, lessor or sublessor of the dwelling unit or the building of which such dwelling unit is a part. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • lawsuit: A legal action started by a plaintiff against a defendant based on a complaint that the defendant failed to perform a legal duty, resulting in harm to the plaintiff.
  • lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
  • lease agreement: means all agreements, written or oral, and valid rules and regulations adopted under § 55-248. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • lien: A claim against real or personal property in satisfaction of a debt.
  • Locality: means a county, city, or town as the context may require. See Virginia Code 1-221
  • Managing agent: means a person authorized by the landlord to act on behalf of the landlord under an agreement. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • Mold remediation in accordance with professional standards: means mold remediation of that portion of the dwelling unit or premises affected by mold, or any personal property of the tenant affected by mold, performed consistent with guidance documents published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the U. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • Month: means a calendar month and "year" means a calendar year. See Virginia Code 1-223
  • mortgage: The written agreement pledging property to a creditor as collateral for a loan.
  • mortgagee: The person to whom property is mortgaged and who has loaned the money.
  • Notice: means notice given in writing by either regular mail or hand delivery, with the sender retaining sufficient proof of having given such notice, which may be either a United States postal certificate of mailing or a certificate of service confirming such mailing prepared by the sender. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
  • Organization: means a corporation, government, governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership or association, two or more persons having a joint or common interest, or any combination thereof, and any other legal or commercial entity. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • Owner: means one or more persons or entities, jointly or severally, in whom is vested:

    1. See Virginia Code 55-248.4

  • partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
  • Person: includes any individual, corporation, partnership, association, cooperative, limited liability company, trust, joint venture, government, political subdivision, or any other legal or commercial entity and any successor, representative, agent, agency, or instrumentality thereof. See Virginia Code 1-230
  • Person: means any individual, group of individuals, corporation, partnership, business trust, association or other legal entity, or any combination thereof. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • personal property: All property that is not real property.
  • plaintiff: The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
  • Premises: means a dwelling unit and the structure of which it is a part and facilities and appurtenances therein and grounds, areas and facilities held out for the use of tenants generally or whose use is promised to the tenant. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • probate: Proving a will
  • Process: includes subpoenas, the summons and complaint in a civil action, and process in statutory actions. See Virginia Code 1-237
  • Readily accessible: means areas within the interior of the dwelling unit available for observation at the time of the move-in inspection that do not require removal of materials, personal property, equipment or similar items. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • real estate: includes lands, tenements and hereditaments, and all rights and appurtenances thereto and interests therein, other than a chattel interest. See Virginia Code 1-219
  • remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
  • Rent: means all money, other than a security deposit, owed or paid to the landlord under the rental agreement, including prepaid rent paid more than one month in advance of the rent due date. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • Rental application: means the written application or similar document used by a landlord to determine if a prospective tenant is qualified to become a tenant of a dwelling unit. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • Roomer: means a person occupying a dwelling unit that lacks a major bathroom or kitchen facility, in a structure where one or more major facilities are used in common by occupants of the dwelling unit and other dwelling units. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • Security deposit: means any refundable deposit of money that is furnished by a tenant to a landlord to secure the performance of the terms and conditions of a rental agreement, as a security for damages to the leased premises, or as a pet deposit. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • service of process: The service of writs or summonses to the appropriate party.
  • State: when applied to a part of the United States, includes any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands. See Virginia Code 1-245
  • statute: A law passed by a legislature.
  • subpoena: A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
  • summons: Another word for subpoena used by the criminal justice system.
  • Tenant: means a person entitled only under the terms of a rental agreement to occupy a dwelling unit to the exclusion of others and shall include roomer. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • Tenant records: means all information, including financial, maintenance, and other records about a tenant or prospective tenant, whether such information is in written or electronic form or other medium. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • Town: means any existing town or an incorporated community within one or more counties which became a town before noon, July 1, 1971, as provided by law or which has within defined boundaries a population of 1,000 or more and which has become a town as provided by law. See Virginia Code 1-254
  • trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
  • United States: includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States Virgin Islands. See Virginia Code 1-255
  • Utility: means electricity, natural gas, water and sewer provided by a public service corporation or such other person providing utility services as permitted under § 56-1. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • Visible evidence of mold: means the existence of mold in the dwelling unit that is visible to the naked eye by the landlord or tenant in areas within the interior of the dwelling unit readily accessible at the time of the move-in inspection. See Virginia Code 55-248.4
  • writ: A formal written command, issued from the court, requiring the performance of a specific act.
  • Written notice: means notice given in accordance with § 55-248. See Virginia Code 55-248.4