PropertyManagementMaven: Why it is IMPORTANT to be SURE of the forms you use!!!

Why it is IMPORTANT to be SURE of the forms you use!!!

A rental resident who just moved into a property I manage has questioned me twice on procedures that are outlined in her lease and Resident Handbook.  When she did not get the favorable response from me that she wished, she started looking on the internet for information on Virginia landlord tenant laws.

I have not used "realtor" approved forms * in over 30 years.....not in California and not in Virginia.  Up until a few years ago, VAR provided a lease form that allowed for the "agent/landlord" to opt into the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act (VRLTA) lease OR the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act (common law) statutes * same lease * just different markings by the AGENT.

A few years ago, VAR changed its lease form and it is now ONLY a VRLTA lease format.  These lease statutes are for larger, multi unit properties and property owners.  My clients do not fall under these statutes and I do not obligate them to the use of these onerous statutes.

I, instead, have a 6-page common law lease format and have adopted several VRLTA provisions into it; however, the VRLTA statutes that are found online to not apply to my tenancies.

When my NEW resident indicated she could not FIND a Virginia Landlord Tenant Act online and that she has questioned two Virginia real estate agents who had never heard of it, it dawned on me that  SOMETIMES real estate agents DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY DO NOT KNOW!!

Although the difference in these 2 acts is covered briefly in pre-licensing courses, real estate agents who don't know the difference or are only familiar with what VAR has put out need to KNOW the difference.

Jerry Friedlander * an attorney in Northern Virginia * publishes an annual landlord-tenant UPDATE after the VA legislature passes its laws in the spring.  Once you subscribe to his information on the differences between the VRLTA and common law statutes (Peppercorn Paperworks) you can get his annual updates for less than $50.

As VAR members, the property management council provides full-day seminars with attorney Chip Dicks annually around the state after new legislation is enacted.  Chip provides legislation on behalf of VAR and the state apartment association and his law firm is on the cutting edge of landlord-tenant laws nationwide.

As a VA property manager who has to often do the impossible, I have bookmarked the Virginia statutes that apply to the operation of my business.  

The real estate agents who were advising my new residents obviously DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY DO NOT KNOW! 

Link to the Virginia Landlord Tenant statutes for common law AND commercial leases

Link to the Virginia RESIDENTIAL Landlord Tenant Act




View our available Charlottesville, Albemarle and Lake Monticello rental homes online with photos and floor plans

" be a Virginian, either by Birth, Marriage, Adoption, or even on one's Mother's side, is an Introduction to any State in the Union, a Passport to any Foreign Country, and a Benediction from the Almighty God...." Anonymous


Comment balloon 5 commentsWallace S. Gibson, CPM • October 23 2009 12:36PM


There is much to keep up with in property management.  The real estate agents who are attempting to advise your new residents obviously DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY DO NOT KNOW! 

Posted by Diane Rice, SFR, SRES, CNC ( Rice Prprty Mgmnt & Rlty, LLC, South Holland, IL) over 9 years ago

In AZ we use the AZ Assoc. of REALTORS lease. It is in line with the AZ Landlord and Tenant Act, which deals with residentila leasing laws and is what we go by. So it works out well. The only thing I don't like is that it is geared more for Phoenix- everyone laughs when I have to check "swimmimg pool maintenance- not applicable" (we are at 5,000 ft elevation, and are getting cold at night).

Posted by Leslie Prest, Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson, (Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ) over 9 years ago

Many Realtors here don't get into leasing, so they kind of skip over the leasing part of the Realtor course.

Posted by Not a real person over 9 years ago

There are convenient places to find Landlord/Tenant related laws and statutes here in Washington as well.  It pays to stay on top of them.  The last thing you want is to have a whole section made unenforceable because it requires something not allowed by code or statute.

Posted by Charles Perkins (Charles G. Perkins, CPA) over 9 years ago

Charles * agreed.  In VA we have TWO, TWO, TWO codes and I blame the VAR for no longer pointing out that fact by NOT providing an alternative lease format for member use. 

A Realtor/listing agent's client who wants to rent their unsold home and uses their listing agent as their rental agent is at a DOUBLE disadvantage - from the JUMP they don't know which code or lease format to use and VAR is no longer teaching there is a DIFFERENCE!

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 9 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments