How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Christopher B, Esq Your Own Question
Christopher B, Esq
Christopher B, Esq, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 2983
Experience:  Litigation Attorney
Type Your Landlord-Tenant Question Here...
Christopher B, Esq is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I rented a 2 bedroom basement apartment in Fairfax county in

Customer Question

I rented a 2 bedroom basement apartment in Fairfax county Virginia in June 2015 and found out in November 2015 that the apartment was illegal. I received a visit from the county code compliance office and the apartment did not have a occupancy permit and the bedroom with a window did not have an egress window and the other bedroom did not have a window. The apartment also had mold and standing water behind the crawl space in the hot water tank room, which I was not aware of. The compliance officer posted a notice on both bedroom doors stating that they could not be occupied. I vacated the apartment the next day since I was unable to access the entire unit. I paid the rent for November on October 28th 2015 am I entitled to a refund for November rent Also the landlord kept $750.00 of my $1350.00 deposit. I left the apartment in better condition then when I rented it. I made repairs and shampooed the carpets and wiped any smudges from the walls and cleaned the bathroom and wet bar/ kitchen area. Would I be entitled to a full refund of all rent and deposit paid? The apartment was advertised as a 2 bedroom and I was unaware it was illegal
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 year ago.

My name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney client relationship.

A landlord must make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to maintain a dwelling in fit and habitable condition. The landlord must:
1) Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times, air conditioning (where installed) and reasonable heat in season.
2) Maintain in good and safe working order all electrical, heating, plumbing, sanitation, ventilation, air conditioning, and other facilities (including those required by any state or local housing or health code) and appliances supplied, or required to be supplied, by the landlord.
3) Keep all common areas clean and in structurally safe condition and provide and maintain appropriate waste receptacles in common areas shared by two or more dwelling units.
4) Provide and maintain in common areas appropriate receptacles for collection, storage, and removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste within the expected range when two or more dwelling units dispose of trash there.
5) Maintain premises to prevent the accumulation of moisture and the growth of mold.
6) Comply with requirements of applicable building, housing, health, and fire codes. (Landlords must also comply with local zoning ordinances limiting the number of occupants in a dwelling unit.)
A landlord may be liable for the tenant’s actual damages caused by the landlord’s failure to perform these responsibilities.

If you did not have access to your property then you landlord could not charge you rent and you should get a refund but it sounds like you will need to take the landlord to small claims court. See link for Virginia landlord/tenant handbook for your rights:

During the tenancy the tenant must be given written notification of any deductions which will be made from a security deposit. The deductions must be itemized and sent to a tenant within 30 days of the deduction unless the deductions occur less than 30 days prior to the termination of the rental agreement.
A landlord may withhold money from a security deposit for the collection of unpaid rent (including late fees) and damages caused by a tenant beyond reasonable wear and tear. A dwelling must be left clean and free of all items belonging to the tenant. Any cleaning costs that are made necessary by the conditions the tenant left behind may be deducted from the security deposit. Any evidence of the condition before and after you moved in would be very helpful, especially visual evidence. It will be difficult for you landlord to withhold your deposit based on the information you have given considering the property was not fit and in livable condition. You should retain a local Virginia landlord/tenant attorney (see or and search for your area) to enforce your rights in this situation.

Please let me know if you have any further questions and please positively rate my answer as it is the only way I will be compensated for my time by the site.

Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Are you there? Did you have any further questions?