Evicting a tenant in Virginia requires landlords to deliver an eviction notice to notify the tenant of their intent to evict after the state-mandated notice period if circumstances such as late rent or lease breaches aren’t remedied, or in instances of incurable violations, to bring further eviction actions to the General District Court by filing an Unlawful Detainer Action.
How to Evict
- Step 1 – Send Eviction Notice to Tenant
- Step 2 – Wait for Tenant Response
- Step 3 – File in Court
- Step 4 – Serve the Tenant
- Step 5 – Attend a Court Hearing
- Step 6 – Obtain a Writ of Eviction
- Step 7 – Repossess the Property
Landlords may begin informal (out of court) eviction proceedings by delivering one of the following notices to the tenant for the violation that corresponds with the appropriate offense.
- Non-Payment of Rent (14-Day Notice to Quit): Effective until March 1, 2021, landlords who own fewer than 4 rental units must notify tenants of their intent to evict if rent is unpaid when due, notifying them they have 14 days to pay after notice has been served. Landlords who own more than 4 rental units must also deliver a 14-day notice to tenants if rent is unpaid when due, however, they must also offer the tenant an option to begin a payment plan within the 14-day period consisting of equal payments monthly installments of the lesser of 6 months or the remaining lease period.1
- Non-Compliance (21/30-Day Notice to Quit): When a tenant violates terms in their lease agreement, a landlord must serve them notice of the violating act and give them 21 days to remedy the violation (if applicable) or the lease will terminate no less than 30 days after service of the notice.2 If the breach is remedied within the 21-day period, the lease will not terminate. If the breach is not curable, the landlord will notify the tenant of their violation and inform them the lease will be terminated no less than 30 days from delivery of notice.3
- Month to Month (30-Day Notice to Quit): Tenants and Landlords must deliver the other party 30 days’ notice of their intent to terminate a month-to-month tenancy.
Many non-payment and non-compliance evictions can be avoided within the notice period if and when the tenant responds to the notice and pays the amount due or cures the violation.
In all instances, if the tenant has neither communicated, paid rent due, cured the violation, or vacated the premises by the end of the notice period, the landlord may choose to file an Unlawful Detainer Action.
- Average Processing Time: Less than 21 days4
- Filing Fees: $1515
- Where to File: General District Court
A sheriff of the county, a person over the age of 18 who is not involved in the case, or a professional process server can serve the tenant their court summons, which must be done no less than 10 days prior to the court’s scheduled hearing.6
The Summons may be delivered to the tenant personally. If the tenant is unavailable, a copy may be left with a family member of the tenant, posted at the rental unit in a conspicuous place and mailing another copy to the address, or if ordered by the court, by announcing in a publication.7
A hearing will be set within 30 days of the landlord filing their complaint with the court.8 If the tenant does not appear for their hearing, the court may rule in favor of the landlord, but the landlord should still submit any official paperwork to the court as evidence, including the lease agreement and any documentation of unpaid rent or damages.9
A ruling in favor of the landlord will result in the court issuing a writ of eviction. The landlord must request the writ within 180 days of the ruling and once issued, it must be executed within 30 days or the writ will be vacated, requiring the landlord to begin the process again if they still wish to have the tenant removed from the property.10
Once the writ of eviction is to be executed, the tenant must be given no less than 72 hours’ notice along with the rights afforded to them. A sheriff should execute the writ within 15 calendar days of the date they receive the order and no later than 30 days after.11
Video: Evictions in Virginia
- § 55.1-1245.F
- § 55.1-1245.A
- § 55.1-1245 C
- § 8.01-293.1 – § 8.01-293.3
- § 8.01-296
- § 8.01-126.B
- § 8.01-126.D
- § 8.01-471
- § 8.01-470