Q: In Virginia, my tenant has given proper notice to vacate, but refuses to pay final month’s rent.
She wants me to use the security deposit instead, which gives her no incentive to clean the apartment etc. upon leaving. I’m fairly certain the security deposit will not cover the cleaning, damages, and back rent, and since she will not provide a forwarding address, I feel I am without options. I have sent a “COVID “ 14 day pay or quit which has been ignored. Should I now pursue an unlawful detainer to attempt to receive a judgment for the delinquent rent?
A: In Virginia, the tenant's security deposit is not permitted to be used for the rent, whether it is the last month's payment or another month's payment. If the tenant has not paid this month's rent, you need to follow the proper procedures of giving a notice to pay or quit and then file an Unlawful Detainer with the section for damages marked "reserved" so you can make that claim for cleaning and property damages when you go to court.
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