When you have a problem with your rental property in Virginia and your landlord isn't fixing it, consider paying your rent in escrow. An escrow account, set up by your local court, holds your rent money and forces the landlord to address the alleged property violation in court. Once an escrow account is set up, pay rent into it until the issue is decided by a judge. Reasons for escrow include uninhabitable living conditions and violations of the lease by the landlord. Keep evidence like photographs, notes and voice mails for the hearing.
Write a letter to the landlord describing the problem. Say that you plan to begin paying your rent into escrow if it is not fixed by the time your next rental payment is due.
Make a copy of the letter for your records. Send the letter from the post office; request a certificate of mailing for proof that you've sent it.
Go to your local courthouse if the repairs are not completed by the deadline. Explain to the clerk that you want to pay your rent into escrow because the landlord has not made the changes after being notified of the issue and an appropriate waiting period.
Request a Tenant's Assertion and Complaint form. Fill it out, listing your landlord or property management company as the defendant. You must have the correct address so the defendant can be served. Write your own name and address. Describe your problem and affirm that your rent has been paid to the court within five days of the payment due date.
If you plan on calling witnesses, have those names and addresses too.
Ask to file the form. The fee is $30 at the time of publication. A court date will be set when you file the form.
Pay in person when you file the form or through the mail by certified check or money order. Make all payments out to the clerk of court.
Attend the court date. Explain the problem, showing evidence like photographs, your lease or voice mail messages.
Consider hiring an attorney before filing your complaint. Legal aid services that operate on a sliding scale are available in most Virginia counties.
You are not eligible to pay rent to escrow if you've had more than three nonpayment of rent notices in the past 12 months.