Serving Virginia Housing Providers


Last year, the Pew Research Center posted an article titled, “More U.S. households are renting than at any point in 50 years,” in which the authors noted that the national percentage of household heads who rent their home had risen to 36.6% in 2016, and the growth in renting transpired through all levels of educational status. For other data for the same year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the percentage of owner-occupied households nationally at 65.8% - meaning 34.2% of households were occupied by persons other than an owner presumably including renters as the most part. Looking locally under the Census Bureau’s records, they show 74.3% of households being owner-occupied in Roanoke County and 52.1% in Roanoke City. The flipside of these local owner-occupied rates, 25.7% and 47.9% respectively, would then encompass rent-paying occupancies. Whether such tenancies are occurring by need or choice and notwithstanding Mark Twain’s adage to “buy land, they aren't making it anymore,” these figures show the prevalence of rent-paying both nationally and locally.

The importance of the landlord in facilitating housing for this large swath of the population is clear. What may not be clear to most is the amount of investment, risk, and attention shouldered by the landlord. Landlords come in a variety of types from the parents whose adult children have yet to leave the house to family investors in small realty investments to management companies and real estate developers and institutional investors. Tenants are similarly found in multiple categories of circumstances from residential to commercial, low-income to high-income, and lease compliant (paying and peaceable) to otherwise. In the landlord-tenant relationship, interests of the landlord in protecting and rewarding their investment sometimes find conflict with the tenant’s basic physiological interest in shelter or the tenant’s commercial need for operating space. And all of this occurs within a framework of contracts terms, common law, and rules and regulations from both state and federal sources. When landlords find themselves needing to protect their investment by evicting a tenant, certain disclosure and notice requirements need be met without offending the various potentially applicable prohibitions of state and federal law.

All this is to say that the act of being a landlord and protecting the landlord’s investment can be complex. Among our practice areas at Shenandoah Legal Group, we represent landlords and aim to make protecting their interests as simple as possible. We help landlords obtain possession of their distressed properties, to collect amounts owed for unpaid rent and damages, to resolve security deposit disputes, and to defend against tenant assertions. If you are a landlord in Southwest or Central Virginia needing legal counsel, you can reach our office at 540-344-4490 or through our Contact Us Form at