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Virginia Security Deposit Laws

Security deposits are a frequent source of friction between property owners and renters. Landlords need a way to ensure that tenants don't unduly damage the dwelling unit and pay their bills. Tenants aren't thrilled about having to pay a large extra amount at the beginning of the lease, but if they do, they'll want all of it returned when they move out, and in a timely manner.

In the Old Dominion State, landlords aren't allowed to demand more than two months' rent as a security deposit. This money must be returned within 45 days of when the tenant moves out, less any allowable deductions for damage to the rental unit exceeding normal "wear and tear," unpaid utility bills, and so forth.

Read on to learn more about security deposit laws in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Virginia Security Deposit Laws: The Basics

Only an attorney has the expertise to analyze how the law applies to your particular situation. However, to make your research easier, we've prepared the following "plain English" overview of security deposit laws in Virginia, with links to the relevant statutes.


Virginia Code:

Security Deposit Maximums A landlord is not allowed to demand more than two months' rent as a security deposit.
Return of the Security Deposit A landlord must return the tenant's security deposit, minus any allowable deductions, within 45 days of the move-out date. A landlord that makes any deductions from the security deposit must send an itemized list of the property damage, the cost to repair it, and any other charges such as for unpaid utility bills. A tenant has a right to be present at the landlord's inspection of the dwelling unit.
Deductions from Security Deposit A landlord in Virginia can keep all or some of the security deposit for the following reasons:
  • Unpaid rent;
  • Unpaid utility bills;
  • Damage to the dwelling unit exceeding normal wear and tear; or
  • Other damage or charges as provided in the rental agreement.
What if Landlord Violates these Rules? If the landlord willfully fails to comply with these requirements, a tenant can sue for the return of the security deposit, plus other monetary damages suffered and reasonable attorney fees.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Virginia Security Deposit Laws: Related Resources

If you'd like more information related to this topic, visit the links provided below.

Have Specific Questions About Virginia Security Deposit Laws? Ask a Lawyer

Tenants and landlords each have specific legal rights and duties. If you feel that your landlord has unlawfully refused to return your security deposit, or if you're a landlord trying to understand your obligations under the law, it's best to speak with a qualified Virginia landlord-tenant attorney near you.

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