Presentation on theme: "Landlord/Tenant Rights and Fair Housing Christie Marra Staff Attorney in Housing Family, Child Welfare Law Virginia Poverty Law Center Deanna Lavery and."— Presentation transcript:
Landlord/Tenant Rights and Fair Housing Christie Marra Staff Attorney in Housing Family, Child Welfare Law Virginia Poverty Law Center Deanna Lavery and Brandi Payne Fair Housing Specialists Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia (c) HOME 2012
Disclaimer (c) HOME 2013 The information provided today is not legal advice, and no attorney/client relationship arises from this presentation. The presentation is meant to cover basic housing counseling information and not provide advice about specific situations. Legal Aid Justice Center Richmond: 804-643-1086 Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Richmond: 804-344-9857
Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities (c) HOME 2013
Rentals: The New Reality (c) HOME 2013 Homeownership is down, rentals are booming Minority groups and the youth are becoming the majority Economic decline has led to new techniques about building long term wealth
What is a Lease? A lease agreement is a legally binding contract between a tenant and a landlord. The lease contains all of the agreed upon rules and provisions that will govern both the tenant and the landlord during the term of the lease. ***Sometimes leases will include rules that are listed in a separate document without including the actual document in the lease***
Lease: A Legal Document Apartment Rules Repairs Notice Subleasing Rent Security Deposit Utilities Length Of Lease (c) HOME 2013
Tenant Rights in Virginia (c) HOME 2013 Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act Applies to: Multi-family housing (any unit that shares an essential service with another unit). Hotels, motels, and rooming houses if the tenant is renting for more than 90 days. Does not apply to: Single-family residences located in counties when the landlord owns less than 10 single-family rental properties (small landlords). Single-family residences located in cities or certain suburban counties when the landlord owns less than four single-family rental properties.
Rental Fees (c) HOME 2013 Application deposit: o Separate from security deposit and application fee o If applicant does not rent the unit, application deposit must be refunded minus the actual expenses for the landlord Application fee: o Separate from security deposit and application deposit o Nonrefundable o Includes out-of-pocket expenses paid by landlord to run credit and criminal background check, etc. PLUS $50 (or $30 if subsidized housing) Security deposit: o May not be more than two months rent o Landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant, minus any allowable deductions, within 45 days of end of lease o Landlord must provide written notice to tenant of deductions from the security deposit with an itemization of damages, deductions, charges, etc. along with any refund.
Repairs Always write a request and send it certified mail! Make a copy of your request to keep. Give the landlord a reasonable amount of time UNLESS the problem threatens health or safety! If no response, file a tenants assertion at the General District Court. In order to file a tenants assertion in court, you must be paid up on your rent
Access to the Premises (c) HOME 2013 Tenant may not withhold consent for landlord to enter in order to perform inspections, make repairs Landlords must provide 24 hours notice of maintenance that has not been requested by tenant No notice is required to the tenant for an emergency repair
Mold (c) HOME 2013 Mutual responsibility of tenant and landlord At initial inspection landlord must disclose visible evidence of mold o Tenant may choose to terminate tenancy o If tenant chooses to stay, landlord must remediate mold Both tenant and landlord must try to prevent mold Tenant must notify landlord in writing of visible evidence of mold Landlord must promptly respond to notice of mold growth
Legal Evictions (c) HOME 2013 A tenant can be lawfully evicted for two reasons: o Rent is not paid on time o Tenant has committed a serious violation of the rules or has repeated minor violations In order to evict for nonpayment of rent: o Landlord will give tenant a 5 Day Pay or Quit Notice. o If rent is not paid by the 5 th day, Landlord then files an unlawful detainer in court o Once every twelve months, a tenant can stop an eviction by paying everything sued for (rent, late fees, courts costs, attorneys fees) on or before the first court date (return date) In order to evict for breaking the rules: o Landlord must send a notice of the rule violation and give the tenant a chance to cure o If tenant doesnt cure, Landlord then files an unlawful detainer in court Attend court date! A Landlord cannot: Set his/her own eviction date, change locks, turn off power/water, put possessions out of the home
Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure (c) HOME 2013 The new homeowner must honor the lease until the end of the lease term (includes bank-owned). HOWEVER if the homeowner will be occupying the property as primary residence: o The lease can terminate before the end of the lease term only if tenant is provided 90 days notice. o The 90 days notice still holds even if there is no formal lease or lease is month-to-month. This includes honoring Section 8 vouchers
Fair Housing Laws Fair Housing Laws consist of both state and federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate in the rental, sale, financing or insuring of a home based on a persons membership of a protected class. (c) HOME 2013
New demographics (c) HOME 2013 By 2040, White minority (PEW Research Center) 2012: births of children of color outnumbered births of White children (U.S. Census) African American and Latino families still suffer from unequal access to credit, housing opportunity Overall switch to urban living
Age Wave (c) HOME 2012 Rapidly aging Baby Boomer generation More long-term care needs, aging in place, low- maintenance living Ease of rental, need for accessible rental housing Disability accommodation and modification has increased in necessity
Fair Housing Laws: Protected Classes Race (any race) Color (any color) Religion (any religion or no religion) National Origin (any nationality or perception of being from another country) Sex (gender) Familial Status (children under 18, adults securing custody of children, or pregnant women) Persons with Disability Elderliness (55 years or older) (c) HOME 2013
Many characteristics are not protected under Fair Housing Laws. In Virginia, it is legal to discriminate in housing based on any of the following: Sexual Orientation Criminal History Poor Credit Source of Income Pet Owners Smokers (c) HOME 2013
What types of Housing is Covered? Apartments Condos Single-Family Homes Dormitories Shelters Mobile Homes Or Lots
Fair Housing: Disability (c) HOME 2013 Disability under fair housing laws Physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities Having record of such impairment Being regarded as having impairment
Fair Housing: Disability (c) HOME 2013 Reasonable Accommodation is a change in a policy, procedure, or rule that allows tenant to fully use and enjoy housing o Designated parking space o Service animal
Fair Housing: Disability Reasonable Modification is a structural change, usually at tenants cost, that will allow tenant to fully use and enjoy o Grab bars o Wheelchair ramp
How to Request a Reasonable Accommodation or Modification (c) HOME 2013 RA/RM are not required to be in writing, but it is recommended Not required to use the phrase reasonable accommodation or reasonable modification
How to Request RA and/or RM (c) HOME 2013 1.State that you have a disability (not required to disclose nature/severity) as defined by the Fair Housing Act. 2.State where you live & who is responsible for your building or home. 3.Describe the policy that is a problem and how it interferes with your use of the housing.
4.Clearly describe the change you are seeking 5.Ask for written response within certain time frame 6.Sign and date the request 7.Keep a copy for your records *If request is denied, contact a fair housing professional* How to Request RA and/or RM (c) HOME 2013
Is This a Fair Housing Issue? (c) HOME 2013 Is there a disability? – Narrow down whether and how the disability affects daily life activities. – Ask about persons history of having a disability and how people perceive the person. – How does housing provider know about the disability? Do other residents have a similar problem? Does this individual belong to a protected class AND does the housing provider intentionally or unintentionally treat this person differently because of his/her protected class? Do rules or policies have a specific and limiting impact on an individual who belongs to a protected class?
How can HOME Advocate? Assist in filing a VFHO complaint. Analyze each individual case and help complainant determine best course of action. Provide referrals to pro bono attorneys to represent claimants in meritorious individual lawsuits (rare). Write reasonable accommodation/modification letters. Provide community education when needed.
Resources (c) HOME 2013 Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act HOME Central VA Affordable Housing Guide VHDA Online Housing Search www.valegalaid.org
Contact us (c) HOME 2013 Christie Marra Staff Attorney in Housing Family and Child Welfare Law Virginia Poverty Law Center Richmond, VA 804-782-9430 x16 Deanna Lavery and Brandi Payne Fair Housing Specialists Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia Richmond, VA 804-354-0641