How to Evict Someone in Virginia

By Kelli Cooper
How to Evict Someone in Virginia

Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

When a tenant fails to pay rent or adhere to any provisions set forth in a lease, you have the right to evict said tenant from the property. You cannot, however, simply throw the tenant and his belongings out on the street and change the locks. Each state has its own laws regarding the eviction process. In Virginia, the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act outlines the laws with regard to evicting a tenant.

Send written notice to the tenant regarding the issue. If the proposed eviction results from failure to pay rent, the landlord must provide five days' notice to rectify the issue before resorting to legal action. If the proposed eviction stems from any other violation of the lease, the landlord must give the tenant 30 days' notice of intent to evict. If the problem can be rectified, the tenant has 21 days from the receipt of the notice to do so. The notice must come by certificate of mailing or posted at the residence by the county sheriff’s office. A certificate of mailing is a document showing proof the mail was presented to the post office for mailing. The landlord would purchase this at the post office before sending the document.

Go to the General District Court in the county where the property is located and fill out an Application for a Summons in Unlawful Detainer. You must provide information such as the tenant’s name, address of the property, reason for eviction and confirmation that appropriate notice has been given. In this instance, a copy of the eviction notice, and documentation that you either mailed it or had the sheriff deliver it would be appropriate. The clerk will set a hearing date and have the sheriff’s office deliver the summons to the tenant.

Send a copy of the summons to the tenant, and and go to the courthouse to file confirmation with the court that you did this.

Attend the hearing and file a writ of possession once the court has ruled in favor of eviction. A writ of possession is a legal order to have law enforcement evacuate someone from a residence.The county clerk will help the landlord file this paperwork, and the clerk will also send it to the sheriff. In most instances, the sheriff’s office must give at least 72 hours' notice before eviction but the court can order eviction sooner in certain instances, including illegal activity or threatening actions on the part of the tenant.

Arrange to have a sufficient amount of movers on hand, to vacate the property as quickly as possible. The sheriff reserves the right to postpone the eviction if he deems the amount of movers insufficient.

Wait for the sheriff at the residence at the time set on the writ and do not enter the property until he arrives. Doing so can void the writ. The sheriff can leave the property if the landlord does not show up on time and fails to notify him of a late arrival.

Allow the sheriff and the movers access to the property to remove the tenant's belongings. You are once again in legal possession of your property.

About the Author

Kelli Cooper has been a writer since 2009, specializing in health and fitness. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers University and is a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise.