If you have a property in Virginia that you would like to rent, you should have a solid Virginia Rental Application form or template to screen tenants before offering a lease agreement.
We have a comprehensive Virginia rental application you can use to vet all applicants.
You will want to familiarize yourself with the basics of Virginia landlord and tenant law before screening tenants, however. Use our information below to guide you
Virginia Rental Application Information for Applicants and Renters
Under the Virginia Landlord and Tenant Act, renters and applicants need to know the following information regarding deposits and fees:
- Application Fee: Property owners in Virginia can ask for an application fee. The fee amount cannot exceed $50, excluding any out-of-pocket expenses paid by the landlord to a third party for background or credit checks on the applicant. If the property is public housing or other housing regulated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the fee cannot be more than $32.
- Additional Application Deposit: A property owner can ask for a refundable application deposit and a nonrefundable application fee. This deposit must be returned to the applicant within 10 to 20 days if the rental application is rejected or the applicant fails to rent the unit.
- Security and Pet Deposit: If a rental application is approved, the property owner can ask for a security deposit. It cannot be greater than two months’ rent. There are no laws governing pet deposits in Virginia.
Federal and Virginia Fair Housing Laws
Property owners in Virginia must abide by the Federal Fair Housing Act and the Virginia Fair Housing Law, which prohibit landlords and property owners from asking about:
- The sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity of the applicant
- The national origin, religion, race, or color of the applicant
- The age of the applicant
- The familial status of the applicant
- The source of the applicant’s income as it pertains to public housing assistance
- The military status of the applicant
- Whether the applicant has a disability
Virginia Rental Application Information for Landlords
Landlords and property owners should be aware of some exceptions to the rules above.
- Age: Landlords can ask about the applicant’s age if they own property in an age-specific community.
- Family Status: Landlords can ask about children if the landlord will be living in any dwelling units he or she is renting out.
- Religious Status: If a religious group owns and regulates the property, they can ask about the applicant’s religious beliefs. Authorization for Background Check
Conducting credit, rental history, and criminal background checks protects landlords from potential problems if they offer a rental contract to someone with poor credit or prior criminal activity.
You will need your applicant’s permission to run some of the background checks typically part of the tenant screening process.
Many landlords include a consent statement on their rental application or you can use our background check authorization form to obtain consent.
How to Conduct an Eviction Records Search
- Navigate to the Virginia Judiciary Online Case Information System website
- Accept the terms and conditions
- Enter the applicant’s name
If you decide to reject an applicant based on your findings from a background check or eviction records search, consider sending a rental application rejection letter explaining the reasons why.
Other Resources for Landlords
Virginia Rental Application Statistics
According to a local news outlet in Virginia, Virginia received about 55 housing discrimination complaints during 2021 and 2022.
These housing discrimination complaints ranged from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to discrimination based on public housing assistance and military status.
As a property owner, you should ensure you do not discriminate against anyone to avoid housing complaints.
How to Write a Rental Application
There are several steps to follow when writing a Virginia rental application.
- Ask for the applicant’s basic identifying information.
- Ask about the applicant’s prior rental, employment, and financial history.
- Ask for consent to run credit checks and background checks.
- Ask for a few references, preferably from prior landlords.
- Ask about smoking history and pets if you believe it is important for your property.
Sample Virginia Rental Application Form
Download our Virginia rental application sample, and use it to effectively screen applicants for your rental property.