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Lynchburg City Code Article III Section 11-161-Section 11-173 and Code of Virginia § 36-105.1:1
City Council finds that residential dwelling units, when not the subject of regular inspections to ensure compliance with applicable occupancy, building maintenance and property maintenance regulations, may become unsafe, a public nuisance and unfit for human habitation. Residential rental dwelling units are subject to overcrowding, structural deterioration and an overall neglected appearance. These conditions can lead to a decline in neighborhood quality of life, neighborhood appearance and the value of real estate. This article is adopted to protect the public health, safety and welfare in residential rental dwelling units located within those areas of the city determined by City Council herein to be in need of a special program of inspections of residential rental dwelling units. This program is designed and intended to prevent property deterioration and neighborhood blight in designated rental inspection districts and to promote safe, decent and sanitary residential rental dwelling units for citizens by requiring property building maintenance and continued compliance with applicable building regulations.
Purpose and Intent
Residential dwelling and building standards provide protection for citizens and neighborhoods by ensuring sub-standard living conditions are reduced. In 1993 the City of Lynchburg first adopted the minimum building maintenance and residential rental dwelling standards for properties within the city limits in order to produce thriving, attractive, safe neighborhoods and enhance citizen’s quality of life. The City’s Residential Rental Inspection Program began its enforcement process in 2005 based on the designated rental inspection districts (see district map). Rentals are added to the rental inspection program upon discovery, new ownership or based on City Assessor data.
The Residential Rental Inspection Districts consist of:
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Lynchburg City Rental Program Process
- The rental property owner(s) registered with Lynchburg City Assessor's office is referred to as; "the responsible party" for all correspondence material and documentation, mailed either manual or digital, from the Inspections Division related to: Rental Inspections Program, Virginia Laws, City Codes, and related resources provided below.
- An Annual Residential Rental Inspection Notice indicating date and time of the scheduled inspection, plus any fees associated with the inspection, is mailed to the owner of record (based on data from the Assessor's office).
- Non-Owner occupied units (including family) and Rent-to-Own type contracts units are considered as a rental (not unless, the purchaser or family member is recorded as a co-owner documented with the Assessor's office). Please be advised: The owner of record must provide the Assessor's office with the proper documentation to make the required change. Once the change has been documented, it is the owner's responsibility to contact the Rental Administrator of the change. City Assessor's Office: 434-455-3830.
- It is the responsibility of the owner to notify hired rental management agencies and/or occupant of the scheduled rental inspection date and time.
- For an inspection time to be rescheduled, please call 48 hours prior to scheduled inspection time at 434-455-3922 or email email@example.com for a new inspection date and time.
- There is a charge of $50.00 for the initial rental inspection. The first follow-up inspection is at no charge. Further follow-up inspections (#2 rental, #3 rental and no-show rentals) are an additional $50.00.
- Please make all checks payable to the City of Lynchburg. Cash or credit card payments along with the Inspection of Residential Rental Unit letter/bill, is available at the Billings and Collections window, Monday- Friday 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM (online rental fee payment through the "Citylink" is not available at this time).
If no violations are cited or minor violations are abated within a reasonable time, a 4-four-year waiver and a Certificate of Compliance are issued. Rental fees must be paid no later than 30 days after the initial rental inspection. Payment after 30 days will result in a 1-one-year Certificate of Compliance being issued. After the 4-four-year certificate expires, a rental inspection will be scheduled.
- If violations are cited and not abated within a reasonable period of time, a 1-one-year Certificate of Compliance is issued. After the 1-one or 4-four year certificate expires a rental inspection will be scheduled.
- Courtesy Residential Rental Inspection Program Section 8/Certificate of Compliance exemption waiver: Rental dwellings which are contracted with the LRHA Section 8/HUD Housing Assistance Program are required to supply a current "Notification of Rent" or verification letter from LRHA confirming an inspection was conducted and is in compliance with the current International Property Maintenance Code minimal habitable standards. Please send verification to the Rental Program Administrator's email/mail address below in order to exempt the residential rental inspection fees and waive inspection. Verification is subject to an annual review and must be resubmitted each year to remain exempt from the Residential Rental Inspection Program. Rental units within Lynchburg City's designated Rental Inspection Districts which are not registered with the city, are not eligible for a courtesy Rental Certificate of Compliance.
- Rental units/cases under new ownership become void. A new case must be opened and inspected in order to receive a valid Rental Certificate of Compliance and or Residential Rental Inspection Program Section 8 Exemption Waiver.
Rental Program Links and Related Resources
Lynchburg City Rental Program Links
- Residential Rental Inspection Program Brochure with Rental Inspection Checklist : Updated 2/27/2015
- Lynchburg Assessor's Office Real Estate Rehabilitation and Renovation Program
- Guide to Proactive Rental Inspection Programs
- Request for Repair 14 Day Notice (Print two copies to send and save for your records)
- Virginia Property Maintenance Code 2012
- International Property Maintenance Code
- Code of Virginia (Section 36-105.1:1) (State Code)
- City Code (Chapter 35.1 Zoning) Also see definition under "F" for definition of "Family"
- Rental Exemption for Section 8 - Verification Sample Letter or on LRHA letterhead,signed with approved voucher start and end dates
Code Compliance Property Maintenance Public Education Series
- Water Damage Education Video ~ Aired May 1, 2015 on Lynchburg LTV 360 Program
- Water Damage Prevention Presentation
- Rental Program City Council Presentation May 26, 2015
- City Council Work Session Rental Program Video (marker 1:09:45 to 1:43:40) May 26, 2015
Related Resources Links
- Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act 2014
- YouTube Video - Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
- VA Legal Aid Landlord and Tenant Issues
- Becoming a Landlord ~ Fannie Mae Guide (Landlord helpful resource)
- Healthy Housing Laws
- Virginia Fair Housing Laws
- Virginia DPOR Fair Housing Office
- Virginia Fair Housing and Hoarding as a Disability
- Hoarding /Clutter Image Scale (images 3-9 may be subject to violations)
- Institute for Challenging Disorganization Hoarding Levels Explained
- Virginia Fair Housing and Hoarding as a Disability
Helpful Money Saving Tips from Local Landlords and FriendsWood window won't stay up: window may or may not have window weight and or rope (dangerous for fingers and egress).
- Try Wood Window Tension Sash Springs - cost $3.00 and up for a pack of two.
Known locations near Lynchburg that stock window springs:
- Lynchburg - Bailey Spencer on Main Street
- Roanoke - Melrose Hardware
- Online - Search for Wood Window Tension Sash Springs
Energy Tips from Friends of AEP
Some energy ideas that may prove to be very beneficial:
- For instance where one tenant is paying for an incorrectly wired houses or duplexes... tell the tenant to cut their main breaker off for perhaps an hour or two and see if the neighbor complains. Or move their refrigerated items to a friends’ house and leave it off all day.
- If you turn on the hot water and add no cold water, will it burn you? If it does, you either need to lower the temperature on the thermostats or the water heater is malfunctioning.
- For heat season: Feel the larger of the two copper pipes coming out of the back of the heat pump (outside hvac unit). If your hvac/heating system is not getting hot when in the regular heating mode, you are running off of just emergency heat. The emergency heat is VERY expensive (the larger pipe is the one with the black insulation around it).
- Change your filter in the heating and cooling months, every time you receive an electric bill.
- Be sure the vents are open and clear of furniture.
- Consider fluorescent lighting.
- Create a form that allows the tenant to evaluate the electric bills of an apartment prior to renting it. This might be easy to incorporate into section 8 housing. It would be similar to the stickers you see on energy efficient appliances. If renters see the winter bills are extremely high they will not rent the unit. If the landlord cannot rent the unit due to high bills, he/she will be forced to improve it.
- If you would like to share a money saving tip, please email tip to: firstname.lastname@example.org (add wording "rental tip" in subject line)
Dana L. Horne, EdS., ICC/AACE
Rental Program Administrator/Code Compliance Inspector
900 Church Street - Inspections Division
Lynchburg, VA 24504
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