Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Virginia

I live in Virginia and rent a single family home. My landlord only owns the one rental house, so I am not typically covered by the VRLTA. However, I have been unable to find articles advising on whether I have recourse for the issues I am having.

First, the landlord comes into the house when I am not here (without notice), does yard work without notice and removes items he deems "trash" from the shed, porch or yard whenever he feels like it. This includes donation items I had stored in the shed for future removal and my son's soccer balls that were in the yard. I have zero privacy and never know when he's going to be here. I recently gave the required 30 day notice to terminate our now month-to-month lease, and he has all of a sudden discovered all sorts of issues with the condition of the house that he blames on me - even though I have advised him since just after the inception of the agreement (3 years ago) that there were fundamental problems with the house. Namely, sewage runoff from the neighbor's yard, bugs, and electrical surges that have killed at least 2 appliances (possibly 3) and make it impossible to keep light bulbs for more than a week.

Do I have any laws protecting me from this guy even though he's not a "professional" landlord? He's now trying to blackmail me by giving me horrible references to potential new landlords.

Asked on 6/21/13, 4:06 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael Hendrickson Law Office Michael E. Hendrickson

Yes, defamation, and there may be others.

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Answered on 6/22/13, 10:29 am

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