Burke, VA asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia

Q: Can a Landlord ask a tenant to share the cost of water main repair (problem not caused by tenant)?

The water main feed pipe on the landlord's property in Fairfax County, Virginia, failed, leaking water in the yard, and running up the tenant's water bills. The landlord asked the tenant to "share" the cost of the repair. The tenant declined, and within 48 hours the landlord advised that he was going to increase the amount of the security deposit and rent due to "increased maintenance costs". Is this legal?

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2 Lawyer Answers
F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof
Answered
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Alexandria, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Generally under Virginia law, essential utilities, such as water, and their repairs and maintenance are the obligations of the Landlord. Relation by the Landlord by raising the amount of the security deposit and the monthly rent is clearly a violation of the landlord-tenant laws in Virginia and a breach of the residential lease laws. You may want to seek formal advice of a landlord-tenant attorney.

1 user found this answer helpful

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
Answered
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Salem, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Under your facts, no. But be prepared to defend yourself in Court. In fact, that the waterline broke may (POSSIBLY - IT IS BY NO MEANS CERTAIN) entitle you to a credit or refund from the landlord for the excess water bill you had to pay. It's not worth arguing over the refund unless he pushes you on the deposit and share in the costs.

Consulting a lawyer would be a good idea - get one on board now in case the landlord tries something.

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