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Preventing Common Landlord-Tenant Disputes in Virginia

Few situations in the business world are more stressful than disputes between landlords and tenants. Fortunately, the majority of these disputes are completely preventable. When signing an agreement with a tenant, simply keep the following considerations in mind to avoid potential problems in the future:

  • Do your research. Landlords should perform credit checks and rental history inquiries to assess the responsibility of the potential tenant. If disputes seem inevitable, or if the risks are too great, part ways before signing an agreement.
  • Clarify the terms. Make sure the terms of the lease are completely clear, particularly related to payment schedules, property upkeep, wear and tear classifications, neighbor complaints, rent increases, repair procedures and financial responsibilities. 
  • Know the laws. Be aware of your federal, state and local rights and responsibilities as a landlord, as well as your legal obligations to your tenants.
  • Establish a line of communication. Speak with your tenant about any issues as you see them arise—before they get out of hand. It’s also a good idea to check in with tenants every couple of months to make sure everything is going smoothly.
  • Document any issues. If repairs are needed or if the property is not being properly cared for, take pictures or write statements describing the problematic conditions and keep them on hand. Let your tenants know if they are breaching any terms of the lease.
  • Keep correspondence. Hold on to emails or letters and take notes on conversations regarding any issues about repairs, property upkeep, payment schedules and other issues to prevent any misinterpretation or misrepresentation later on.

If you would like more information related to dealing with or avoiding a landlord-tenant dispute, speak with a skilled Charlottesville real estate attorney.

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