- Becoming Rent Ready
- Benefits of Being Rent Ready Certified
- Preparing For a Renter
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Common City Standards
- Helpful Resources
Why become a certified landlord?
One of the many benefits of being Rent Ready is Rent Ready Norfolk makes the process of being a landlord or property manager easier for you. You are provided a comprehensive source of information, services and resources related to renting and being a landlord or property manager in one location and have a team of individuals ready to assist you if you need it to navigate the process of renting out your unit(s) and preparing for your next renter. Being Rent Ready, you will become a more informed landlord or property manager, have access to free and quality services, have access to free and quality resources and have access to exclusive benefits of being Rent Ready.
Get Certified in Three Easy Steps
- Complete a Rent Ready Norfolk Landlord Enrollment Form - The completion of the Rent Ready Norfolk Landlord Enrollment Form will confirm your participation in Rent Ready Norfolk program and allow access to all of program incentives.
- Complete an Initial Courtesy Quality Assessment - The completion of a quality assessment will involve the evaluation of the property's interior, exterior and common area, and the property receiving a score of 2 or higher on the evaluation.
- Complete the Rental Academy's Good Landlord Track - The completion of the Good Landlord Track can be completed by either Option 1 or Option 2 of the track. The option(s) consist of:
- Option 1: This option will require you to complete four (4) Core courses and two (2) electives of your choice.
- Option 2: This option will require you to receive an 80% or higher on the Quality Landlord Test and complete three (3) courses (1 core course & 2 elective courses) from the Good Landlord Track.
Once you have completed each step of the Rent Ready Norfolk process, your property will be designated as Rent Ready for a period of twelve (12) months, until it must be re-certified. For each property you want to be certified as Rent Ready during the period when one of your properties is designated as Rent Ready, each new property must complete a quality assessment and emergency notification application, if applicable, but you will not need to re-take the Good Landlord Track.
Annual Maintenance of Your Status
Annual maintenance of your Rent Ready Norfolk status for each of your properties will require the completion of the following steps:
- Completion of an Annual Quality Assessment
- Completion of the Good Landlord Continuing Education Training
Benefits of Being Rent Ready
One of the many the benefits of being Rent Ready is Rent Ready Norfolk makes the process of being a landlord or property manager easier for you. You are provided a comprehensive source of information, services and resources related to renting and being a landlord or property manager in one location and have a team of individuals ready to assist you if you need it to navigate the process of renting out your unit(s) and preparing for your next renter. Being Rent Ready, you will:
Become a More Informed Landlord or Property Manager
- You will have a better understanding of your roles and responsibilities as a landlord or property manager and you will learn what your renter’s roles and responsibilities are as well. Thus, leaving little room for misunderstanding as it relates to your lease and the unit(s) or home you will rent out.
- You will be able to make better decisions when it comes to creating a lease that meets the standards of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Code of Virginia, renting out your unit(s) or home, selecting and qualifying a renter for your property, and maintenance of your property.
- You will have a blueprint to make your property management and renting experience easier for you and your renter(s) because Rent Ready Norfolk will lay out a road map to make your experience successful.
Have Access to Free and Quality Services
- Quality Assessment: Before your renter moves into your property, you can request a quality assessment of your unit’s interior, exterior, and common areas to ensure your unit is "Rent Ready."
- Workshops: Understanding property management and the renting process is now easier with workshops available twice per month on topics on, such as but are not limited to, VRLTA-Rights and Responsibilities as a Landlord, Fair Housing, Property Management: A Reliable Landlord, and Property Maintenance: Keeping Up the Quality. Workshops are offered to first-time and current landlords or property managers—it is never too early or too late to understand the property management and renting process.
- Property Listing: Marketing your properties has now gotten easier with our online property search engine that allows potential renters to view your units or properties as long as your properties or unit(s) are certified as “Rent Ready.” For more information, click here to learn how your property can become Rent Ready.
Have Access to Free and Quality Resources
- Landlord and Tenant Relations Officer can assist you with any rental-related concerns. This resource is available when issues arise between a landlord and a tenant and/or when general advice is needed. For assistance, please contact the City’s Landlord-Tenant Officer, Denise Wilson, CHC at 757-664-6782.
- Norfolk Cares Center is a single point of contact for residents, businesses, and visitors. Through Norfolk Cares, residents can request a city service, obtain information on city services, or receive an update on a previous request for city services. Norfolk Cares also serves as the non-emergency hotline for the City of Norfolk. To request a service and/or learn about a city service, please contact the Norfolk Cares Center at 757-664-6510 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Neighborhood Quality is committed to effectively improving the life of the residents of Norfolk and the preservation of their neighborhoods through the enforcement of applicable building and property regulations aimed at the protection of public health, safety, and welfare. For assistance, please contact Neighborhood Quality through Norfolk Cares at 757-664-6510 or e-mail email@example.com
Access to Exclusive Benefits of Being Rent Ready
- Rental Rehabilitation Program provides necessary funding for repairs to smaller rental projects. The program provides financing of up to $50,000, per unit in the form of a deferred payment loan. A deferred payment, secured loan amortized over a 10-year period at a low interest. This forgivable loan will require no monthly payment as long as all program requirements are met during the loan period. The balance will be forgiven at the end of the loan period.
- Marketing for your properties and/or unit(s) will become more affordable. You can list and market your certified properties or unit(s) on our website for free — there is no limit to the amount of units or properties you can list.
- Good Neighbor Status working with Rent Ready Norfolk will assist you with building and maintaining a reputation as a high-quality landlord or property manager. Rent Ready Norfolk works with residents, civic leagues, community partners, anchor institutions and other city departments throughout the City of Norfolk and partnering with and being an active participant in the Rent Ready Norfolk program will designated you to Good Neighbor Status to the City of Norfolk and it neighborhoods, once the criteria of Rent Ready Norfolk has been fulfilled.
For more information on Rent Ready Norfolk, services, or resources, please contact us at by phone at 757-664-RENT or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Preparing For a Renter
Now that you have screened potential renters and chosen the best fit, it is time to prepare the property for the renter to move in. These are recommended steps for landlords to take to make this process as smooth as possible.
Repair Damages, Health and Safety Issues
Repair all existing damages such as, but are not limited to, broken windows, broken doors, and holes in the wall before the renter arrives. Check and resolve life, health and safety issues before the renter arrives. This includes, but are not limited to, ensuring that all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly, checking for signs of mold, pest/rodents, and water damage. If the unit does not have smoke detectors, install them in near the kitchen, in the hall, and in each bedroom before the renter arrives or contact the City of Norfolk’s Fire-Rescue Department to schedule a smoke alarm installation today by calling the Norfolk Cares Center at (757) 664-6510 or completing an online form.
Clean the unit’s kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, halls, and common area. Remove debris and trash by vacuuming and sweeping, and have the units exterminated even if there are no signs of pest.
Heating, Plumbing, and Electricity Are Working Properly
Before the renter takes responsibility of the unit’s utilities, check to see if the heating, plumbing, and electricity is working properly. Check to make sure that the heat works in all the unit’s rooms, check to make sure there are no clogs or leaks in plumbing, and outlets and lighting in each room are operational.
Always change the locks to the doors of the unit before a new renter moves in for their safety and to protect you from liability.
Landlord's Rights & Responsibilities
As a landlord or property manager in Commonwealth of Virginia, you need to be aware of your roles and responsibilities as it relates to the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, Chapter 13-Landlord and Tenant, and Fair Housing.
Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (VRLTA), establishes the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords. The VRLTA applies to all single-family and multifamily residential dwelling units located in Virginia. Landlords who own no more than two single-family residential dwelling units subject to a rental agreement may opt out of the VRLTA by stating so in the rental agreement.
Chapter 13 - Landlord and Tenant
Code of Virginia's Chapter 13 of the Virginia code applies if the landlord is exempt from the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (VRLTA) and expressly opts out of the VRLTA by stating in the rental agreement. Section Codes 55-225.01 through 55-225.48 of Chapter 13 will apply.
Fair Housing Law
Federal and state fair housing law protects people from discrimination when trying to rent an apartment, buy a house, obtain a mortgage, or purchase homeowner's insurance. Fair housing requirements apply to all housing providers: property managers, owners, landlords, real estate agents, banks, savings institutions, credit unions, insurance companies, mortgage lenders, and appraisers.
Common City Standards
Like most cities, the City of Norfolk has standards in place to maintain attractive, safe and livable neighborhoods. Neighborhoods remain appealing when each member of the neighborhood reinforces the values of both the city and neighborhood. To ensure that Norfolk’s neighborhoods remains attractive, safe and livable it is important for you, as a landlord or a renter, to always:
- Cut your grass
- Place trash in city designated trash cans
- Remove the trash can from collection area after trash collection day
- Schedule bulk waste pick up for large items
- Park your car where parking is allowed
- Remove inoperable cars from residential areas
- Be respectful of your personal noise level
- Schedule quarterly preventative pest control maintenance
- Have working smoke detectors in all rooms and halls in your unit or home
- Be aware that single family residences, when rented, may only be rented to four unrelated people together on one lease regardless of the size of the house and number of rooms. It is also illegal to list or rent out individual rooms.
- Charting Your Course - The City of Norfolk’s property owner guide to increasing rental property value and enhancing property management. For more information click here.
- Federal & Virginia Fair Housing Act - The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting, buying, or securing financing for housing. The prohibitions specifically cover discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and the presence of children. Virginia Fair Housing Office is responsible for investigating housing discrimination complaint, to file a complaint Click here
- How to be a Successful Renter - Prepared by the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) this eBook is designed to help be a successful renter. Click here to download the eBook.
- Landlord and Tenant Relations Officer - The City of Norfolk’s Landlord & Tenant Relations Officer aids landlords and renters with any rental related concerns and is available when issues arise between a landlord and a tenant and/or when general advice is needed by either landlord or renter. For assistance, contact Norfolk’s Landlord & Tenant Relations Officer, Denise Wilson, CHC at: (757) 664-6782 or email@example.com
- Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia - Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia (Legal Aid) provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income residents of Hampton Roads. Legal Aid represents civil matters including landlord/tenant, public benefits, domestic violence, family law, consumer law, collections, estate planning, education and other civil rights and discrimination matters.
- Regent Law Clinic - Regent Law Clinic provides free legal services to low-income residents of the Tidewater area which includes Norfolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach. The clinic operates from August through December and January through April when classes are in session for the university.
- Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Handbook - The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant 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. Consulting a lawyer or the landlord for clarification of the rental agreement is advisable.