Johnson City, TN asked in Government Contracts, Landlord - Tenant, Public Benefits and Personal Injury for Virginia

Q: I lived in a government housing project and pretty much the whole time I did I had to endure and suffer the reprecussion

Of Black Mold growing and thriving in certain damp spots of the apartment along with other numerous things that I just let slide because of my situation and things I could do about it at the time. Is there anything I can do to result in my benefit?

1 Lawyer Answer
Seth E Allen
Seth E Allen
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Bristol, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: In Virginia, you can file a tenant's assertion asking the landlord to make certain repairs if it is a material non-compliance with the lease, a violation of law, a fire hazard, or a serious threat to the life/health/safety of the tenant if not promptly treated. There are things you have to do before you can file a tenant's assertion. First, you have to notify the landlord in writing of the problem and what you want them to do about it. You must give them a "reasonable" amount of time (typically 30-days, unless its an emergency situation) to address the problem. If they fail to address the problem in that amount of time, then you can file the tenant's assertion in the general district court where you live.

It's important you stay current on rent during this time. The poor condition is not an excuse to skip out on rent. Once the assertion is filed, you must then pay your rent to the court's escrow account instead of to the landlord by the 5th of each month (or on its due date). You should keep a copy of your letter as proof that you gave the landlord notice. Then the matter should be set for hearing within 14-days (it could be sooner if emergency conditions exist, ex. no heat in the winter). Be prepared to prove that the issue you are complaining about exists at the hearing.

When filing an assertion, you can ask for the court to either terminate your lease, order the landlord to make the repairs, ask for some of the rent money back if they fail to make the repairs, as well as requesting actual damages and attorney fees (if you have an attorney). If the landlord can prove it was either repaired, the problem never existed, or show that you have not paid rent, you can expect your case to be dismissed.

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