Tenant's rights filter: Virginia. My landlord is making a lot of unreasonable requests. What are my options, and who should I talk to?
July 12, 2012 6:03 AM Subscribe
Tenant's rights filter: Virginia. My landlord is making unreasonable demands. What are my options, and who should I talk to?
posted by _cave to Law & Government (24 answers total)
I found a condo to rent off of Craigslist in Fairfax, VA, and moved into it with my sister last October. Up until now, our landlord has been extremely friendly and accommodating, but we decided not to renew the lease--I'm going to be commuting to Baltimore for work starting this academic year and want to be closer to the metro--and now there are problems.
First, the moving date. Our lease is up in October, and I had planned to move early in the semester for work and help my sister pay rent up through the end of the lease so that she isn't too inconvenienced. He asked us to move in August instead because he had a prospective tenant lined up and wanted to re-sign a lease for a place himself. We've tried to accommodate, and my sister has in fact already signed a lease at another place starting in August. I will hopefully also be able to find a new apartment by the date that we agreed on (over email, we have not signed anything at this point). But it's a huge cost and inconvenience to make the deadline, and he will not allow me to keep so much as an extra piece of furniture in the apartment for a couple of extra days.
The second and more distressing issue is that he recently emailed me and told me that my last two checks had arrived late in the mail, and that he wanted to charge me late fees because of this. Now, on the 6th or 7th of this month (the rent is due on the 1st) he did send me an email asking if I had mailed the rent. I said yes, and then he replied with a 'never mind, it just came today'. I thought that this was not a big deal at all, and didn't know about the previous month's rent either. But he said that since the lease stipulates that the rent must be received by the first, he is going to retroactively charge me fees.
I said (again through email, all of this communication has taken place that way) that this doesn't seem at all fair and he should have told me that he didn't get the check on time when the check failed to arrive so that I could have done something about it. He simply repeated his demands for the late fees.
These sudden changes in his attitude have made me worried that this is going to escalate further. I suspect that the tenant that he thought that he had lined up bailed on him, and now he's scrambling to try to figure out how to meet his expenses, but this is a really crappy (illegal?) way to go about it. So like the headline says, what are my rights, and who should I contact?