As of July 1, 2016, if you discover, through normal inspections that the tenant is violating the rental agreement in a way that materially affects health and safety, you can make repairs and charge the tenant for the cost. Presently, the law provides that you have a right “to fix” problems relating to health and safety that are caused by the tenant and you have the right to charge the tenant for the “fix;” but there is no language as to how you discover that a problem exists. So, now, you no longer have to wait for the tenant to tell you that there is a problem or for someone to complain. This added language is in House Bill 735 which will amend Virginia Code 55-248.18.
If you want to look at the existing law with the changes that will take place on July 1, go to
https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?161+sum+HB735. The changes are in italics.
The code sections dealing with inspections, tenants’ responsibilities for maintenance, and landlords’ rights to repair are: 55-248.16, 55-248.17, and 55-248.32.