It is easy and far too common to find yourself in a situation where an immediate family member, relative, or friend needs a place to stay and asks you for help. You have probably known this person for a long time and are willing to help. There is absolutely nothing wrong with helping, but what happens if this person over stays their welcome and then refuses to leave upon your request?*
The duration of their stay and any rent to be paid probably was not discussed in detail and you probably did not have the person sign a lease or written agreement, so how are you supposed to get this person out of your home?
Chances are you have already politely asked them to leave but after repeated failed attempts you are considering legal action because you are left with no other choice.
The first step is determining how the law characterizes your friend, relative, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. in such circumstance. Just because you do not have a written lease, does not mean you are powerless.
In Virginia, if no written agreement or lease is in place, then the courts consider the agreement to be verbal lease, which is treated like a month-to-month tenancy. See Virginia Code § 55-248.7 for leases governed by the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
The second step is to begin the eviction process. To evict a month to month tenant, you must terminate the occupancy by sending a 30 day Notice of Termination. See Virginia Code §55-222. If the 30 day period expires and your houseguest has failed to vacate your property, you then simply follow the steps of the eviction process. For more details and a step by step explanation of the eviction process, please see our blog The Eviction Process in Virginia: A Guide for Landlords and Tenants.
Don't give up. Eventually, you will be able to get your unwanted guest out.
*If your guest is threatening you or you fear for your safety, please call your local law enforcement agency or 9-1-1 if it is truly an emergency. If you fear for your safety, you may consider filing a protective order to prevent the guest from harming you. See Virginia Code § 19.2-152.10.
This blog post provides general information only and is not intended to provide the reader with legal advice. Laws often change before websites can be updated, so please contact Steven Krieger Law for a consultation to evaluate your specific case.