Business Law Insights

Attention Landlords:

In addition to providing the Statement of Tenant Rights and Responsibilities to new tenants, landlords filing for eviction in the Lynchburg General District Court must also certify that they have provided a copy of the statement to the tenants being evicted. This means that before seeking an eviction, landlords must provide a copy of the statement to tenants who entered leases prior to July 1, 2020, when the requirement was enacted. The Statement of Tenant Rights and Responsibilities can be found on the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development website at https://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/landlord-tenant-resources.

At PLDR we are monitoring developments at the Federal, State, and local levels to ensure that you get the best advice regarding your landlord-tenant matters.

Luke Malloy square

 

Landlords continue to face confusion caused by a changing patchwork of state and federal regulations implemented as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic. Recently, several regulations have expired and others have been extended. Here’s what you need to know:

Following his inauguration, President Joe Biden directed the CDC to extend its current order temporarily halting residential evictions until at least March 31, 2021. The CDC order was enacted in September 2020, and was scheduled to expire on January 31, 2021. The order prevents landlords from evicting tenants who declare under penalty of perjury that they meet certain criteria. This means that landlords in Virginia must comply with both the CDC order and the Virginia General Assembly’s restrictions enacted in the 2020-2022 Budget Bill when evicting a tenant for failure to pay rent until at least the end of March. Importantly, neither the CDC order nor the Virginia restrictions prevent landlords from evicting tenants for non-rent violations. At PLDR we are monitoring developments from Richmond and Washington to ensure that you get the best advice regarding your landlord-tenant matters.

Luke Malloy square

A patchwork of regulations imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has caused confusion among landlords and tenants regarding their rights and obligations under their lease agreements. As part of the latest Coronavirus relief package, Congress extended the CDC eviction moratorium through January 31. As part of the 2020-2022 budget bill, the Virginia General Assembly enacted restrictions on rent-related evictions that took effect on January 1, 2021. It is important to note that the Virginia and CDC restrictions only apply to non-payment of rent, therefore evictions for other violations such as criminal activity or property damage may proceed. This blog will focus on the requirements that landlords must meet before pursuing an eviction for failure to pay rent during the Governor’s declared state of emergency.

According to an announcement from Governor Northam, landlords can now apply for assistance for current and past-due rental payments dating back to April 1, on behalf of tenants who qualify for assistance under Virginia’s rental and mortgage relief program. The program uses federal funds from the CARES Act to help households facing eviction or foreclosure due to the pandemic. Now landlords can apply directly for relief under the program as well.

Litigants in civil lawsuits often ask if they will be able to recover their attorney’s fees from the opposing party if they ultimately win the case. Virginia follows the “American Rule” which provides that generally, opposing parties must pay their own attorney’s fees regardless of who wins the case. The rationale of the rule is that a plaintiff should not be deterred from bringing a case to court for fear of incurring substantial costs. However, this general rule may be altered by contractual agreement or legislation. Statutes allowing for the recovery of attorney’s fees by a successful plaintiff are intended to encourage meritorious claims.

A new law enacted by the General Assembly will require landlords to provide prospective tenants with a statement of their rights and responsibilities under the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. The “Tenant Bill of Rights” will be posted on the Department of Housing and Community Development website, and shall be signed by the parties to a written rental agreement. The Bill of Rights will include, among other things, an explanation of (i) the landlord's responsibility to maintain the dwelling unit in a fit and habitable condition, (ii) the tenant's right to request repairs and

The reality of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to consider previously unthinkable “what if” scenarios, and has taught many people valuable lessons about being better prepared for the unexpected. As many are now planning to start more conservatively saving for an unexpected financial downturn and to maintain a reasonable supply of household essentials, individuals should also take advantage of this extended period of social distancing to prepare in another way—by reevaluating or creating an estate plan. Given the current atmosphere, here are some things to consider:

According to 2019 survey by Caring.com, 79% of millennials do not have an estate plan in place. However, estate planning is not just for the wealthy or elderly. Because life often takes unexpected turns, estate planning is crucial regardless of age or financial status. In fact, the negative consequences of dying without an estate plan in place are often compounded in the case of a young adult. If you are under 40, here are a few reasons why you should make estate planning a priority:

The Virginia General Assembly has attempted to make the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act fairer to tenants by passing several bills that will take effect this July and are aimed at reducing evictions.

For example, in order to clarify the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, HB2054 will require written leases for residential tenancies. In the absence of a written lease, several default provisions will apply including that the lease term will be 12 months, rent will be paid in 12 equal payments in an amount agreed upon or fair market value, a late fee shall be paid if rent isn’t paid by the fifth day of a month, and the landlord may collect a security deposit. This change isn’t likely to have much effect on landlords who already utilize written lease agreements.

One of the most important and impactful decisions every business owner must make concerns the entity selection for his or her company. There are many different entity types, different entity types, including sole proprietorships, general partnerships, limited liability companies (“LLCs”), and corporations, just to name a few. Each has its own unique risks and rewards, as well as tax, legal, and operational implications, which makes selecting the right entity of significant importance. In selecting the entity that best meets the needs and objectives of your business, consider the following:

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