Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

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Tenant Rights 

LANDLORD TENANT RELATIONS

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (hereafter VRLTA) handbook has been prepared to provide information on the rights, remedies, and responsibilities of landlords and renters concerning the rental process. Before signing a lease, prospective tenants should read and understand the terms of the contract. 

More information and Program Contact for VRLTA

 

FAIR HOUSING 

Fair housing is a term that refers to a person's right to choose housing free from unlawful discrimination. It means that housing choices are not restricted by decisions based on characteristics that have nothing to do with housing. Federal, state, and local fair housing laws protect people from discrimination in housing transactions such as rentals, sales, lending, and insurance. 

More information and contacts for Fair Housing

 

Maintenance Responsibilities

ZONING ORDINANCE

The Zoning Ordinance of the City of Harrisonburg outlines the regulations governing the use of the buildings and premises, the height of building, the size of yards, etc. The City issues violation notices for zoning violations. Residents and property owners should ensure that their property is maintained according to City requirements. 

COMMON VIOLATIONS 

  • Tall grass and weeds must not exceed 12 inches in height from April 1 to November 1.
  • Junk, rubbish or garbage must not remain or accumulate on the property. 
  • Indoor furniture is not permitted outside.
  • Inoperable vehicles or vehicles with expired tags may not remain on the property.

 

Occupancy Restrictions for Nonowner Occupied and Owner-Occupied Dwellings

The City of Harrisonburg is divided into different zoning districts where certain land uses (residential, commercial, industrial) are allowed or are prohibited.  Within zoning districts that allow residential dwellings, there are occupancy restrictions which limit the number of unrelated people who can reside within a dwelling. 

Violation of occupancy restrictions could lead to eviction from the property. Before signing a new lease agreement, check the zoning regulations for a property to confirm the occupancy of the dwelling is legal or call the Department of Planning and Community Development's Planning and Zoning Division at 540-432-7700 to inquire.

 

Table 1. Maximum Occupancy Requirement for Nonowner Occupied Dwellings*

Zoning District

Maximum occupancy requirement per Zoning Ordinance

Maximum number of unrelated persons allowed within a dwelling

U-R, Urban-Residential District

A family or 2 people

2

R-1, Single-Family Residential District

A family plus one boarder

2

R-2, Residential District

A family plus one boarder

2

R-3, Medium Density Residential District and

R-3, Multiple Family Residential District

A family or 4 people

4

R-4, Planned Unit Residential District

A family or 4 people

4

R-5, High Density Residential District

A family or 4 people

4

R-6, Low Density Mixed Residential Planned Community District

A family or 2 people

2

R-7, Medium Density Mixed Residential Planned Community District

A family or 2 people

2

R-8, Small Lot Residential

A family plus one boarder

2

B-1, Central Business District

A family or 4 people

4

 

*"Nonowner Occupied" means that the owner of the dwelling unit (house, duplex, townhouse, or apartment) does not live there. 

 

Table 2. Maximum Occupancy Requirement for Owner Occupied Dwellings+

Zoning District

Maximum occupancy requirement per Zoning Ordinance

Maximum number of unrelated persons allowed within a dwelling

U-R, Urban-Residential District

A family or 2 people

2

R-1, Single-Family Residential District

An individual or family owning the property, plus 2 boarders

3

R-2, Residential District

An individual or family owning the property, plus 2 boarders

3

R-3, Medium Density Residential District and

R-3, Multiple Family Residential District

A family or 4 people

4

R-4, Planned Unit Residential District

A family or 4 people

4

R-5, High Density Residential District

A family or 4 people

4

R-6, Low Density Mixed Residential Planned Community District

A family or 2 people

2

R-7, Medium Density Mixed Residential Planned Community District

A family or 2 people

2

R-8, Small Lot Residential

An individual or family owning the property, plus 2 boarders

3

B-1, Central Business District

A family or 4 people

4

 

+"Owner Occupied" means that the owner of the dwelling unit (house, duplex, townhouse, or apartment) lives there.


To report any problems with the links or other content on this page, please email Nyrma.Soffel@harrisonburgva.gov.