I'm a Virginia landlord with a difficult tenant. I've given the tenant the proper Virginia termination notice, but he still won't leave. What next? What is the Virginia eviction process?
UPDATED: February 13, 2020
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If you have already properly served the tenant with any one of the available Virginia termination notices and the tenant still will not leave, you may begin a lawsuit by filing a Summons for Lawful Detainer with the General District Court in the county of the premises. A filing fee may apply. At the request of the landlord, the summons may be served on the tenant by a Sheriff.
At trial, after considering all the evidence brought by both you and the tenant, the judge will decide whom to grant possession of the property and what costs will be awarded. If the landlord wins, it will be 10 days before further action can be taken. During those 10 days, the tenant may appeal the decision of the court. If the tenant does not leave or appeal, the landlord may then file a Request for Writ of Possession in Unlawful Detainer Proceedings, which will then be sent to the Sheriff's office. The Sheriff's office will contact you to schedule the eviction within the next 30 days. The tenant is given at least 72 hours notice prior to the scheduled eviction. If the tenant does not leave, the landlord may then arrange for a Sheriff to do a full eviction or lock change. If a full eviction is performed, the Sheriff may require the landlord to provide several adults or moving equipment to remove the tenant's belongings. If the landlord chooses to have a lock change eviction, the tenant is still allowed to remove their belongings over the next 24 hours. After that, the landlord can sell or destroy them. If the tenant then remains on the property, or returns after 24 hours, they are trespassing.
Eviction can be a complicated process, so if you're feeling overwhelmed by the legal procedure, you can always seek the advice and counsel of a Virginia evictions attorney.