2006 Code of Virginia § 55-248.4 - Definitions

55-248.4. Definitions.

When used in this chapter, unless expressly stated otherwise:

"Action" means recoupment, counterclaim, set off, or other civil suit andany other proceeding in which rights are determined, including withoutlimitation actions for possession, rent, unlawful detainer, unlawful entry,and distress for rent.

"Application fee" means any deposit of money, however denominated,including all money intended to be used as a security deposit under a rentalagreement, or property, which is paid by a tenant to a landlord, lessor, oragent of a landlord for the purpose of being considered as a tenant for adwelling unit.

"Assignment" means the transfer by any tenant of all interests created by arental agreement.

"Authorized occupant" means a person entitled to occupy a dwelling unitwith the consent of the landlord, but who has not signed the rental agreementand therefore does not have the rights and obligations as a tenant under therental agreement.

"Building or housing code" means any law, ordinance or governmentalregulation concerning fitness for habitation, or the construction,maintenance, operation, occupancy, use or appearance of any structure or thatpart of a structure that is used as a home, residence or sleeping place byone person who maintains a household or by two or more persons who maintain acommon household.

"Dwelling unit" means a structure or part of a structure that is used as ahome or residence by one or more persons who maintain a household, including,but not limited to, a manufactured home.

"Facility" means something that is built, constructed, installed orestablished to perform some particular function.

"Good faith" means honesty in fact in the conduct of the transactionconcerned.

"Guest or invitee" means a person, other than the tenant or personauthorized by the landlord to occupy the premises, who has the permission ofthe tenant to visit but not to occupy the premises.

"Landlord" means the owner, lessor or sublessor of the dwelling unit or thebuilding of which such dwelling unit is a part. "Landlord" also includes amanaging agent of the premises who fails to disclose the name of such owner,lessor or sublessor. Such managing agent shall be subject to the provisionsof 16.1-88.03.

"Managing agent" means a person authorized by the landlord to act on behalfof the landlord under a management agreement.

"Natural person," wherever the chapter refers to an owner as a "naturalperson," includes co-owners who are natural persons, either as tenants incommon, joint tenants, tenants in partnership, tenants by the entirety,trustees or beneficiaries of a trust, general partnerships, limited liabilitypartnerships, registered limited liability partnerships or limited liabilitycompanies, or any lawful combination of natural persons permitted by law.

"Organization" means a corporation, government, governmental subdivision oragency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership or association, two ormore persons having a joint or common interest, or any combination thereof,and any other legal or commercial entity.

"Owner" means one or more persons, jointly or severally, in whom is vested:

1. All or part of the legal title to the property, or

2. All or part of the beneficial ownership and a right to present use andenjoyment of the premises, and the term includes a mortgagee in possession.

"Person" means any individual, group of individuals, corporation,partnership, business trust, association or other legal entity, or anycombination thereof.

"Premises" means a dwelling unit and the structure of which it is a partand facilities and appurtenances therein and grounds, areas and facilitiesheld out for the use of tenants generally or whose use is promised to thetenant.

"Rent" means all money, other than a security deposit, owed or paid to thelandlord under the rental agreement, including prepaid rent paid more thanone month in advance of the rent due date.

"Rental agreement" or "lease agreement" means all agreements, written ororal, and valid rules and regulations adopted under 55-248.17 embodying theterms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit andpremises.

"Rental application" means the written application or similar document usedby a landlord to determine if a prospective tenant is qualified to become atenant of a dwelling unit. A landlord may charge an application fee asprovided in this chapter and may request a prospective tenant to provideinformation that will enable the landlord to make such determination. Thelandlord may photocopy each applicant's driver's license or other similarphoto identification, containing either the applicant's social securitynumber or control number issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuantto 46.2-342. The landlord may require that each applicant provide a socialsecurity number issued by the U.S. Social Security Administration or anindividual taxpayer identification number issued by the U.S. Internal RevenueService, for the purpose of determining whether each applicant is eligible tobecome a tenant in the landlord's dwelling unit.

"Roomer" means a person occupying a dwelling unit that lacks a majorbathroom or kitchen facility, in a structure where one or more majorfacilities are used in common by occupants of the dwelling unit and otherdwelling units. Major facility in the case of a bathroom means toilet, andeither a bath or shower, and in the case of a kitchen means refrigerator,stove or sink.

"Security deposit" means any refundable deposit of money that is furnishedby a tenant to a landlord to secure the performance of the terms andconditions of a rental agreement, as a security for damages to the leasedpremises, or as a pet deposit. However, such money shall be deemed anapplication fee until the effective date of the rental agreement. Securitydeposit shall not include a commercial insurance policy purchased by alandlord on behalf of a tenant to secure the performance by the tenant of theterms and conditions of a rental agreement, generally known as damageinsurance. Further, security deposit shall not include a commercial insurancepolicy purchased by a landlord to provide property and casualty insurancecoverage for a tenant, generally known as renter's insurance.

"Single-family residence" means a structure, other than a multi-familyresidential structure, maintained and used as a single dwelling unit or anydwelling unit which has direct access to a street or thoroughfare and sharesneither heating facilities, hot water equipment nor any other essentialfacility or service with any other dwelling unit.

"Sublease" means the transfer by any tenant of any but not all interestscreated by a rental agreement.

"Tenant" means a person entitled under a rental agreement to occupy adwelling unit to the exclusion of others and shall include roomer. Tenantshall not include (i) an authorized occupant, (ii) a guest or invitee, or(iii) any person who guarantees or cosigns the payment of the financialobligations of a rental agreement but has no right to occupy a dwelling unit.

"Utility" means electricity, natural gas, water and sewer provided by apublic service corporation or such other person providing utility services aspermitted under 56-1.2. If the rental agreement so provides, a landlord mayuse submetering equipment or energy allocation equipment as defined in 56-245.2, or a ratio utility billing system as defined in 55-226.2.

(1974, c. 680; 1977, c. 427; 1987, c. 428; 1990, c. 55; 1991, c. 205; 1999,cc. 77, 258, 359, 390; 2000, cc. 760, 816; 2002, c. 531; 2003, cc. 355, 425,855; 2004, c. 123.)

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