What Is the Eviction Process in Virginia
Under Virginia landlord/tenant law, there are two reasons why a landlord may move to evict a tenant: for failing to pay the rent or for failing to comply with the obligations of the leasing agreement. Each method has its own notice that must be written and given to the tenant in a verifiable manner.
1. A 5 day notice to quit or pay is required for tenants who have failed to pay their rent. This gives the tenant 5 days [not business days] to pay the amount owed or move out of the property. Payment of rent cancels the notice.
2. A 30 day letter is required for leasing agreement violations. Although it requires the tenant to move in 30 days of receiving the notice, there are only 21 days allowed to correct the violation in question. Correcting the issue will cancel the notice.
If tenants do not satisfy the written stipulations to remain with the rental property, then landlords may move to the next step of the eviction process. That means filing for a summons for unlawful detainer. The court requires evidence of the proper notices and upon receiving it, a first return date will be issued. This is an initial hearing where the judge will ask the tenant about their role in the summons. Tenants who deny the allegations presented by their landlord will be given a trial date. It may also require landlords to file what is known as the Bill of Particulars, which explains why taking possession of the property is necessary. If the tenant admits to the allegations or fails to appear, the landlord may ask for an immediate Writ of Possession for the eviction and a judgment for any unpaid rent. If the case goes to trial and a judge finds in the landlord's favor then the same process will follow. Tenants may file an appeal by posting a bond with the court to cover all money owed to the landlord plus up to 1 year of rent.
There Are Two Types of Evictions
A 24 hour lock change is typically used because it is cheaper than a traditional “full” eviction and the landlord is given possession of the property. Another 24 hours is allowed for the tenant to remove items, but tenants are not allowed to occupy the premises. After this, tenant property may be destroyed or sold. Full evictions place tenant property in the public right of way and the Sheriff's Office is responsible for tenant and property removal. The eviction laws of Virginia are design to make the process as fast and smooth as possible. Follow this guide and document everything to make sure your rights as a landlord are prot
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