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Virginia Eviction Notice basics

Virginia Eviction Notices are the first step in the legal eviction process. This notice lets your tenants know that if they do no comply with the terms of the notice that you'll file an eviction lawsuit.

Use the Virginia Eviction Notice document if:

  • Your tenant has failed to pay the rent.
  • Your tenant has violated any provision of the lease or rental agreement.
  • You wish to terminate a month-to-month tenancy.
  • The lease has expired and the tenant has remained on the property.

We provide notices suitable for cause and no cause evictions. In Virginia, delivering an Eviction Notice is the first step in the formal eviction process. In most cases, this notice must be delivered before you can file with the courts.

Other names for this document: 5-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, 30-Day Notice to Cure or Quit, 30-Day Notice to Quit

Evictions in Virginia

Evictions are common in Virginia. You likely know someone who has gone through the process. The laws lean towards favoring the landlord, so if you go through the eviction process properly, you will most likely not encounter any problems obtaining a court-ordered eviction. Our notices are suitable for cause and no-cause evictions.

What information is needed to make an Eviction Notice?

We provide 5-Day and 30-Day Eviction Notices suitable for use in Virginia. 5-Day notices are used when a tenant is late paying rent. 30-Day notices are for other types of situations such as lease violations or the ending of a month-to-month tenancy.

To make an Eviction Notice, you'll need to enter the following information:

  • Addresses of property and contact information for landlord or property management company
  • Names of every person included in the lease (or who the notice will be addressed to)
  • Whether a lease exists or not, date of the lease if applicable
  • Type of eviction: failure to pay rent, lease violation, ending of month-to-month lease, expired lease
  • Type of rent: month-to-month or week-to-week

Once you enter in the above information, the notice will automatically generate for you with the required legal language for the state of Virginia. The document builder will select the correct type of Eviction Notice for you based on the answers to the interview questions. You can download the completed document in Word or PDF format. You can also log in to your account at any time to edit the document. Keep copies of the served notices for your records. If you need a different type of property management document, see our essential landlord documents.

How to serve an Eviction Notice

You can deliver an Eviction Notice in person, send it by mail, or pay to have it delivered. In some areas, you can pay the local sheriff's department to deliver the notice for you. You need to deliver a copy to every person named on the lease. Keep copies of the notices for your records and the dates that they were delivered.

When do I not need to provide notice?

You can skip serving an Eviction Notice and go straight to filing with the courts if the renter commits a criminal act that endangers the property or other tenants. Criminal acts include illegal drug activities.

How do I file for a court-ordered eviction?

You have to wait five days after you deliver the notice, not counting Sundays, to file with the courts. To proceed with the eviction you will file an Unlawful Detainer Action in the local General District Court, Civil Division. Your court date will be assigned within 30 days. If the judge approves the eviction, a Writ of Possession will be issued. If your tenant does not move, the sheriff may forcibly remove them.

Can I perform the eviction on my own?

No, you must win your eviction case and then only a law enforcement officer can remove your tenant. You can negotiate with your tenant, make payment arrangements or even kindly let them know that they need to move because you are selling the property. But you cannot "make" them move and you cannot use strongarm tactics in an attempt to make them move.

Avoid "self-help" eviction actions such as:

  • Changing the locks
  • Blocking entryways
  • Turning off utilities
  • Harassing or calling excessively
  • Moving a tenant's belongings

If you don't follow the legal process you might lose your eviction case and your tenants may even sue you. You may also be required to give all of their deposit back. You also cannot evict for reasons based on discrimination or retaliation. If the details of an eviction are complicated, you may want to talk to a lawyer who specializes in tenant-landlord laws in your area.

Virginia Evictions: Tenant Rights

Virginia has some of the highest eviction rates in the nation. In 2016, roughly one in nine renters were issued eviction judgments in Richmond alone. If you find yourself being evicted, you are not alone and you do have rights. If you have paid your rent and have not violated your lease, you may benefit from finding affordable legal representation in your area to help you.

Here are a few answers to common eviction questions specific to Virginia

How much time do I have to pay rent?
You have five days from the date you receive notice to pay rent or move without going to court. If you do not pay rent or move, your landlord can start the formal eviction process. Once they file, you need to pay rent before the court date in order to stop a non-payment eviction. If you do not pay the money owed and the landlord wins the eviction case, you have roughly two weeks to move before you are forcibly removed.

What is Acceptance of Rent with Reservation?
This means your landlord may accept your rent payment but reserves the right to continue with the eviction process if they choose to. In some cases, there may be more than one reason your landlord wants to evict you. They may want to go to court to resolve the issue.

Should I attend the court proceeding?
Yes, in Virginia if you do not show up in court you automatically lose your case. Even if you cannot pay all of the back rent, you may still benefit from going to court. The eviction trial may be your last chance to bargain with your landlord for lowering the amount you owe or accepting a payment plan.

What is a Right of Redemption?
A Right of Redemption is a law that tenants can use to protect themselves from a non-payment eviction. This right, which can only be used once per 12 months, allows tenants to stop the eviction process by paying all money owed before the court date. "All" money owed may include late fees, court fees and the current month's rent. If you want to exercise this right, consult a with an attorney to make sure you handle everything correctly.

What happens if I'm evicted in Virginia?
You will have an eviction and judgment added to your public record and you may have a harder time renting in the future. In Virginia, if you are evicted the landlord doesn't have to give you notice about what they are going to do with property you were not able to move in time. If you are evicted and couldn't move your things they may be moved outside to a public location, such as the curb. You have 24 hours to reclaim your items. After 24 hours they can dispose of your property in any way they choose. If they sell it, they may put the proceeds towards paying off your debt.

If you want to learn more about basic tenant rights, see our tenant's legal help center.

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Sample Virginia Eviction Notice

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