In general, landlords enjoy rights such as the ability to choose rent amounts and how many people can live in each unit. Landlords can also determine a pet policy and evict tenants who have not been paying rent or who have been responsible for excessive problems.
However, there are limits on many of these rights. If you are a landlord or are considering becoming one, it is a good idea to have a lawyer draft or review rental agreements to ensure yours is fully legal. Some of your rights should include the following.
Bar specific guests and evict tenants because of them
You generally have the right to prohibit certain people from visiting tenants at their rental if these guests have violated the lease or erred on the wrong side of the law. You must do so via written notice to the guest and explain the reasons behind your decision. In fact, you also have the right to evict tenants based on the severity of a guest’s actions. A lawyer can help clarify for you whether the issue in question is reasonable enough for an eviction.
Evict tenants for not paying rent
You also have the right, more or less, to evict tenants for not paying rent. Of course, you cannot evict someone for being, say, one minute late or even two days late. Virginia law grants tenants five days to pay their rent after the deadline.
Have a reasonable period of time to make repairs
Many problems are irritating, perhaps even unsafe or life-threatening for tenants. For example, a lack of air conditioning during an especially hot summer can prove deadly, as can a broken heating system during the coldest day of winter. Life-threatening situations such as these are considered emergencies, and you are responsible for fixing these in hours, if possible. You should not take more than a day or two.
For routine repairs, though, you have the right to a reasonable time period. Many landlords try to get these issues taken care of within two weeks, but legally, you may have as much as 30 days. Given that you need to coordinate permission with the tenant for you or your representative to enter the apartment or house or to give notice, scheduling these repairs can sometimes take time.