Virginia  |  Landlord & Tenant Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 3/24/10, 2:08 pm

1 year VA lease was executed. 3months after day start my tenant informed on phone about his contract loss (although he will still be paid by contracting company who sponsored his VISA) and he had applied another job in CA. Also conveyed his intent to leave the property. I asked him to provide a documentary proof of job loss or a new job offer to consider his move-out. He did not provide that.

After another 4 months he left the property saying that he had got mold, but without providing a 30-days advanced/written notice and without paying remaining rent for the remaining lease term (5 months left). I sent him notice stating he should pay remaining rent for 5 month's till lease expires as my lease allows this to be done. Notice was delivered on last day of his move-out. He then entered the premises day after his move-out in the month for which he did not pay the rent and got mold testing done without my knowledge.

And then started demanding me to return entire security deposit without deducting damages or else he will sue me for mold. He did not show me mold report from private company.

I deducted repair costs and 1 month additional rent as penalty from his security deposit and told him he still owed me another $150. he must pay that and we end it, since it is his fault that he left without notice or without requesting me to let him go.

Instead a month later I received court summon from VA Small Claims Court where he claimed $5000 (max allowed in this court) as damages. No breakdown was provided for $5000 claims. It appeared that he wanted to get his security back as well as wanted to live there for free.

I defended the case in court and won the judgement. Since he caught me unawares with his lawsuit, also my lease allowed me to collect all remaining rent and to teach him a lesson that he did not understand our courtesy, I again mailed him notice demanding rent for remaining months. He called on phone and apologized, and thats all he did, not mention of rent payment. I mailed 2nd notice. NOW I RECEIVE A NOTICE FROM HIS ATTORNEY SAYING THAT HE LEFT THE UNIT BECAUSE OF MOLD AND IF I NEED TO TALK FURTHER I SHOULD DISCUSS THIS CASE WITH HIM.

(1) I would like to know that if I sue him, including collection agency charges which are usually 50% of the principal and other charges required for his SSN search etc, job loss, vacation loss, travel, then the total become 3-4 times his principal rent he owes me. Can I sue his for 4 times the charges in District Court, instead of small claims as it has a claim ceiling. I have lease papers and he has nothing to prove anything as he screwed up his lawsuit on me for which I have judgement in my favor. So can I win this case?

(2) Also how seriously I should consider his attorney's letter. Can I keep mailing him my 2 more notices which will make a total of 4 notices, enough evidence to sue him mentioning in court that I provided him enough time.

(3) Is still mailing notices to him can cause potential problems from his attorney?

month he entered into the property to get mold testing done. Althogh my last notice asked him to pay all rent till end of lease term, to which he was not willing to pay, so since he did not pay I still just got the tried to negotate with him by deducting his one month rent and damage repair costs frm s

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