Virginia Eviction Process & Laws | Free VA Eviction Notices

The Virginia eviction, or 'ejectment', is a legal procedure that begins with the tenant violating their lease and the landlord reacting by sending a notice to quit. The landlord may also send the notice if they desire to end a month to month tenancy. If in either case, the tenant does not respond, then the landlord has the right to file for an eviction in the the Circuit Court. The landlord will need to complete the Civil Cover Sheet and Summons to file an ejectment. The tenant will be able to have their say in court and by filing the Answer that will be sent to them when a case has been presented. In addition, the tenant should review Their Rights (Guide) when entering an unlawful detainer case.

NonPayment Laws - 5 days § 55-225

NonCompliance Laws - 21 days to comply and 30 days if the tenant elects to vacate § 55-248.31

Month to Month Laws - 30 days § 55-248.37(A)

Unlawful Entry or Detainer Laws - Chapter 13.2 (Residential Landlord and Tenant Act)

Types of Notice

Virginia 21/30 Day Notice to Quit | NonCompliance

The Virginia 21/30 day notice to quit, in accordance with Statute 55-248.31, is a document that is given by the landlord to the tenant for a violation in the lease agreement (for any reason other than late rent). The tenant shall have the first twenty one (21) days to correct the…

Virginia 30 Day Lease Termination Letter | Month to Month Tenancy

The Virginia thirty (30) day lease termination letter, because of § 55-248.37(A), may be used by a landlord (or tenant) to terminate a monthly rental agreement. Although no specific reason is needed to terminate a month-to-month tenancy, the termination cannot be in discrimination of the tenant’s race, gender, age, religious affiliation, etc….

Virginia 5 Day Notice to Pay or Quit | NonPayment of Rent

The Virginia five (5) day notice to pay or quit, in regards to § 55-225, is used when a tenant has failed to pay rent. The landlord must serve this notice on the tenant (and allow them the full 5 day period to pay the past due rent) before an eviction…

Process How to Evict a Tenant

“Self-help” evictions are not legal in the State of Virginia. The only way that a landlord can evict a tenant is by filing an eviction lawsuit and obtaining a court order. The two most common reasons for eviction are nonpayment of rent, and failure to adhere to the lease agreement. There are four main steps to the eviction process, each step is outlined below.

Step 1 – The landlord must serve the tenant with an eviction notice. If the tenant has failed to pay rent, they must receive a five (5) day notice to pay/quit. This notice allows the tenant five days to either pay the past due rent, or vacate the rental unit. If the tenant has committed a lease violation, they are required to be served with the 21/30 day notice to cure/quit. This notice gives the tenant 21 days to cure the violation(s), if they do not cure the violation(s) within the 21 day period, they must vacate the unit by the 30th day of the notice period. Month-to-month or “at-will” tenancies can be terminated for any reason, however the tenant must receive a minimum of 30 days notice.

Note: If the tenant pays the past due rent within the notice period, they have the right to remain in possession of the rental property.

Step 2 – If the tenant does not pay the rent, or fails to cure the violation(s), the next step is for the landlord to file an eviction action in court (referred to as a “Summons for Unlawful Detainer”). After the complaint/summons has been filed (and the landlord has proven that the required notice was given to the tenant), the court will send the tenant a copy of the summons. The summons will inform the tenant of when they must appear in court (known as the “first return date”). The tenant must show up to court on this date, otherwise a default judgement will be ruled against them (granting the landlord possession of the property). If the tenant shows up to court on the first return date and denies the allegations made by the landlord, a trial date will be set up. If the tenant admits to not paying rent or being in breach of the lease agreement, the judge will most likely grant the landlord a judgement for the unpaid rent (as well as a “Writ of Possession”).

Step 3 – If the case goes to trial, both parties (landlord and tenant) must show up in court on the trial date. If the landlord wins the case, they must file a “Request for Writ of Possession.” The request can be filed up to one year after the judgement has been made. The court will forward the writ to the Sheriff, who will then execute it within 15-30 days (from when the court issued it). The tenant will receive 72 hours notice of the eviction date.

Step 4 – There are two types of evictions; the 24-hour lock change, and the “full” eviction. Most landlords choose to do a 24-hour lock change eviction simply because it costs less and is usually easier to deal with. If the landlord decides to do a 24-hour eviction, they must hire a locksmith to change all of the exterior locks, and then must allow the tenant 24 hours to remove their property/possessions from the rental unit. After the 24 hour period has lapsed, the possessions of the tenant become property of the landlord. In a “full” eviction, the landlord must hire a locksmith to switch the locks out, and then must hire workers to remove the possessions of the tenant from the rental property. The Sheriff will oversee the eviction process, and may require the landlord to purchase moving boxes (as well as a truck) for the possessions of the tenant.