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Virginia Tenant Screening

Last Updated: January 20, 2015


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The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest continuous law-making body in the New World. The state government has been repeatedly ranked most effective by the Pew Center on the States. It is unique in how it treats cities and counties equally, manages local roads, and prohibits its governors from serving consecutive terms.

How to Screen a Tenant in the State of Virginia

DISCLAIMER: We do our best to keep this information accurate and up-to-date, but we cannot guarantee either. The most recent law changes may not be reflected here. We do not intend this information to be legal advice, nor are we qualified to advise you regarding legal matters. We highly recommend consulting a lawyer qualified to discuss landlord-tenant law to advise you. We do not specifically endorse any of the websites linked from these pages, nor are we in any way affiliated with the agencies or individuals who have published them. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of information posted on these sites. If you find a problem on this page, please contact us so that we can get it fixed.

Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities

The Laws

Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, Virginia has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current Virginia landlord-tenant Codes on the Virginia General Assembly website. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:

Recent Law Changes

HB 273 Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act changes applicability and security deposits. Changes the applicability of the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act from the ownership of no more than 10 single-family residences to ownership of no more than two single-family residences and makes the application uniform across the state. The bill also authorizes a landlord to expedite the disposition of security deposits under certain circumstances and sets the interest rate (0.00%) on security deposits for 2014. The bill repeals the requirement for a landlord to accrue interest on security deposits, effective January 1, 2015.

Step 2: Required Forms & Disclosures

Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.

Before Screening:

  1. Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
  2. Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF]
  3. Consumer Report Disclosure [PDF]

After Screening:

If you are ACCEPTING an applicant:

  1. Move-In Checklist [PDF]
  2. Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
    1. Owner/Agent Identity - this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
    2. Security Deposit - this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
    3. Non-refundable Fees - explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
  3. Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
  4. Move In Checklist: In Virginia, within 5 days of move-in, landlord or tenant or both together must prepare a written report detailing the condition of the premises. Landlords must disclose within this report the known presence of mold. (Va. Code Ann. 55-248.11:1)
  5. Owner Or Agent Identity: Virginia landlords must disclose in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name and address of the person authorized to manage the premises, and an owner of the premises or a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and receiving notices and demands. (Va. Code Ann. 55-248.12)
  6. Military Zone: In Virginia, the landlord of property in any locality in which a military air installation is located, or any person authorized to enter into a rental agreement on his behalf, must provide to a prospective tenant a written disclosure that the property is located in a noise zone or accident potential zone, or both, as designated by the locality on its official zoning map. (Va. Code Ann. 55-248.12:1)
  7. Mold: Virginia move-in inspection reports must include whether there is any visible evidence of mold (deemed correct unless tenant objects within five days); if evidence is present, tenant may terminate or not move in. If tenant stays, landlord must remediate the mold condition within five business days, reinspect, and issue a new report indicating that there is no evidence of mold. (Va. Code Ann. 55-248.11:2)
  8. Ratio Utility Billing: Virginia landlords who uses a ratio utility billing service, who intend to collect monthly billing and other administrative and late fees, must disclose these fees in a written rental agreement. (Va. Code Ann. 55-226.2)

If you are DECLINING an applicant:

  1. Adverse Action Notice [PDF]

Step 3: Order a Tenant Screening Report

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What You'll Need

  • A completed rental application signed by the applicant.
  • Some details about your applicant:
    • Name
    • Email address
    • Date of birth
    • Social Security number
    • Previous address
    • Bank account number (optional)
    • Bank routing number (optional)

What Will Be Covered

  • Package Options
  • Background Report Coverage for Virginia:
    • Criminal, OFAC/Patriot Act & Sex Offender Records - A nationwide search is always performed. These jurisdictions specifically are available in Virginia: AOC Circuit Court, Henrico County Sheriff Jail, VA Sex Offender Registry.
    • Eviction Records - records are available from the following counties: Accomack, Albemarie, Alexandria City, Alleghany, Amelia, Amherst, Appomattox, Arlington, Agusta, Bath, Bedford, Bland, Botetourt, Bristol City, Brunswick, Buchanan, Buena Vista City, Campbell, Caroline, Charles City, Charlotte, Charlottesville City, Chesapeake City, Chesterfield, Clarke, Clifton Forge City, Colonial Heights City, Craig, Culpepper, Cumberland, Danville City, Dickenson, Dinwiddie, Emporia City, Essex, Fairfax, Fairfax City, Falls Church City, Fauquier, Floyd, Fluvanna, Franklin, Franklin City, Frederick, Fredericksburg City, Galax City, Giles, Gloucester, Goochland, Grayson, Greene, Greensville, Halifax, Hampton City, Hanover, Henrico, Henry, Highland, Hopewell City, Isle Of Wight, James City, King And Queen, King George, King William, Lancaster, Lee, Loudoun, Louisa, Lunenberg, Lynchburg City, Madison, Martinsville City, Mathews, Mecklenburg, Middlesex, Montgomery, Nelson, New Kent, Newport News City, Northampton, Northumberland, Nottoway, Orange, Page, Patrick, Petersburg City, Pittsylvania, Portsmouth City, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Prince George, Prince William, Pulaski, Radford City, Rappahannock, Rickmond, Richmond City, Roanoke, Roanoke City, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Russell, Salem City, Scott, Shenandoah, Smyth, Southampton, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Staunton City, Suffolk City, Surry, Sussex, Tazewell, Virginia Beach City, Warren, Washington, Waynesboro City, Westmoreland, Williamsburg City, Winchester City, Wise, Wythe, York.
    • Bankruptcies, Liens & Judgments - records are available from the following counties: Accomack, Albemarle, Alexandria City, Alleghany, Amelia, Amherst, Appomattox, Arlington, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Bland, Botetourt, Bristol City, Brunswick, Buchanan, Buckingham, Buena Vista City, Campbell, Caroline, Carroll, Charles City, Charlotte, Charlottesville City, Chesapeake City, Chesterfield, Clarke, Clifton Forge City, Colonial Heights City, Craig, Culpeper, Cumberland, Danville City, Dickenson, Dinwiddie, Emporia City, Essex, Fairfax, Falls Church City, Fauquier, Floyd, Fluvanna, Franklin City, Franklin, Frederick, Fredericksburg City, Galax City, Giles, Gloucester, Goochland, Grayson, Greene, Greensville, Halifax, Hampton City, Hanover, Henrico, Henry, Highland, Hopewell City, Isle of Wight, James City, King and Queen, King George, King William, Lancaster, Lee, Loudoun, Louisa, Lunenburg, Lynchburg City, Madison, Martinsville City, Mathews, Mecklenburg, Middlesex, Montgomery, Nelson, New Kent, Newport News City, Norfolk City, Northampton, Northumberland, Nottoway, Orange, Page, Patrick, Petersburg City, Pittsylvania, Portsmouth City, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Prince George, Prince William, Pulaski, Radford City, Rappahannock, Richmond City, Richmond, Roanoke City, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Russell, Salem City, Scott, Shenandoah, Smyth, Southampton, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Staunton City, Suffolk City, Surry, Sussex, Tazewell, Virginia Beach City, Warren, Washington, Waynesboro City, Westmoreland, Winchester City, Wise, Wythe, York.
    • Social Security Number validation, Death Index, credit checks, previous addresses, alias names, and the Rent Check Advisor include all information available regardless of location.

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