I was added as an occupant (not as the tenant) to the lease of an apartment in Alexandria, VA. I paid a $50 fee to management to run a credit check; all good so far.

A few months later, I moved out of the apartment and removed myself from the lease accordingly. The apartment building now wants to charge my former roommate (the tenant in the lease) $400 to remove me from the lease as an occupant.

This fee is nowhere to be found in the lease that my roommate initially signed, or the amendment we both signed afterwards when I was added to the lease. Can they legally charge this fee if it was not stated in the lease we signed?


Can they legally charge this fee if it was not stated in the lease we signed?

No. The landlord's conduct is in violation of Virginia Code § 55-248.7, which in its item G reads:

No unilateral change in the terms of a rental agreement by a landlord or tenant shall be valid unless (i) notice of the change is given in accordance with the terms of the rental agreement or as otherwise required by law and (ii) both parties consent in writing to the change.

Per your description of the lease, the fee of $400 is an unilateral change (by the landlord) to which you and the tenant never consented, let alone in writing.

You might still want to check whether Virginia Code § 55-248.37 applies to your situation at all, although the issue rather seems to be just the landlord's unilateral change.

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