The eviction process in Virginia can be complex, which is why it is crucial for landlords to familiarize themselves with the process. If eviction becomes necessary, it is recommended that you hire an experienced attorney to assist you. The Virginia civil litigation attorneys at Taylor, Taylor & Taylor, Inc. have the knowledge and resources to walk you through every step of eviction proceedings, offer you legal advice, and help you successfully resolve any disputes.
Contact us by phone or online to discuss the specifics of your situation and how our team could help.
The Eviction Process in Virginia
Anyone enforcing an eviction in Virginia should know the primary stages of the eviction process. If a landlord fails to follow each step properly, the eviction may not be legitimate in the court’s eyes, and the court could dismiss the case and the tenant could continue to stay in place costing the landlord additional time and money.
Further, it is imperative to know whether your unique eviction situation falls inside or outside of the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act (the “Act”), as those subject to the Act must follow special and very specific rules.
Generally, here are the main steps in the eviction process:
Step One – Notify the Tenant
The first step in the process is for the landlord to notify the tenant of their intention to evict. The most common reason that Landlords may threaten eviction include:
- The tenant fails to pay rent;
- The tenant violates the terms of the lease in some other way; and
- One of the parties no longer wants to continue the lease.
For Failure to Pay Rent
Landlords are required to provide a five-day Notice to Pay or Quit to any tenant who has not paid their rent on time. Being subject to the Act, changes this notice period. As long as the tenant takes care of the outstanding amount in the applicable time, they should be safe from eviction. However, if the tenant does not pay within the appropriate time frame, they may be forced to vacate the property.
For Failure to Comply with the Lease in Some way
If the tenant has failed to comply with the lease in some way, the landlord must note whether or not the noncompliance is material and whether or not it can be cured.
If the noncompliance can be cured, the landlord must offer notice and a period of time to the tenant to fix the default. In these situations, a Notice of Material Noncompliance – 21/30 Day Notice to Quit is typically utilized. This means the tenant has 21 days to fix the issue(s) causing their material noncompliance, if they fail to fix it in 21 days they must vacate the premises in 30 days.
If the noncompliance cannot be cured, the landlord will send a tenant(s) a 30-Day Notice to Quit. This letter basically states that because of the material noncompliance, which is so serious that it is unable to be remedied, the tenant needs to move out 30 days from the day they received notice from the landlord.
One of the Parties No Longer Wants to Continue the Lease
Most written leases will provide for early termination on the part of a lessee and associated penalties for such termination. Written leases will also provide the amount of notice either party must provide to the other if they do not want the lease to continue at the end of the initial lease term. It is important to be aware of these notice requirements, as leases will generally continue on after the expiration of the initial lease term if the appropriate notice is not provided.
The required notice to terminate a lease that is coming to an end is typically found within the lease. For those on a month-to-month lease the notice period is 30 days. Notices of termination should always be provided in writing.
Step Two – File a Summons for Unlawful Detainer
If the tenant does not pay their outstanding rent or neglects to remedy a nonmaterial, nonmonetary violation of the terms of the lease, and does not voluntarily vacate within the appropriate period, then the landlord’s next step is to file a Summons for Unlawful Detainer. To file a valid summons, the landlord will have to prove that they notified the tenant in accordance with state requirements. The court will then schedule a hearing.
If a tenant denies the charges, their case will go to trial. If they accept or do not contest the charges, their landlord can request that the judge issue a Writ of Possession and a judgement for any overdue rent and late fees, if any.
If the tenant disputes the charges levied by the landlord, the case will go to trial, where a court will ultimately decide whether the tenant can be legally evicted or not. If the tenant is not happy with the judge’s ruling, they could contest the ruling through an appeal, which they will have ten days to file.
Step Three – File a Request for Writ of Possession
The eviction process can formally begin if the tenant declines to fight the charges or the landlord succeeds during litigation. The landlord can officially begin the eviction by filing a request for a Writ of Possession no later than one year after the ruling. The local sheriff’s office will receive a copy of the writ and will typically execute it within 15 to 30 days, and the tenant will typically be given about three days’ notice before the eviction occurs.
Contact Taylor, Taylor & Taylor, Inc.
Contact a Virginia landlord/tenant issues lawyer at Taylor, Taylor & Taylor, Inc. if you are dealing with a matter that requires eviction in Glen Allen or elsewhere in Virginia. While the eviction process can be daunting and stressful no matter which side you are on, our team has the experience and resources necessary to help you seek the best resolution possible for your situation.
Reach out to us right away to discuss your rights as a landlord and how our eviction attorneys could help.