Chesterfield, VA asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia

Q: My daughter put a security deposit down on a home for rent. They told her it was hers, and pulled all the "For Sale"

signs from the yard. They were set to move in on the 1st. They called and said they sold the house anyway. She has two weeks now till her current lease is up and nowhere to go. They didn't sign any papers for the lease yet. Is there anything that can be done other than just getting her deposit back, or is she just out of luck - this was clearly unethical, but I'm not sure if it was also illegal.


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1 Lawyer Answer
F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Alexandria, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Given the facts your reported, it sounds like your daughter had an "oral" agreement, but it was not reduced to a written and memorialized contract, to assure her rights to the rental. She certainly has a right to the return of the security deposit from the owner. She could bring a lawsuit to enjoin the Seller from proceeding with the sale to the other party and to ask the Court for an Order that requires the owner to be obliged to fulfill the lease agreement, but your daughter would have to wait many months before the case would go to trial since the Covid-19 crisis has delayed all court matters in Virginia. In addition to the delay in the time to get the case before a Judge, the attorney's fees would be expensive and your daughter would not have the right to seek the owner to pay her attorney's fees since there is no written contract that gives her that right to attorney's fees.

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