In Virginia, a person is a tenant when both the landlord and the tenant agree that the tenant has the right to occupy the rental property without requiring the permission of someone else. SeeVa Code § 55-248.4 (definition of tenant).
Information for Landlords
You should have an attorney. When working with Legal Services, I would often win cases for tenants because the landlord had made a mistake that an attorney would have easily caught.
Virginia law broadly defines rent as all money listed in the lease that the tenant pays the landlord, except for the security depost. Va. Code § 55-248.4 (definition of rent). For this reason, courts will often consider unpaid utility fees as unpaid rent for the purposes of eviction, assuming the utility fee is included in the lease.
Information for Tenants
Think of your relationship with your landlord like a business relationship. Both you and your landlord are getting something out of the deal. Try not to take anything personally, and always try to work out any potential problems, like not being able to make the rent this month, before it becomes a legal issue.