How Much Can a Landlord Raise Rent in Virginia

Virginia has no statewide rent control laws, meaning landlords can increase rent by any amount if they provide adequate notice.
Written by Kathryn Mae Kurlychek
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
There’s no legal limit to how much your landlord can raise rent in
, but there are regulations on when and how often, depending on the type of lease. 
Renters across the country face increased rent rates in response to changing housing markets. But, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, these rent hikes can feel undeserved or even aggressive—and if you're one of the thousands in Virginia facing the same problem, you're not alone. 
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How much can a landlord raise rent in Virginia?

Virginia landlords can raise your rent by any amount upon renewal of your lease term or with adequate notice. 
That’s right—in Virginia, there’s no legal limit on how much your landlord can increase your rent. And they're not the only state—several states don't regulate rent increases, although some cities and counties implement their own local ordinances.  
Although there are no official regulations on rent increases in the state, that doesn’t mean your landlord is likely to raise your rent an extravagant amount. Sure, your landlord could ask for $2,000 next month instead of just $1,000, but it’s ultimately in their best interest to maintain the rent at a fair market price to avoid losing tenants. While the fair market value is at an all-time high right now, any increase you receive hopefully won't be higher than the current average. 

How much notice does a landlord need to give before they raise the rent?

Generally speaking, Virginia landlords need to provide at least 30 days' notice before increasing a tenant’s rent. However, the exact period of prior notice varies somewhat depending on the term of your lease: 
  • For week-to-week lease terms, 7 days' notice is required
  • For month-to-month lease terms, 30 days' notice is required
  • For 1-year (fixed-term) leases, landlords must wait until the current lease term has expired and a new tenancy begins before increasing the rent
Notice of a raise in rent must be submitted to the tenant in writing by the landlord within the specified period before the new rent rate can be applied. 
MORE: Does renters insurance cover mold?

When is it illegal to raise rent in Virginia?

There are some circumstances under which it may be illegal for landlords to raise rent in Virginia. In these cases, a tenant can take up legal action against their landlord: 
  • Raising rent in retaliation against a tenant who exercised their tenancy rights, such as making a good faith complaint to the landlord regarding the property.
  • Raising rent on a discriminatory basis, including based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or family status. 

How to respond to a rent increase

There are a few different ways to respond if your landlord increases your rent in Virginia. One option is always to accept the higher rent and begin paying it when your new lease comes into effect. If you’re not in the position to accommodate the increase, however, you have a few other options: 
  • If you believe the landlord illegally raised your rent, seek legal advice or hire a lawyer and take legal action. 
  • If the landlord did not provide you adequate notice of the rent increase, seek legal advice and file a lawsuit against the property owner. 
  • If you can't afford the higher rent, you can speak with your landlord and try to negotiate a lower rate.
  • If the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted your ability to afford a higher rent, seek resources and assistance through your
    local emergency rental assistance program (ERAP)

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Technically, yes. So long as your landlord provides adequate notice, it is legal for them to raise your rent. If you find yourself financially limited as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, your local
emergency rental assistance program
or the
Virginia Rent Relief Program
Between March 2021 and March 2022, the average rent in Virginia increased by over 14%.
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