The Eviction Process in Virginia: A Guide for Landlords and Tenants

By Steven Krieger

Note: If you’re a landlord or tenant in Washington D.C., check out our D.C. blog post The Eviction Process in Washington, DC: A Guide for Landlords and Tenants. 

Regardless of the reason for eviction, landlords and tenants both have rights and the eviction process is controlled by statute, so the steps must be followed properly or the court may not grant your request.  In other words, a landlord cannot simply change the locks, turn off the utilities, remove tenant’s belongings, or physically remove tenant from the property.

Step 1: Provide Notice to Tenant(s)
There are two reasons to evict a tenant: 1) failure to pay rent; and/or 2) failure to comply with the obligations under the lease.

If the tenant has not paid rent, landlord must give the tenant a 5 Day Notice to Pay (sometime landlords give the tenant 5 days to pay or quit/leave).  This notice gives the tenant five days to pay the rent or vacate the property from the date tenant was served with notice.  See Va. Code § 55-225.  If tenant pays the overdue rent, tenant has the right to remain in the property.

If the tenant is not following a non-monetary lease term, the landlord must provide tenant with a “Notice to Quit” (sometimes called a 30 day letter). This notice gives the tenant twenty-one days to correct the issue or vacate the property thirty days from the date tenant was served with notice.  See Va. Code § 55-225.43.  If tenant corrects the issue in time, the tenant has the right to remain in the property.

Step 2: Summons for Unlawful Detainer
Assuming the tenant does not pay the overdue rent and/or correct the non-monetary issue, the next step requires the landlord to file a summons for unlawful detainer.  After providing proof to the court that proper notice was given, the court will issue a summons to the tenant with a “first return date.”  This is similar to an initial hearing or appearance.

At this hearing, the judge will ask the tenant if the tenant admits or denies the allegations in the summons.  If the tenant denies the allegations, a trial date will be set.  The judge may instruct the landlord to provide a Bill of Particulars to explain why the landlord believes they are entitled to possession and judgment.  Additionally, based on the Bill of Particulars, the judge may instruct the tenant to provide a Grounds of Defense to explain why the landlord is incorrect.

If the tenant admits the allegations or if the tenant fails to appear, the landlord may ask for an immediate Writ of Possession and a judgment for unpaid rent.  See Va. Code § 8.01-126.  If you received a summons, whether for a landlord and tenant matter or another matter, do not ignore it!

Step 3: Trial
If tenant contests the allegations in the summons, a trial is held to determine whether the landlord is legally allowed to evict the tenant.  If the court rules that the landlord has a proper basis to evict the tenant, the tenant has ten days to appeal this ruling.  To appeal, the tenant must pay an appeal bond to the court at filing, which often includes all the money owed to the landlord plus up to one year’s future rent (though, often it is a few months).

Until a judgment is entered, the tenant can pay the landlord all unpaid rent, late fees, court costs, and attorney’s fees that are due and remain in the property.  The tenant can only exercise this right once every twelve months per landlord.

Step 4: Writ of Possession for Unlawful Detainer
If tenant does not contest the summons or landlord wins the trial (or appeal), the landlord may file a Request for Writ of Possession for Unlawful Detainer Proceedings to begin the actual eviction process.  See Va. Code § 8.01-470.  This writ must be filed within one year of the judgment.  See Va. Code § 8.01-471.  The court sends this request to the Sheriff’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office should execute the writ in fifteen days, but has thirty days from when the court signed the writ to execute the eviction.  Generally, the Sheriff’s Office will contact the landlord with the scheduled date of eviction and the tenant is given at least 72 hours notice.

Until the actual eviction begins, the landlord may continue accepting rent “with reservation” if proper notice is given to the tenant without losing the ability to evict the tenant.

Step 5: Eviction
Although there are two types of evictions, most landlords use a “24-Hour Lock Change” eviction because it’s less expensive than a “Full Eviction.”  In a 24-Hour Lock Change Eviction, the landlord must provide a locksmith to change all the exterior locks during the scheduled eviction.  Within 24 hours after the eviction, the landlord is given possession of the property.  For the next 24 hours, the property is essentially treated as a storage facility and the landlord must give tenant reasonable access to remove personal property, but tenant may not remain in the property overnight.  After this 24-hour period, the landlord may sell or destroy any of tenant’s remaining personal property.  See Va. Code § 55-237.1.  Neither the landlord nor Sheriff actually removes tenant’s property.  If tenant remains in the property, the tenant is trespassing.

In a “Full Eviction,” the all of tenant’s property is placed on the nearest public right of way.  The landlord must provide a locksmith (like in a 24-Hour Lock Change eviction) and enough adults to remove the property.  The Sheriff’s Office will be present and is responsible for protecting the interests of the landlord and the tenant and may require the landlord to provide a moving truck, boxes, or other equipment to effectuate the removal of tenant’s personal property.

Although the courts have done a very good job to streamline this process, it can still take longer than one would like and can be complicated.  For a consultation, whether you’re a landlord or tenant, please contact Steven Krieger Law, PLLC.

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456 Responses
  1. It’s interesting to know that there is a need for payment for the appeal bond if the tenant wishes to do so. With that in mind, it would be best to hire an eviction lawyer to find the most helpful options to win the case or to at least make it easier for the tenant. I can imagine how that would affect their record, especially if they didn’t want the issue in their finances from happening.

  2. We have an Airbnb. A guest could not pay lost his job. Let him stay a few days waiting for unemployment. It never came. He is still at the house, refusing to leave. Went to court today and judge gave bill of particulars to complete.

  3. Need Help Please!! I have a 3bd apartment my siblings left and I had to rent 2 rooms 1 of them I regret it so bad is a month to month we did oral agreement is a PROBLEMATIC PERSON, cant talk like adults she has to scream on my face in front of my child , my child is scared of her now because last time she was screaming to her now hasn’t paid this months rent seems doesn’t want to either trying to make excuses to do not pay and disturbing other tenant I really understand Evictions at this time but is very frustrating to live with negative people really need an advice please!!!

  4. Before hiring a locksmith, first check their documents and price list. Some locksmiths in the market charge extra charges from their customer. So, in order to avoid scam, hire a known and trustworthy locksmith.

  5. My boyfriend is trying to get his adult son to move out. he
    won’t pay rent he won’t help around the house he’s a freeloader and he’s got to go but how do you get your adult 30yr old child evicted from the home

  6. I rent out a room in my home that I also reside in. It’s a month to month agreement, with 30 day notice required by either party to end. There is also a statement in the agreement that the tenant signed and was reviewed with him that states that homeowner may give 7 days written notice if the renter is in default under the rental agreement. He has violated several house rules/agreements that are in the contract. Am I legally able to give 7 days notice as he voluntarily signed and agreed to the contract?
    Also he gave 30 day written notice, but due to his behaviors I fear that he won’t leave on the day he listed. Am I able to file an Unlawful Detainer if he does not leave by the day he indicated in his notice?

  7. We have a house that we allowed a family to move into 4 months ago with a verbal agreement as a trial for both parties knowing we would have a lease drawn up as a rent to own. For those 4 months, we allowed the family to make half rental payments provided they give us receipts for specific improvements they made to the home that would cover the other half of the rent. Here we are, 4 months later with half rent payments made and no receipts. The first December rent payment made, 10 days late, was for the full months amount and that check bounced. The tenants provided us with another rent check that bounced today and was returned to our bank and debuted from our account. On 12/31/19, the wife signed a new rent to own agreement that stipulated no receipts would be accepted nor would check payments. The new rent to own also includes late fees beginning at paying rent one day late. I spoke with the wife this evening informing her that the 2nd December check has now bounced as well and she said she would pay December and the first half of January tomorrow (we agreed to accept half month rent payments in the new lease). She is aware that writing bad checks purposefully is illegal and that our bank has provided us information and instructions to go to court because of the bad checks.

    I want to believe this tenant when she says that she intends to pay in full tomorrow, including the first half of January late fee but I have a great deal of difficulty doing so. I did explain to her that if she does not pay tomorrow, a pay or quit notice would be sent to her and an eviction would be started.

    My question is this… will having allowed them to live in our other home for 4 months on a verbal agreement (that was not met on their part) cause us as landlords problems? Also, will it be a problem for us that her husband, also on the lease, was not available to sign the lease in front of the notary? He is out of town this week and we had planned to meet with him again to have him sign the lease in front of the notary when he returns home.

  8. Steven.

    My lease with my tenant ended will end October 31. I notified the tenant timely that I will not renew lease.

    The tenant requested for month-to-month lease which I refused. The tenant is threatening not to vacate the property at the end of the month but when they chose to.

    Can I change locks after the 31st and cut off utilities giving the fact that the lease has ended?

  9. I was having financial issues a few years ago and fell behind on my rent several times while living in an apartment. The management for the apartment community always worked with me and accepted late payments but they had to proceed with the eviction process to protect themselves. I was never actually evicted and when I did finally move out I gave appropriate notice, had a zero balance, and had my deposit returned.

    My issue is that my daughter was also on the lease as a requirement of the apartment community. She was not aware of the financial issues and was never served court papers in person. I always handled it all myself. Since her name was on the lease the judgments are in her name too which is affecting her ability to rent herself now. Is there anything we can do that would remove her responsibility for these judgments? Although she was on the lease I was responsible for the payment. The only reason she was on the lease is because it was a requirement of the apartment community to have anyone over 18 listed

    1. @Gina — You should contact the management office or their lawyer and see if they’d agree to vacate the judgment against your daughter. They may not oppose it since you have a zero balance, but they are not required to agree either.

  10. Hello. After successful legal eviction of a tenant, what is the landlord’s obligation to re-lease the apartment? If the landlord has other apartments like the one where tenant is evicted, is the landlord under any obligation to preferentially show the eviction apartment, or just to list it along with other apartments for rent? The landlord would expect the evicted tenant to pay rent until the end of his/her lease, or until the apartment is re-leased, correct? Thank you.

    1. @Steve — It depends. There may be a duty to mitigate damages, but if the lease was terminated as part of the eviction then the prior tenant may not be responsible anyway.

  11. First of all, I want to start by saying I have never left any rental property on bad terms. I’ve always paid my rent, not bothered a soul. Kept the place extremely clean, and all of my past landlords have absolutely hated losing me as a tenant. There has not been a single time I haven’t got my deposit back. I definitely never destroyed any property, In fact, I’ve always made the place look better than it was before I moved in. Well, Before moving into the home I’m in now, I spent two months Making it livable and ready to pass a hud inspection. I literally had to clean ever inch of this home from top to bottom because it was so filthy. (I am very ocd when it comes to having a clean home.) Not to mention the $300.00 + I spent trying to rid the place of roaches. (I was not about to move in anywhere with my baby boy and get bugs.) The landlord said he’d pay me for my time and money but that never happened. Which I didn’t say a word because this man I considered a friend. I had knew him for years and he basically begged me to move in and said I would be a great tenant. (We knew each other pretty well) & he knows how I am when it comes to keeping my home tidy and having my bills paid on time. Finally after a couple months went by I had everything done. (Yes, it took that long.) the landlord came in to make sure he thought everything would pass inspection for hud as far as electrical stuff and things I had no clue about. He made the comment that he had never seen the house look so good. Finally it was time for me to move in. I had just got my taxes back and wanted to go ahead and pay up rent. In my agreement w/ hud my utilities are included and my rent was a total of $500.00 a month. (At this time, my part of the payment would be $186.00 per month) starting on March 1st. On August 1st my rent payment went down to $37.00 a month ( hud pays the rest. ) Well, on feb 27th I went to the bank with him and deposited $1100.00 from my debit card into his bank account. (Had to verify with drivers license and Ssn.) paying this i added the rent to be paid up until December if I add 15.00 to it.

    Now, since then everything has been fine. No issues whatsoever. But all of the sudden my ll comes to my front door with a notarized handwritten letter saying..This letter is to inform you that you are to be out of the rental property within a mandatory 15 days for non-payment of rent. I almost thought it was a joke until he proceeded to tell me if i wasn’t out by then he would have my stuff out of the house. (I realized quickly that he wasn’t joking.) as he was leaving he proceeded to tell me he would be here to show the house in a few days. I was in total shock so I ran straight to my phone to do some research. Thinking there is no possible way this is legal. I paid this man. How can he do this? I thought my rent was paid up until December. And even if something crazy had happened like an increase in my rent, ( which it didn’t ) I hadn’t received any kind of notice to pay anything verbally, over the phone, or in the mail. A few days later I had a friend over that Answered the door and My landlord basically forced himself into my home to let potential new tenants look at the property without my knowledge. As soon as my friend called me and let me know what had happened I messaged My landLord and told him to please don’t come back to my house Without an officer with him because what he was doing was illegal. Well I guess I made him mad because he showed up an hour later saying that he was doing a surprise inspection. (mind you he’s never inspected my house for anything) I’ve never damaged anything in this house and always keep it at tiptop condition and he knows this. So basically he was doing this just to get under my skin. Well I stuck to my word and told him that he wasn’t coming in unless he called an officer to come in with him, because I was sick of him bullying me around. While waiting on the officer to show up he proceeded to tell me that he was cutting the utilities off on the 21st of August. After that comment The officer showed up and he came in the house and was taking pictures. My Question is where do I go from here? is what my landlord doing considered harassment? And this has to be illegal? He actually thinks in 12 days from now he is cutting off my utilities (that are supposed to be included in my rent, according to my lease with hud) locking me out of my house, and throwing away me and my two year old sons things. How do I dispute this? I have paid rent. No I haven’t paid the utilities but can he really have them shut off when they are supposed to be included? I’m at a loss for words.

  12. Can you be charged an eviction fee if you dont get evicted? I have paid my rent late a few times and the always charge me an eviction fee but I am still in the same apartment been here for 3 years.

  13. Question: Judge ruled in favor of Landlord and landlord will receive writ of possession after 10 days. We believe that tenant will appeal. What is the appeal process and how can we protect our property as landlords?

  14. Hi! I’m currently begind on my rent due to unemployment. I still owe for March. My landlord has filed a case with the court and the hearing is on the 8th. The question I have is surrounding the process. I received a 5 day letter from my landlord that was dated the 19th of March. While looking at the summons I noticed it was filed on the 20th of March. Are they able to file the claim with the court prior to the completion of the 5 day letter?

      1. @Steven, Thank you very much for the reply. Really appreciate it! Any idea how I could convey that bit of information to the Judge? Thanks again Steven!

  15. If I have a verbal renragrerrent with someone in VA. Can they just put me out on the streets for no good reason? For instance, not giving him my medication for free on top of rht agreed upon rent?? He himself rents the house from another landlord.

  16. Our roommate bailed on us in September and we contacted the landlord and we informed him of the situation, he gave us the option to have him find a roommate and he would work with us on the rent as we can’t afford the full rent and utilities. So we told him what we had been doing and in text he like he agreed with it until he found us a new roommate, now I contacted when I noticed major issues with house as the foundation shifted signs started popping up, he had the contractor come out I did a walk threw with him and was told I’d know something in two weeks…three weeks later I paid half rent in oct,nov,dec no response from my landlord radio silence, my husband had enough and joined the military..he is currently in boot and we haven’t paid anything since January but his BAH is still on back pay. I got a threatening note on my door with a court summons..I never got a 5 day or 30 day notice he went straight to eviction..we have been trying to get ahold of him for months…the house is becoming very unsafe and according to the summons he lied on it. Is there anything I can do?

    1. @Rae – Just defend the eviction. If you didn’t get any notice than the eviction cannot move forward. You could also file a tenant’s assertion or negotiate a resolution with the landlord.

  17. I moved in my apartment in November first last year, supposed to move October 31rst. But knowing the fact I will be few minutes late before office close I made phone call But no one picked up phone while heading towards complex with my Mover. And I end up paying $350 extra for over night parking.
    Nivresponyto my several calls including e-mail plus sending curtsy officer asking him to ask Assistant manager to pick up call Incase if I will be late.

    Within 10-13 days manager was transferd to new compkex. Property ran by racist woman who don’t know how to treat tenant or any curtsy to apologize after what happened first day. Plus I keep on getting 2 phony violations and yelling over the phone three different times when I complained about dog barking violations. Response I got was tenant above living here last over year and it’s just dogs and just walking.
    2 ft rug hanged less than 5 min and got call from sanecracust woman to remove it ASAP as it a violation simply I live behind leasing office and they can see my action and window.
    I noticed 99.99% tenants living in the complex has filthy items including furniture and bicycles sitting in balcony and as per lease balcony should be clean and no items should be stored including no bird feeding plus no disturbances due to dog barking or notice will be served.
    I waited 2 months for new manager to step in in January this year. In between I had two other big issues after taking care if few issues. One is heating not working properly and apt gets warm only due to turningbon Fire and still have to sleep in living room after fire place is on.
    Second laundry machine had different issues all the time and wanted to install very small machine to wash 2 pair cloths only as refused to install same size machine. Which was installed 4 months later after new manager stepped in who agreed not to install sane size due to Maintanance man refused to do so due to small space.

    Dog barking still countinue even after 4 mo tha passed. No remedy after many calls and emails to the leasing office and got same answer saying they will not remove tenant above me since they are here over an year and previous manager signed the lease.
    I asked corporate number of district manager and after giving me corporate number which was not direct contact, he called his friend working for same company asking him to e-mail me to leave my apartment if not happy as they did all to make me happy.

    I still contacted district manager and before even I contact district manager, she send me same email. I have to write her s nice e-mail about open door policy should be there to listen to tenants complaints as there are many issues here since day one I moved in including not showing me msil box where it is in complex ladt 2 months. Plus model they showed me actual apartment is lot smaller without walking closet, no toilet paper handle, water force is low, only one coat closet, small bathroom and so on plus accusation after my complaints.

    I called curtsy officer living in complex but call back till 2 weeks passed saying his son was sick. New manager asked me to call him again, I did recently. Got response saying he is at work and I should call non Emergency.
    I called non emergency 3 times recently. First time police cane very late when dogs were running and barking since 6 pm till 12.45 am Friday night. He didn’t observed anything. Few days later another officer came after my call and he saw for 20 min two heavy set dogs barking and running around. But he couldn’t give her warning as she she was not there and left a card at her door. I guess she never called them back.
    Few days later police were called st 5 pm and he observed barking but didn’t act on this violation and he went to office spoke to an employee who talked bad about me saying I am the one who has issue complaining non stop an given new machine when washing machine didn’t have no issue at all and will get legal team to evict her. She started 7 months back, no one trained her properly plus she don’t know what’s going on with tenants living her and asked her forward all tenants e-mail to her assistant manager who is no more with them at present.
    She manipulated and lied to the officer to scare him and not to take no action on my behalf at all. I called him and he said what been told to him.
    Anyway I noticed the way dogs barking and running and noises as if there is some illegal activities going on with dogs which I reported to them and animal control and sane officer who was manipulated by office people cane with animal control officer saying simply cause he didn’t issue ticket I am accusing them for having illegal activities with dogs. He said for accusations he can arrest me. He was trying to intimidate me saying they can evict me no reason if they see you are violations anything listed in lease.
    He left and I called his boss sergeant. I reported the way his officer spoke to me. He called another offi

  18. Good afternoon, figured I’d see what others as well as the original writer may have to say on my situation. Currently going through a contested divorce, married 5 years wife left home Jan 2019 to stay with parents. I have an attorney for this, he can’t help with my tenant/landlord issue though. Her father owns the house we have lived in the past 2 years. She left, shortly after leaving she broke in with her father (landlord) and took my daughter and ran (3yo). Following day they take out a no trespassing order/notice on his residence against me (no reason given) obviously to prevent me from seeing or picking up my daughter (no custody order in place). Just got home yesterday to a notice on my door (taped their by wife’s grandfather) 5day pay/quit notice for rent from January to March as well as a unknown line item for utilities ($1000, utilities are in mine and wife’s name though…). There is no lease, been oral and have paid cash via dropping off at his residence which I’m no longer legally allowed to be on. (No receipts, ever). I have half the mind to ignore the pay/quit wait for the law suit and hire a defense attorney. Just want input on how smart/dumb of a move that may be. Notice was to me (though wife had lived here til Jan, which is first month on notice of passed due. Her father and her also emptied our shared checking by transferring to his account in January too). Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Read this
      Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

      The link is not pasting. Just look it up.

      If one resides in Virginia the link above may help. I am not a lawyer and cannot advise. I personally would not take any action without consulting an attorney. Anything one does could excite the problem and make it worse. Only the one involved can decide if the risks are worth it .

      I can only communicate as a non expert. Someone in this predicament may be considered a “tenant at will.” Look it up. Make sure it’s understood.

      Be very careful. Virginia Courts.. Uhm…Make sure the lawyer understands the situation and can completely explain his recommendation fully and back it with law. His mistakes will cost whoever hired him.

      Also check the law concerning “pay or quit.” Ultimately getting a court judgement against one’s self could be generated by the court that could limit one’s ability to rent where one wants to live. Consider ending this amicably without further damage. What one thinks or knows is not always the case. Tread very carefully a lawyers motive may be his salary.

      If a renter at will isn’t paying rent a “summons of unlawful detainer” could be filed with the court. If its ignored a Sheriff will visit and possibly put ones belongings roadside. It might be raining. Is this worth it?

      Consider paying rent in escrow. Look it up. When one does not pay rent, quite possibly the fight is over without. In escrow no one can touch the money until the court orders it. Being obstinate may be exciting, but for sure it can be costly.

      It may hurt, one should concider leaving the place clean and in good repair with all money owed in escrow and go elsewhere to live.

      Both parties should be represented with their own lawyer. Be open to a resolution cause one might end up paying both lawyers.

      Good luck

      On Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 2:06:29 PM EST, wrote:

      A blog post you’ve subscribed to just received a comment. If you’d like to unsubscribe from this post, click here.

      In reply to The Eviction Process in Virginia: A Guide for Landlords and Tenants, Justin said:

      Good afternoon, figured I’d see what others as well as the original writer may have to say on my situation. Currently going through a contested divorce, married 5 years wife left home Jan 2019 to stay with parents. I have an attorney for this, he can’t help with my tenant/landlord issue though. Her father owns the house we have lived in the past 2 years. She left, shortly after leaving she broke in with her father (landlord) and took my daughter and ran (3yo). Following day they take out a no trespassing order/notice on his residence against me (no reason given) obviously to prevent me from seeing or picking up my daughter (no custody order in place). Just got home yesterday to a notice on my door (taped their by wife’s grandfather) 5day pay/quit notice for rent from January to March as well as a unknown line item for utilities ($1000, utilities are in mine and wife’s name though…). There is no lease, been oral and have paid cash via dropping off at his residence which I’m no longer legally allowed to be on. (No receipts, ever). I have half the mind to ignore the pay/quit wait for the law suit and hire a defense attorney. Just want input on how smart/dumb of a move that may be. Notice was to me (though wife had lived here til Jan, which is first month on notice of passed due. Her father and her also emptied our shared checking by transferring to his account in January too). Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

      To UNSUBSCRIBE from this blog post, click here

    2. @Justin — It can be difficult to evict a partner during a divorce proceeding, but I think your idea to wait for the lawsuit and defend is logical. Happy to help if you need an attorney to assist with the defense.

  19. The provision that allows a landlord and tenant to terminate a lease with a 60 day notice allows a landlord to circumvent the eviction laws. The landlord can terminate any lease for any reason even no reason at all. Hence, no need to evict just terminate . There is no defense against it. I got 12 days left. Never late, no violations, no infractions of the law, no health and safety Violations. They cannot evict me. 25 years as a tenant. I am being evicted via the lease termination provision. I’m supposed to be protected by this provision because the manufactured home park management sold me the home, therefore the lease “shall be renewed”. I’m 64, retired 100% disabled Veteran, my rights have been violated in Virginia. This case is settled and I don’t have money to take it to the Virginia Supreme Court. Email me. I’ll tell you more

  20. I received a “Material Noncompliance Notice Specifying Breaches to be remedied within 21 days” from my apartment manager in November, my lease was to be terminated December 2nd if I did not fix the issues that caused me to get this notice. As far as I knew I had fixed the issues because Decemeber 2nd came and passed, I had received no further notice from my apartment manager stating that I had or had not remedied the issues. An entire month has passed since December second and I have still been residing in the apartment, still not receiving any notices of any kind whatsoever from my apartment manager stating that I am still having these issues occurring nor of any new issues occurring. However January 4th (one month and two days after December 2nd from the 21 day noncompliance notice) I received from my apartment manager a “30 Day Notice of Material Noncompliance” stating that I received a 21/30 notice for the issues I am being evicted for and that I have not complied to the 21/30 notice so my lease is being terminated. HOWEVER at the beginning of the explination as to what I am being evicted for (along with the previous issues from the 21 day notice I received in November) there is something completely brand new being addressed, she states there have been numerous complaints made regarding excessive noise from my apartment..
    My 21 day notice was received in November and I was to fix the issues November 23rd or my lease would be terminated December 2nd due to Noncompliance to fix issues. I never received any notice stating I didn’t fix the issues nor if I had fixed the issues so my lease wasn’t terminated December 2nd so I continued to pay rent and live in the apartment.
    I have never received any warnings or notices of any kind stating I’ve had complaints being made about excessive noise from my unit. This 30 day Notice I’ve received January 4th is the very first I’ve been notified of any noise complaints…

    I don’t feel the steps my apartment manager is taking to evict me are legally allowed being the fact that an entire month passed from my dead for the 21 day notice and the fact that in the 30 day notice I just recently received January 4th, she is bringing up an entirely brand new issue that’s never been addressed before.
    I need help. I’m a single brand new mommy, just recently was handed my sisters two children to take care of… have legal temporary custody and am struggling with a lot right now.

    1. @Alicia — The eviction can only proceed based on the violation in the notice. The landlord cannot give a notice to fix X and then attempt to proceed with an eviction based on Y.

  21. My wife and I were in a car wreck a on 1/16/18. My 27 year old nephew agreed to stay with us to help out until we mended. I went back to work on 7/16/18. Since then we no longer needed his help. He has not gotten a job, pays no rent and his girlfriend basically lives here too. We told them we wanted them out by the end of February 2019. Does he have any legal recourse?

    1. @Marcus — Not likely. If there’s no lease, you can give him 30 days notice and then initiate the eviction process. If you decide to hire an attorney to help, please contact my office.

  22. I am currently separated and moved from the home my husband and I rented. He stayed. I live in an apartment with my daughter and take care of the bills there with no help from him. Since I moved out, he has not paid rent or any of the bills. Both of our names are on the lease and all of the other bills are in my name. When I moved out, I contacted the landlord who stated that she would provide a form for me to fill out to remove my name from the lease as long as my husband signed a new lease. I never received the form and he refused to sign a new lease in his name only. Since he hasn’t paid the rent, the landlord is evicting him (and technically me as well since I wasn’t able to take my name off the lease). Is there anything I can do?

    1. @Elle — Not to prevent the eviction, but if any judgment is entered against you, this could be resolved/divided in the divorce proceeding as part of the equitable distribution of marital assets/debts. Feel free to call my office as we handle landlord and tenant, but also family law.

  23. Can we file the eviction to the Tenant based on these reasons:
    1. Their daughter has a new born baby live in my house,the baby name is not on the lease.
    2. We give them five days term to pay monthly payment,they always pay in the fifth day and sometimes give a check with no money,we have to hold for a week or two.
    3. They caused the plumbing problem and had no money to pay.

  24. Well, as far as I am concerned. The law is obviously pro-landlord. There are some rare instances happening within our area that the tenant already paid for the rent but the landlord is still asking for miscellaneous fees. So, the question is, how does the court solve a problem like this one?

  25. A friend of mine is being evicted. They have two kids and live next to a neighbor who complains about their kids making to much noise. Though they are not in any unreasonable manor for example they are not up at 1am jumping on the bed. They pay rent on time and have not caused any destruction of property. The landlord told them they did not have to tell them why they are being evicted. Is this true? can they evict you for no reason? do they have to tell you why? Should they challenge this eviction and take it to court?

  26. Does anyone know what happens if there’s no physical lease? I have rented a room in the same house for the past five years haven’t destroyed in the property and all monies paid on time. Can they throw me out on the street just because they want to?

  27. Hello Steven,
    I have a different question than what I have read on this blog. I signed a lease for 3 months. The lease says that the first month’s rent is due within 3 days of the signed lease. I tried to meet the landlord to make payment but the landlord wasn’t able to meet. Three days went by and the landlord cancelled my lease saying that I didn’t pay. I am supposed to move in within a week and now the landlord said my lease is voided because no payment was received within the 3 days. Can a landlord cancel a lease prior to move-in if no payment received when lease is signed even I tried to pay?

  28. Hi Steven,

    I have recently received a writ of possession, I have 5 days until eviction. I went and spoke to the property manager to find out what I can do to avoid eviction, she told me I had to pay the owed amount of rent ,which is half of last month and this months rent totalling $1386, then proceeded to tell me I have to pay next months rent as well in order for me not to be evicted. I asked her why next months rent as well? She replied because this is the 2nd notice within a year. Is this legal? Can she still evict me for not paying next months rent, even if I pay the back rent owed?

  29. Steven-

    Here is mu dilemma, I have been renting from my landlord for 2 years, lease was up in July 31st. almost 3 months ago we met with landlord and told her we where not going to renew the lease and could she work with us month to month until our new home was done being built (Sep 14 2018), she replied she was not going to rent again she wanted to sell, she said we could stay until the house sold, we have been accommodating 100% to her from photo shots of our stuff, allowing people to look at the house anytime they want to and just whatever she needed, we sent her a text message a several days ago to confirm we where good month to month through 8-31-2018 she replied in a text message that we where good and we would have to pay the additional $200 which we agreed on all in this group of text messages, so here is where it turns, on 7-17-2018 the landlord calls my wife and says she sold the house and we need to move on 8-13-2018, well we all clearly agreed on 8-31-20 good till, does this text message bind an agreement and what legal wrights do I have at this point.

  30. Hi Steven, What a great blog for both tenants and landlords, My question is about accepting payments with reservation. We obtained possession and a judgement. A day later, after we received the court judgement, the tenant sent a check attempting partial payment,. Can we accept the payment against our judgement and still continue with eviction? Do I need legal assistance to proceed with the eviction process? Have there been any updates in the law since your 2014 blog post on this matter?

    1. @John — Thanks for your kind words. Yes, you could accept partial payment and continue with the eviction if you give a reservation of rights notice.

  31. If all rent is paid by the date of the first “summons,” can the landlord still attempt to have a tenant evicted for failure to pay? If the case is dismissed, can this happen more than once in a 12 month period?

  32. If all rent is paid by the date of the first “summons,” can the landlord still attempt to have a tenant evicted for failure to pay? If the case is dismissed, can this happen more than once in a 12 month period?

  33. I had court today. For unlawful detainment.
    But when my name was called it said my case was dismissed.
    I’m just curious to know if it’s a good dismissal or a bad dismissal.

  34. Heres my story:

    My apartment complex was bought out by this new tax credit company in Dec 2017, but in June 2017 they collected info on everyone to see basically who can go and who can stay based off of their income, we made enough to where we could stay then in January of 2018 they had us sign papers to get the process started and ask for our income information again, hounding us for pay checks, kids birth certificates, their social security numbers, in the mist of it in March they decided to move us from 2607 to 2603 no new lease to be written when we moved into 2603, they asked us to do it because they wanted to renovate our whole apartment building so before we moved i asked was this (2603) our new place they said yes, so while we are packing and moving (they put a rush on us) so we moved within the weekend, once moved into 2603, we gave the keys back from 2607, my husband went to pay rent for March and they said “Dont worry about March” my husband looked confused and said “well take this and put it towards april rent” then they said “Dont worry about it because we are still collecting yall income information” i called them at the end of April to pay May rent and was told “we still need information from you in order to proccess your paper work” we give them the information, so May 15th I believe the property manger called and said “ we are sorry to inform you, but youre income exceeds our limit and now you and your family have to leave” im upset at this point because we had to pay to move (which they paid us back), then the apartment complex manager says well we can give you a 1,000 dollar check to help you move, so i tell them im not moving until my son is out of school which he only has three weeks left and i was waiting on this check to pay my new people so we can move into our new house so while waiting. On May 29th, the same property manager calls me and says oh you have a balance of 1880 and we are gonna get an ED written… by saying all this my question is can they evict me without a lease or do i have a case cause i feel like i should sue them this is unfair in my eyes, but i could be wrong

  35. Everyone should be treated humanely. Whether you are a tenant or you are the landlord, justice should be served equally. Glad that there are laws that tackles this issue.

  36. My renters left but haven’t paid the electric bill for atleast three months. The electric is in their names and is over 800 They are evicted and out of the house, but what if they don’t pay the electric bill?

  37. Great blog. Quick question : if my tenants have prior judgments against them for “Unlawful Detainer” can I bring that up at the eviction hearing? Will it help? They are going to try and say that they are with-holding rent due to lack of repairs of course, though they’ve never given written notice about that. And haven’t put the rent in escrow as required by law. This is in prince william va. I feel stupid not doing a background check.

    1. @Fred — Thanks. The judge probably won’t let you mention past evictions based on the idea that just because the tenants didn’t pay another landlord does not mean that they didn’t pay you. The two tenancies are completely independent.

  38. Our leaseholder vacated the premises leaving other occupants in the home. I gave the occupant the choice to leave right away or pay the rent and vacate at the end of February as my husband is returning from out of state at that time and will be occupying the home himself. She signed a written agreement to vacate by Feb 28th. Today is March 1st and the occupant has not found a new home and has not vacated. What are my options?

  39. Both my wife and I own a home in Prince WIlliam County VA and rent it to a family who is over two months behind. Taking them to court is a hassle and I’ve been lead along to believe that they will pay tomorrow, next week, eventually. I’ve sent the P.O.Q. notice. Do both my wife and myself need to be present at the courthouse to sign the “unlawful detainer” forms? Do we both also need to be present at the court hearing? I ask because we both work and its not convenient for both of us to be somewhere during the day at the same time.

  40. We have been renting a house for 10 years. We have been late on the rent a few times. The owner put the house on the market and sold the house without notifying us. How long do I have to get out of the house?

    1. @David — You may not have to vacate at all. You should speak with the new owner and see what their intent is. You certainly don’t have to do anything until receive some type of notice.

  41. Steve, does posting a 5-day notice with reservation mean that landlord never has to post one again? I received a 5-day notice with reservation in November, but paid my rent on November 16th. Everything was quiet. No Eviction was filed. However, I could not pay December rent on time. Replied to an email from Landlord asking when will I pay Dec. rent. Told Landlord I would pay Jan. and all months going forward on time and would pay December’s in 2 installments on 1/15 and 2/15. Never got a response. So, on Dec. 29th I paid a whole month’s rent on time as promised. However, received a Notice of Eviction on Jan. 3rd for December’s rent. Never received a 5-day notice for December’s rent.

  42. Is there any way to cancel the Summons for Unlawful Detainer once it’s been filed?

    Tenant did not pay rent in November. Sheriff served Pay or Quit notice 11/21 and then I filed the Summons for Unlawful Detainer on 11/27. Initial trial is set for 12/29. Tenant up and left on 12/4. Security deposit covers the missing rent and tenant left no forwarding information and left without notice. I am out some money, but not enough to justify losing a day sitting in court. Thanks.

  43. I am a homeowner who rents bedrooms in my home. I provide a lease to each of my tenants as well as a welcome letter which stipulates the rules of the house. One of the rules state that the tenant is not allowed to open or remove mail from my mailbox. I have given specific instructions on how mail would be distributed. I have a tenant who has deliberately violated this rule. She has completely disturbed the peace in my home by gossiping with the other tenants, spreading lies and rumors about my husband and verbally attacking my husband when confronted about a concern we had. We’ve had enough and we served her a 30 day notice. Her lease describes the areas that she has rights to; her bedroom, kitchen, living room, dining room, laundry room and main bathroom. My husband and I live in our basement which has a separate entrance. We are having some upgrades done however this has in no way interfered with our tenants living situation as it is considered a separate dwelling from the rest of the house. This tenant has questioned and harassed my contractor. She told him that the work he is doing shouldn’t take as long as he’s taking. She has taken it upon herself to go downstairs in to my living area which is completely off limits to her, and check on the progress of his work. She has harassed the other tenants by banging on their doors late at night to talk about messages that I sent to her directly regarding the issues I have with her. It’s been only 2 months and her stay has been a complete nightmare! As I mentioned above, I have already given her a 30 day notice which she didn’t want to accept, and told me that I’m harassing her for trying to serve her. I followed up with a text message that included the same verbiage as the 30 day notice. What advice do you have regarding this issue?

    1. @Ms. Hamilton – If you tenant is on a month to month lease, the 30 day notice is all you need to give to begin the eviction process. It doesn’t sound like you’re harassing the tenant.

  44. This one is complex.

    My family lives in a trailer that belongs to my step-mother.
    The trailer once belonged to my step-sister who gave it to my half-brother who traded trailers with his parents.
    I lost my job and had no place to stay and asked to rent the trailer and offered to pay rent as soon as I could. At first my step mother refused then after some help from my brother she agreed. But only on the condition my mother never came to vist (long story). Well after about a month i got a job and finally received my back pay from unemployment. So I attempted to pay rent to which my father refused. He told me to stay here as long as I wanted and to treat the place like it was mine. Well after some family drama my dad tearfully informed me that my step sister wants her trailer back and I have till tax time to get out or my sister is going to evict us(which is a lie to protect his wife). I did sign a rental agreement for $500 a month that dad said was for tax purposes that I did not get a copy of or even bother to read. Me and my family have lived here for 2 years and never paid a dime nor have been asked. We took it as though we where given the house and land seeing that all of my siblings where given the land they live on. Not one of them own their property it’s all in my step mother’s name.
    My question is, do we have any legal right to stay since my dad told us to stay as long as we wanted and does not want us to leave. It’s not in his name but they are married.
    I really don’t want to stay but out of spite I may be interested in taking it to court just because my step mother works at the court house and I think if our story was told it would be quite embarrassing for her.

    1. Your father has no legal right to tell you you can live there because he is not a owner or property manager. Thank your step mother for letting you live there free for two years and get out.

  45. stepdaughter lives with us and does not pay rent or help with bills. she has no job either. will not abide by our rules of the house. starts arguments and verbally abusive to her mom. whats the fastest way to get her out of our house

    1. @David — You have to give her 30 days notice and then if she’s still there, you can evict her (her mom needs to be on board with this, obviously). If you need assistance, feel free to contact my firm.

  46. I had a one yr lease. at the end of that lease i was told rent would go up $150 more or i could do a rent to own i signed a rent to own for three years, which i have another yr and a half left i have lived here almost 3 years i wasw late in april on my rent i calle d on the day due and tokd her i can bring it by her house she told me to deoosit the next day due which made me late i was late again in sept. she gave me a pay or quit via text is that legal and binding in VA? and now sent me a 30 day notice to vacate but did not state that i had 1 days to fix it do i have a defense against this

  47. Steven,
    I had the court hearing today and the judge found in my favor (landlord). The tenant did not show up for court. He checked the box on the Summons that says Immediate writ of possession authorized pursuant to VA Code 8.01-129 for non-payment of rent.
    The district court clerk told me the tenant has 10 days to appeal.
    Do I need to let the tenant know about the judge’s order? And is it 10 business days or just 10 calendar days?

  48. If before being served a unlawful detainer summons, the a/c broke ( now a month), husband loss employment of which I notified rental management agency, made some small payments, and AFTER court hearing I contacted agency and put a proposal to start paying rent and extra towards rent owed, but have been jerked around give me any rights as a tenant? We cannot find a place to rent because of the situation. Places will not even accept our application. In 7 days, we will be 100% homeless. Can’t even receive any form of assistance.

    1. @Tammy — The landlord still has to go through the eviction process, so if your trial is in 7 days, then you’ll probably have at least another week or two, but you have to show-up in court and try to fight.

  49. Hello. I & my wife are homeowners in Richmond VA. Due to a federal court case we are being forced to give up our home of 24 years. I have been notified of the eviction but my wife, who is in a federal camp, has not. Nor has she been notified of guardianship, which I was told is procedure as non offcial legal advice from a lawyer with expertise in these matters. My question is do I or my son & daughter who is currently in college have to vacate before my wife’s hearing for eviction? Even if my eviction has already been to trial & issued? I ask because, being that she is incarcerated, I am the sole handler of her affairs. Also, can the case proceed if she (my wife) has not been assigned guardianship? Thank you in advance for clarification regarding this matter.

    1. @Glen — Generally, when an eviction is proceeding against some who is incarcerated the court will appoint a GAL for the tenant. Technically, you probably can’t stay in the property just b/c her proceeding is pending, but I’m not sure the landlord will enforce the eviction prior to her hearing.

  50. @Steven — You have right but they breached the lease when they issued invoices without my approval and refused to cancel them. Moreover, they threatened me that they would deduct those invoices’ total from the deposite. They also cancelled my pending maintenance requests without inspection or fixing the problems. I warned them several times by emails to fix those issues but they ignored my notes.
    Another tenant in the same area had the same problems I have and refused to pay the last month rent and they dealt with her in a different way just because she was a white American. They allowed her to finish the last month at the unit and left on time without notices or penalties. I’m planning to leave within 10 days since the new house will be ready by that time. Thanks.

  51. I am in the last month of my lease and I gave the non-renewal notice on time and got a confirmation back from the agent. There were a breach to the lease from the agent (landlord) side since a long time as they charged me 2 maintenance bills without any right or by following the lease terms by getting my approval first for the cost estimate. They also sent some landscaping workers as usual and once they damaged some of our private plants and broke a night lamp. The agent refused to pay for the damages. Moreover, they sent me in writing saying that they would get the 2 bills deducted from my deposit and they cancelled a maintenance request for a broken thing in the kitchen because I’m leaving (everything was in an email). So I stopped paying the rent for the last month so that they cannot take any extra money from me. The deposit is 1 month rent and I’m planning to leave the unit in a good shape on time after 3 weeks. I should leave the unit on 8/31/17 and today 8/8/17, they left a 5 days notice at the front door but I haven’t received it officially. Should I stay calm and leave the unit on time or should I take an action to protect myself? Thanks.

    1. @Joseph — In VA, you’re not allowed to withhold rent, so they could evict you. Will they really continue to pursue an eviction if you’re out? I don’t know, but it sounds like both sides have some violations.

  52. What if you were not Tennant but girlfriend and your boyfriend is acting out in anger from PTSD and files unlawful detainer? What are my rights as the girlfriend? I can’t just move at the drop f as hat like he’s trying to do. I’m sleeping in the spare room and that’s all I can do right now.

    1. @Sam — Tenants cannot evict other tenants, so if your boyfriend is just a tenant, I don’t think there is any basis for you to be evicted by boyfriend (though, the landlord could evict you if you’re not on the lease or there was lease violations)

  53. Hi Steven. First I wanted to say that I think it is wonderful that you have provided sound advice for so many people through this blog page. This is a great thing you are doing!

    I have an extremely complicated situation with tenants who have lived in our second home for six years and now we can’t get them to leave. I’ve already filed the Summons for Unlawful Detainer with the Stafford County court and I’m really nervous about having to present our case in a couple of weeks. I realize that it is way too much to present in this venue, but I was hoping if I provide a little background information, you will be able to understand the context in which I’m asking two simple (I think) questions.

    We initially started with a written lease which has expired years ago. Over the years we have entered into various short-term lease agreements here and there because either the tenants needed proof of one or we did. I don’t think that really matters at this time though since the most recent signed lease expired over a year ago, so we’ve been just letting it ride from month-to-month since then. Over the past six years our tenants have experienced a great deal of hardship (including the death of a child) and they have been thousands behind on rent on several occasions. Every time, they have eventually sought help from someone who pays off all of their back rent and then they are caught up for at least one month before falling in the hole again. We have tried to be extremely lenient and have allowed them go through the cycle of falling behind and catching up many many times. (Like I said, they’ve really had it rough and we’ve tried to help as much as we can because we couldn’t bear the thought of their children losing their home). However, this year we’ve found that no matter how much we’d like to help, we simply can’t afford to do it any longer. We lose $600 a month even when they pay their rent in full, but they aren’t paying anything so we’ve been losing $2000 a month. They currently owe us for six months unpaid rent.

    On June 1st we sent them a letter notifying them that we were terminating the lease agreement and that they had to be out by July 1st (my husband hand delivered a copy directly to the tenant as well as mailing it by certified mail (but he lost the receipt)). In the letter we stated exactly how much was owed to us in back rent and requested full payment immediately along with the rent for June. We also mentioned in the letter that although we actually had the legal right to demand payment for the back rent within five days or that they would have to leave, we were willing to give them a full 30 days to vacate the property. I decided that it would be easier to just simply treat this as any normal lease termination notification that you’d send to any tenant when their lease is up. I thought that in Virginia all that was required of the landlord to terminate a non-written month-to-month lease was to provide a 30-day notice, so that’s how I phrased the letter. It definitely stated (in bold font) that we were terminating the lease as of July 1st and that they were expected to handover the keys by midnight on the 1st. It’s now the 28th of July and they haven’t left yet and it doesn’t look like they are trying too hard to get out either.

    1, So my first question is – isn’t a 30-day termination notice good enough to satisfy the requirement that a landlord must give a tenant to have them move out of the home? Just because they are behind in rent and I have just cause to use the 5-day pay or quit method, it doesn’t mean that I absolutely have to go that route, does it? In my case, I’m not sure why I would need to provide a 5-day pay or quit notice, since by simply terminating the lease with 30 day notice I think I have accomplished my main goal, which is telling them to vacate the property. (Getting paid the money they owe us would be great too, but at this point my main priority is getting the house back so that it can be prepared to be sold as soon as possible so that we can stop the hemorrhaging of money we’re losing). By the way, we also stated in the letter that we were terminating the lease because we intend to sell the home so there would be no option to renew the lease.

    2. My next question is – Since we have to go to court in two weeks to plead our case to have them evicted, how much do you think we have hurt our case by being so nice to these people over the years? I can see how it could be argued that we’ve shown a pattern of letting them “off the hook”, so they have just “learned” to take advantage of the situation. In my opinion, we’ve acted like parents who always threaten to punish their child if they do something one more time, but never actually follow through with any punishment. Eventually the chi

    1. My last post was so long, it was truncated. Just wanted to finish the thoughts here:

      … Eventually the child learns that they can get away with anything and doesn’t take their parent seriously. That is what looks like has happened in this case. For example, the tenants actually sent us a text message on 7/13 stating that that they didn’t think we were really serious about them having to leave and they also had the nerve to lie and say that when my husband hand delivered the notification letter he told them verbally that “the only reason there was a hard ‘move-out’ date on the letter was because we had to put something there, so we just picked July 1st. But they didn’t have to worry because it really didn’t mean anything and we were willing to let them stay until they could find something else.” My husband did not say anything like that and I’m surprised they thought they could say that he did in a message they sent to him. (My assumption is that this is a feeble attempt to put something into writing that my husband supposedly said so that they can use it against us in court, even though he didn’t say it. I could be way off-base, but I’m reading this as a sign of how they may be planning to handle their case in court. Hopefully, they wouldn’t be able to get by with something so under-handed as trying to turn lies into “documentation”.)

      I know this is A LOT of information, but hopefully just two simple questions. 1. Isn’t a standard 30-day termination notification enough to satisfy giving the tenant notice before an eviction process is started? And 2. Do you think we’ve sabotaged any case we have to get these people out of our house fast by letting them get by with so much in the past?

      Also, I would like to know if you cover Stafford County in your practice and if you are available for immediate retainer if we find that we can’t handle this on our own? I think our case is pretty cut-and-dry seeing as how they owe us almost $9000 in back rent, but I’m nervous because I keep reading that the laws favor tenants in Virginia. So please, any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated.

      Again, I want to thank you for all you’re doing for us folks who are ignorant of real estate law.

      1. @Joanna — Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad some of my comments are helpful. As you said, you situation is quite complicated and you may want to contact my office for a consult or work session, but to answer your two question: 1) If you have a month-to-month tenancy or no written lease, then 30 days notice is fine; 2) I doubt the court will care about the past issues — just because you didn’t do anything or enforce anything doesn’t make their actions correct.

  54. I am a landlord. The tenant has been in the house for 30 days. They have now broke the front door, busted window and continue to destroy the property. They argue constantly and are disrupting the neighbors. I let the tenant know I was going to start the eviction process and she asked to give her u days to get out because she did not want an eviction on her record. I gave her a 7 day vacate, which she signed. If she is not out in 7 days what rights do I have? If they have destroyed my property does the deposit go to that? What about the 11 months still owed on 12 month lease?

    1. @Heather — You certainly can use the deposit against damaged items. The 7 day vacate document seems to be a document that would allow you to begin the eviction process with the court in 7 days, but I’m not entirely sure what it says or what your lease says, so you may have to contact my office for a consult.

  55. My estranged husband and myself own a home that is paid for. He lives in the home. Due to domestic violence I left the home because he refused to leave. He met a 8 month pregnant woman online and within a week has her living in the home with him. Neither of them have income. She has moved several animals into the home as well. Can I evict her even if my husband gives her permission to live in the home?

    1. @Jamie — It really depends on how the house is titled, but it’s possible. I suspect your husband will oppose the action, which will complicate matters.

      1. The house is in both of our names. Yes sir I know this is a very complicated situation. I am so concerned about my daughter’s well being I feel so helpless. I appreciate any advice you can offer me.

  56. Upstairs tenant was harassing me. Banging on door all hours off the night and day. Streaming in hallway etc. Police were called. They gave her 72 hour notice to get out. Does she have a right to stay longer. My safty is a concern.

  57. Hi Steve

    During a 24 hour change lock eviction, will the sheriff be on the property while the tenant removes his personal belongings or only during the change of locks process?

    Also is there any way to claim damages from the tenant for the loss of potential income for a couple of months ( as the property can only be marketed once the tenant is out ).


    1. @Ron Only during the lock-change. You could file a claim for damages associated with the delay, which could include any damage not covered by the security deposit, but you’d have to file a separate suit.

  58. Hey, so, I own the house in which I live and my grandparents live here as well. My grandfather is a nasty piece of work that does not need to be staying here any long and I want him out. I’m trying to figure out exactly what route I need to take so that I can avoid having my home environment turn toxic. He’s been here for years now and constantly relapses into this nasty state and I’m now that I’m in a better position in life I am not interested in dealing with the abuse.

    1. @Crystal — You could give him a 30 days notice to vacate and then file eviction paperwork. There may be faster ways, but that’s the cleanest. Depending on where the property is located, my firm may be able to assist if you’d like to retain an attorney.

  59. Gave the upstairs of my home to my girlfriends daughter (no rent, no lease) if she’d help me change my elderly mother twice a day, she was in recovery when she moved in but has relapsed with both legal and illegal substances. I told her she’d need to leave, she said good luck, I’m going no where I have mail that comes here and you can’t tell me to leave.

    1. @Rob — You can certainly evict her. The specific process depends on if you have a lease and what the written terms are, but even if you don’t have a lease, you can still evict her. Depending on where the property is located, my firm may be able to assist if you’d like to retain an attorney.

  60. Hi Steve,

    My 28 year old daughter who has a 4 year old child moved in with me a couple of years ago, she doesn’t pay rent, but my daughter and I has been arguing a lot lately and when argument starts, she becomes aggressive and belligerent. The last argument was just unbearable because of the insults, rants and profanity words she’s calling me. I would like her to move out but would not and refuses to do so, She said she will only move out when she is ready. Can I evict her? What is the process of evicting her? Appreciate any help. Thanks

    1. Midnight — Yes, you can evict her. You could give her a 30 days notice to vacate and then file eviction paperwork. There may be faster ways, but that’s the cleanest. Depending on where the property is located, my firm may be able to assist if you’d like to retain an attorney.

  61. Dear Sir, As a landlord,
    I rented my house out to a couple for 1 year June 1-2016 through June 30th 2017.
    I Contracted with a property management company to manage the property do to me living in a different city.
    They have paid on time about 4 out of the 11 months.
    I notified them in February that I would not renew their lease.
    They are late this month (may) stating to pay on 29th.
    I am afraid they will do the same in June and possibly tell me to use the deposit for the last months rent (Which is not allowed in the contract).

    There has also been damage to the house from neglect. I performed a walk through in October with the Property management owner. Took pictures, outlined all damaged property and sent copies to management company and tenant. I informed tenant on the itemized list what they will have to pay for. I paid for the repair of some things like a broken toilet (detached from the base) as well as clogged drains (clogged with match box cars). They have yet to pay the bill.

    I have depended upon the payments to pay the mortgage and when they are late, I am late and have to pay the late fees.
    My finances are very tight and I am not sure if I should just hope for the best. Management property owner says I can file an “Unlawful detainer”, but I dont really know what this will achieve.

    If they continue to pay late and try to use the security deposit and refuse to pay for repairs made and still needed, What can I do?

    Sorry for the length of message. Any advice is appreciated.

    1. @Henry – You’re free to evict them for paying rent late if paying rent on time is a condition of your lease. Or if they haven’t paid the late fees you could also evict them for failure to pay the late fees. Hope that helps.

  62. Landlords:
    Rule #1:Do NOT lease to “room mates”. It is NOT illegal to do this!!! I have been in the business for almost 30 years… mates NEVER work out…..especially family as room mates.
    Rule #2: Get/Put EVERYTHING in writing. Forget the “lessee”….protect yourself!
    Rule #3: NEVER, EVER delay wit ha POQ……due on or before the first…..five days grace period….on the sixth day….God created the POQ!!!! As I tell my Lessee’s…..paperwork can & WILL go away when you settle your account.
    Rule#4: Expect ANYTHING!!!!
    Rule #5: Have a vast supply of contractors… are worse than tenants!!!!
    Rule #6: If all else fails….sell everything…..and move to Hawaii!!!!!

    Good Luck!!!

  63. Hi I wrote an earlier question but don’t see it posted on here so I’m going to post it again in case it didn’t go through. If it’s already on here please forgive me for posting it twice. My question is this. I moved in with friends in June of 2016. No lease they just said pay what you can. I am occupying a room here I get mail and give them money for rent. I have been here for a year June 16th.They rent a house from somebody else who in a year has not been here once. The property owner could care less about this house. In April they said the landlord found out I was here and wants me out by June 16. Which I think is a lie. I think his wife wants me out because she doesnt like me and they are using the landlord as an excuse. My question is what are my rights. Can they change the locks or send the sheriff that day or do they have to take me to court?

    1. @Dave — They (whoever that is) needs to go to court and cannot simply change the locks or send the sheriff (the sheriff won’t come until the court process is complete). Good luck.

  64. I rented my condo to a couple in 2014 with a one-year lease which both signed. Since 2015, they have been on a month to month. Occasionally, rent payments have been a few days late, but I’ve never charged them the $50 late fee. One month, they asked for two-week grace which I granted.
    In Feb 2017, the wife provided written notice she would be moving out at the end of March in prep for a divorce. The husband, whose credit is awful, and whose employment/income is sketchy, asked if he (Tenant) could stay until the end of April based on the complications caused by his wife’s departure. I consented. A few days later, Tenant asked if he could apply the security deposit to his last month’s (April) rent. Again, I consented because I felt sorry for him and because in previous visits to the unit, the condo was in good shape. On April 9, my wife and I visited Tenant at the Unit to check on progress and to confirm move-out date for April 30 at which time, as a further concession after hearing his woes, we told him not to worry about cleaning the carpet (as previously agreed), that we would take care of this. We confirmed a move out date of April 30.
    On April 29, I inquired when I could come over for the walk-through, and Tenant said he wasn’t ready to move out, offering various explanations, i.e., medical issues, not enough boxes (there wasn’t much to move), no one to help him, no place to go. Tenant claimed he had a new job and could afford to stay, but in view of his previous request to use the Security Deposit for last month’s rent due to a shortage of funds, I told him (again), “No” that I did not want to continue a month-to-month arrangement with him and wanted the apartment back to fix up and rent to someone else on a long-term lease. Incidentally, Tenant’s statement about having sufficient funds changed from one minute to the next.

    I reminded him of our agreement, and he said he needed more time, but refused to be specific about either a plan or a move out date. There was no acknowledgement of concessions we had made for him, nor sensitivity to how his issues were now complicating ours.
    On May 1, I served Tenant with a Pay or Quit Notice for April (since he had reneged on our previous verbal agreement) plus Notice to Vacate in 30 days. It is now May 7, and of course, he has not paid this month’s rent either, nor has he provided Certificate of Insurance which I also requested in writing. Following service of these documents, he texted me claiming I was “bullying” him.

    I have tried to explain to Tenant that since he abrogated our verbal agreement to move out by April 30, I can no longer take him at his word and have thus rescinded the offer to apply the Security Deposit to April’s rent.

    Do I need to serve Tenant with another Pay or Quit Notice for May, or are the documents I have already served him sufficient to file a summons for an Unlawful Detainer?
    Is there any way to evict Tenant sooner? Not only are we out the rent, but we are unable to prep the place for a new tenant. I note that even we are able to collect rent, it still leaves us with a $500/month shortfall for our mortgage.
    Thank you

    1. @TS – it’s hard to say without seeing what your notices say. To be safe, you could issue a five day pay or quit for May rent, but if you want to contact my office, I can review your documents and point you in the right direction for a flat fee (assuming you do not want to retain my firm for the whole eviction).

  65. what if there has been only a verbal agreement and no lease. Does a landlord have the right to give you only 24 hours notice to get out? These are family members and small children involved.

    Thank you Debbie

  66. If you have an eviction judgement against you but pay the agreed amount before the evecition date and the landlord removes you from the eviction list and you remain on the property but fall behind a partial month, can they still evict you from the original eviction order?

    1. @Crystal — Probably not, but it depends on the notice, if any, the Landlord gave you and the Landlord could certainly initiate a new proceeding.

  67. I own a house in Virginia, let my ex husband come stay. He slept on the livingroim floor for years. Most of his possessions he keeps in his storage shed, few clothes at the house and a boat. Thats it. I want him to leave, he says he has rights, and proof that he has been paying the utitilies and depositing money in my account. Now he says he has a legal right to sue me and claims part of the house is his and hes not leaving till he gets it. Is he entitled to anything. The property is in Virginia.

  68. I have my sister with 2 kids living with me. It was supposed to be temporary. Told her she could stay until 30 April. Things aren’t working. Can I evict her prior to this date and what is required? Thank 6.

    1. @Theresa — Arguably, they are not tenants so you could try for an eviction now (if they are paying any rent and were never supposed to). The more conservative approach is to provide them with 30 days notice and evict them if they do no leave in 30 days. If you decide to hire a lawyer, let us know.

  69. My husband committed suicide 1/26/17. We were legally married, and the house is in both our names in Norfolk, Va. We had remained friends, but spoke less in the last 2 years, he had a girlfriend and his brother living with him. He had tried to make girlfriend leave in the past, but she had no where to go, so she stayed in spare room. I am trying to keep the house, and let his brother remain living there, as long as he can meet the mortgage payment. I do not trust her at all. She is a heavy drinker and turns on a drop of a dime. Being there is no lease involved, what steps can I take to make her leave. His brother doesn’t mind helping her, but due to the drinking can’t live there long with her. Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter.

  70. I have a family member (tenant) that has not paid since December, with no lease and I am still considered as an occupant in the home. I have give them a notice in December certified, and they agreed to move in January on a specific day. I went to the home and they were still in the home and I served them with an additional Public Notice. They had an additional person living in the home with out my authorization. Can I just change the locks due to I still reside in the home, they allowed an additional person to live, and have not paid rent?

  71. My wife and I have been in the same place for 5 years. We have always paid rent, but always about a week late. The property manager has tolerated this and always seemed friendly. We were late again in December (as usual) and this time property management had us served with an unlawful detainer. We caught the rent up and are going to go to court this week. ANy ideas? Will we lose our home?

  72. My mom paid my landlord an extra month’s rent, on condition that they didn’t tell me. The next month, I was late on rent, so owner began pressing me and threatening to evict me so seriously, that my mom had to tell me the rent had been paid, to stop me from worrying. She talked to landlord, and said everything was fine.
    A few month’s later, I had an injury to my foot, and couldn’t work very much. I was unable to pay the rent, but never heard anything from owner, so I thought my mom must be paying it. Now, after a WHOLE YEAR of not paying rent, on a month to month lease, I get a certified letter saying that I have 15 days to vacate, and that no extensions will be given. Is that how evictions are usually done. Do I have any option other than leave at end of 15 day notice?
    Also, originally, I was supposed to get electric in my name, but since they wanted $300 deposit, owner said he would just keep it in my name, and he’d send me the bill. He didn’t send a bill til 3 months later, and the 1st month of it was over $300, even tho I had kept all the bedrooms closed and was just heating the living room. I called electric company, and found out that the baseboard heaters I had were VERY expensive, but owner never told me that. I told him that I was already paying the high end value to rent the house, so asked if he could just include utilities in the rent. I never got an answer, but never got another utility bill from him, either. However, 2 times the electric company came out to collect some money that was owed, or they were going to immediately cut the power, so I payed them. If he doesn’t pay the elec bill, is that the same as illegally turning off the electricity?

  73. My tenants one year lease expires January 2017. She was advised verbally, 31 days prior, that the lease expires at 5 pm on the 17th. She owes me two months rent. I am not renewing the lease and have told her she is out, gone. What next? Can she legally stay a day longer?

    1. @CHH — Not really, but to enforce the terminated lease you’ll have to go to court. If you need help with the eviction process, please feel free to contact my office. You are not allowed to simply change the locks.

  74. I was just informed by my leasing agency that the homeowner of the house I am renting has terminated his relationship with the leasing agency. I still have a contract with the homeowner via the leasing agency through March of 2017. I haven’t been contacted by the homeowner however on how to get him my rent payments. The leasing agency has stated they can’t take my money due to not being partnered with the homeowner anymore. I don’t have contact info for the homeowner. Can I be held liable for not paying rent if I have no idea where I’m supposed to be paying rent. Also, what do I do in the event of a maintenance emergency?

    1. @Jason — I assume the landlord will eventually get in touch with you — especially if they do not receive the rent b/c you don’t know where to send it. Regarding an emergency, I don’t think you have much choice other than to get the issue corrected and then ask your landlord to reimburse you (or give you a credit against your next rent payment).

  75. The tenant I want to evict is my son-in-law. He has lived in our house for over a year without paying any rent. His stay was supposed to be only for a couple of months until he found a job. Every month it’s the same story, “I had a good led that didn’t work out.” I want him out and willing to file paperwork. However, his mother is fighting me. If I file the eviction paperwork can my wife turn around and stop it?

  76. I have a question if your under a lease with another person and that person just leaves and you get eviction notice later is the other person that deserted you responsible for half of the rent

    1. There is no reference to such responsibilities to 3rd parties including landlord’s landlord in my lease agreement. My lease does not say it is a sublease — it’s just a lease agreement between me and another guy. And this guy has his own lease agreement with the owner of the unit

  77. So I’m in sublease with my landlord. So my landlord has his landlord. And my landlord failed to pay to his landlord. My landlord just received a 5-day notice to pay or quit. For all 4 years I’ve lived here I never missed my payment due dates to my landlord, never violated any law or my lease agreement. So I’m 100% responsible but my landlord is not. I don’t want one day to face a sheriff giving me 24 hours to move. Because all these things as different notices and maybe trial itself would involve only my landlord and his landlord. What if my landlord would just tell me nothing. And all of a sudden one day I would face a sheriff giving me 24 hours or something and not giving me even opportunity to stay overnight. It would be crazy. Could you give me a good link to read about this situation? Thank you

    P.S. My last lease was expired 2 years ago but I keep living here, I keep paying my rent at specified amount, my landlord keeps depositing my checks. So I guess it should be treated as prolonging our agreement on month-to-month basis. But I believe I still have the same right even if our agreement in writing is expired 2 years ago.

    1. @Yury – Yes, you still have rights even though your lease expired. It’s possible that the landlord is not eviction you, but only evicting your landlord — you should check the paperwork or the General District Court online database to see if you’re listed as an “occupant”

  78. Can landlord evict wife of tenant for having service animals?

    Virginia – In this case tenant got married and landlord approved occupancy by tenant and spouse and accepted rent without reservation for two months with knowledge of spouse’s presence prior to attempting to evict spouse from 2-bedroom apartment.
    Husband had 2 year lease on 2-bedroom apartment (husband was only occupant for 1.4 years, then got married with 6 months left in lease). Husband notified landlord in advance that he was getting married and that wife would be moving in. Landlord did not object, and ultimately agreed that wife could occupy unit. Wife moved in. Landlord accepted rent for two months without reservation after acknowledging wife occupying unit. After that, landlord began attempts to evict wife of tenant.Wife is disabled and has a service animal. Landlord initially tried to evict based on service animal. When tenant suggested this was discriminatory, landlord then tried to evict based on wife not being on lease and only husband allowed to reside in unit per lease.

  79. Steven
    we are purchasing a home owned by my fiancés father, he has been renting with no lease to them for 8 years, and he lives in Calebra Puerto Rico. They do not maintain the property, only mow grass and its a fixer upper we are purchasing. They were asked June 2016 if they wanted to purchase the house and they said they couldn’t afford it, his Dad said well I am trying to sell. My fiancé call him Todd…. was approached by his Dad in to purchase the house after they said they couldn’t afford it and Todd put his house on the market, it sold in three weeks, and he just closed Oct 31 2016. His sister and all her clan living there wont leave. we are living separate in each others friends homes until we can get them out and have 4 storage units of 600.00 a month we now have to pay. They were told September 3, 2016 that Todd was buying the house, and they said well you will have to force us out. We went and got a five day to evacuate written up and served them, and next is the summons. Let me mention too, that when Todd told them he was buying the house they stopped paying the mortgage. Todd is also POA for his dad over the property. The clerks office told us what steps to take, and pretty much no need for an attorney that they only have court twice a month in Botetourt VA, and a lawyer cant rush the process. Can his dad move back up here temporary and move in the house and force them out? They are trashy people and Im sure will destroy what they can.

  80. I need advice, I had to go to the hospital for an emergency for 2 weeks, in the meantime my landlords packed my stuff and are storing them in a church that they work. This happened on or about September 15 and my rent was paid until the end of the month. They never gave m notice or even a phone call or text. In the meantime i am recuperating at a friend’s house because I lived by myself. They have claimed that I moved back to NY and abandoned the apartment but they did this without giving me any notice and without my permission. What can I do?? Need help

    1. @Miguel You can file a motion claiming you were unlawful evicted from your property. If you’re successful, you can recover out of pocket expenses and attorney’s fees from the landlord.

  81. I am a hotel MGR a guest staying at our hotel all of a sudden stop paying rent now it has been 5 days now I called the law the very first day after not paying rent to evict them from my property the officer told me if a guest stays more than 90 days it becomes as permanent resident guest VA code 55-225.8 section D they been staying at hotel for more than 6 months do I file a summons with general district cout form DC 421 VA code 8.01-126 also what is the process for hotel/Motel eviction is itstill going take over month

  82. My husband and I rented a townhouse for 3 yrs, and every year we planned on buying to get out of the townhouse. (We have 4 kids) After 3 failed attempts to buy before our lease was up, we had to sign another lease at the end of our lease term. We finally bought a house 4-months into our current lease. Our landlord told us the the owner would not allow us to go month-to-month which was why we had to sign another year. We live off of a single income and can’t afford both rent and a mortgage payment. We handed in our keys and did a walk-thru after we finished moving out. Our landlord said that we’ll be responsible for rent until he finds a new tenant. Do we just have to wait until we get summons for nonpayment of rent and go through court proceedings? The house we bought was 100% financed and we owed $0 at closing (which was cheaper than signing a new lease on a bigger house). I’m just trying to plan for the worst possible outcome. We’re hoping that he finds a new tenant quickly, but a couple other townhouses for rent with the same exact floor plans have just been sitting empty for months. Thanks!

      1. My son is living in a room, in a 4 bedroom house in Richmond, VA. I pay $450 for a room that’s the size of a closet!! All you can get in there is a twin size bed and a night stand. The chesser drawer is in the closet!! You can tell she got it from the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Because the drawers were broken and it was extremely dirty as well as the dirty throw rug!! So I said something to her about it. She said, so you don’t want the room? I said it was up to my son. So he decided to stay as there was no where else for him to go and she knew that!! I pay the rent for him as he has health problems and is trying to get disability. She has asked him to do her favors. She would ask him to wash dishes. Even though he didn’t eat off any of the dishes he’s washing. She has asked him to dump the trash and he does. He doesn’t have transportation so he stuck in the house unless a friend picks him up. She hasn’t given him a key to both locks. Then last week she gives him a key Ti one of the locks. He’s lived there for 4 months! She has treated him so badly. Always accusing him of not washing his hands even though he tells her he has. She’s not in the bathroom with him. She wouldn’t give him the key to the bottom lock. Say just call me and I’ll come back. He would have to stay outside for up to 2 hous waiting for her! So I decided to come down and pay rent in person. She was shocked to see me and said what you’re doing here? I said I came to see my son. Then I said, and I will be coming down monthly. She then asked for her rent. I then said know that you ask for rent Can I get the key to the lock? She say I don’t have an extra key. I said we can get one made right now if you’re not going anywhere. She said she wasn’t. Then she said I can get a key made. I said this week? She said yes. We left and came back she gave him the key to have a duplicate made! Today, Sunday, November 5, she served him with a 30 day notice!! He as well as I were surprised. In it she say he ate her food and doesn’t wash his hands and creeps downstairs to eat her food. He avoids her as much as possible because of the disresoect she showed him. So he doesn’t come downstairs until after she goes to bed!! Now she writes these lies. What can we do. 30 days is not enough time to find another room for him. It took two months to find this one!! I paid a deposit and I know that’s why she saying all these things to keep the deposit! Can you help us??

  83. We got a 5 day pay or quit- we paid 4800 out of the 6000 owed
    The landlord said pay the next month on time and your fine. I have the rest to pay him however he came over today and said “you have to move out by Monday” I said well what if I pay the rest and he said he didn’t care and we still have to move out- is this accurate, like I have to move my wife and three kids out over the weekend with nowhere to go???

  84. I received a letter from my county for my rental property bc the tenants haven’t cut the lawn. Its over grown by county code. So, I texted them a copy of the letter and reminded them this is also a violation of their lease agreement. Their lease states at their sole expense they are responsible to maintain the grass and shrubs therein. I have had this issue with them not maintaining the yard previous times. Last year had an attorney notify them by written notice on lease violations, including their lack of yard maintenance.
    The tenants responded on the current notice i gave them from the county , that the county and me can just wait for them to cut the grass. The county is only giving about a week to have the grass cut or they will hire someone and send the bill to the homeowner. The county only sends out lawn violation notices once your lawn has excessive growth. These tenants have been giving me a hard Time their entire tenancy. Im concerned bc I let them know the county is requiring it be cut in a week, if its not the county will hire someone to cut it and in accordance with their lease, they will be responsible for all the costs associated with the county getting the lawn cut.
    If I end up getting charged by the county for cutting the lawn, Im assuming I would have to demand the tenant pay it back to me as “rent”? Then if they do not add it in to the next rent payment, I would have to give them a 5 day pay or quit written notice? Is this correct?
    If they end up not paying for this is this enough reason to file an unlawful detainer? They also still owe an outstanding balance of $120 in late charges from paying rent late and never complied with showing proof their dog is vaccinated in accordance with their pet agreement. They have also been very argumentative when communicating with them. Recently calling threatening to throw the fridge I provide outside if I didn’t fix it right away. They claimed all their groceries were going bad and their going to buy their own fridge. Then take out $300 from my rent money for all their groceries going bad. I went over there the same day to promptly take care of the situation. When I go there the tenant is yelling at me and everything in the fridge was fine. The fridge was working and cooling like normal.
    It was just a little frost at the back wall of the freezer. I had an appliance man replace the part needed the next day.
    It has just been numerous times though with this type of argumentative behavior from them and making up things to try and threaten me. Is this legal for them to treat me like this just bc I lease a property to them? PLEASE HELP!

  85. my son was staying in my house, he has moved out & his friend is still there , we have no lease , just verbal agreement & he has not paid any $$. Question can I give him 5 days or even 1? he does not receive mail at my address or have any ids with my address on it.

  86. An eviction request has been filed. The morning rent was due my billing statement showed 0 balance due. A few days later I received a quit notice, and court date. Procedure has been followed. I live on a fixed income. My roommate has not contributed to the home costs. All rental payments are in my name, we are both on the lease. Can the amount I owe be reduced for this month if I pay next month on time in full. Can the proceedings be separated so that only my roommate is evicted for non-urgent payment and the financial judgment will only be against my roommate? Prior to court I can pay current full month and utilities, and 1/2 the past rent and utilities easily prior to the court date. Will this be enough to dismiss proceedings against me only. My roommate declared intention to move out this month. Please advise. Thank you

  87. This is a follow-up question. The landlord got a default judgment(money/possession) on Friday. Should any additional rent payments be made? There is a pay or quit notice for September(expires 12 Sep) . However, it can be paid now. Spoke with the plaintiff’s attorney Friday afternoon to discuss paying off the money judgment. To my knowledge, writ of possession(eviction) hasn’t been issued yet.

  88. What can a person with a disability do if they can’t physically appear in court to challenge an eviction? I know there are many great attorneys in my area but I’ve been unsuccessful so far in finding one who at least listens to my defense. I’m not a deadbeat looking for a way to get out of paying rent. Unfortunately, I’ve found that the minute unlawful detainer or eviction is mentioned; the automatic assumption seems to be that the landlord is right. Maybe it’s true in many cases but not in all. My situation is a little unique but the couple of attorneys I’ve spoken to so far have basically shut me down. One did listen to a degree but stated that he really didn’t have time and based on how I spoke thought that I could handle it on my own. If I were well, I probably could do it on my own because I’ve done the legwork and would have no problem presenting my case in a professional, articulate manner. But I’m not well. Another attorney told me yesterday to just give up, and actually smirked when I stated that without help, I’ll be both unemployed and homeless. Yet another attorney stated that I should write a letter to the judge explaining my situation and ask to be heard by phone. I asked the court clerk and she said it can’t be done. The attorney said to ignore that and contact the judge anyway. There is no one to whom power of attorney can be given to appear in my place, and the hearing is tomorrow, 9 Sep. I didn’t just start looking for help yesterday. I don’t know what to do because if I miss that hearing tomorrow, it’s all over. While there’s no guarantee the judge will rule in my favor, at least he would be able to hear my side and reach a decision based on all information.

    1. @Mae — You should call the clerk, first thing in the morning and explain that your disability does not allow you to appear in court. That doesn’t necessarily explain why you couldn’t find an attorney to appear for you, but ask the clerk if you can appear via phone and offer to sit on hold until your case is called. If not, ask the judge the continue the case for a short period of time, but unlawful detainers get heard quickly, so it may just be set for trial in a week or two. Good luck.

  89. My landlord text me today and told me she was gonna change the locks sometime this week and I have to move. I was supposed to be taking over my friends place. Everything was fine until her husband got mad and told the landlord he wanted me to move out.The place is in her husband name and hers and I’m also on the lease. Can she just kick me out like that or does she have to get an eviction notice

  90. Steve,

    Is it considered retaliation of a landlord to deactivate my key fob access to the clubhouse and gym for not paying rent on time? There is nothing in my lease agreement that says the landlord will do this and they haven’t deactivated any of my neighbors key fobs.

    1. “Retaliation” would be an adverse action for doing something you have a lawful right to do (like form a tenant association, or complain about not having HVAC/heat or hot water, etc.). Not paying rent on time doesn’t really fall under that category.

      Assuming you’re paying late and paying any late fee associated with paying late, were it me and this were important and landlord didn’t respond to a letter, I’d file a breach of contract action on the landlord (if you want to sue for $$ to account for lost value of access to X amenity … which I shouldn’t think would amount to much). I’m not sure a tenant’s assertion would be something a general district court would care much about given you’re referring to amenity access.

  91. Virginia has virtually no consumer protection laws. Landlords don’t give a damn if and why tenants cant pay their rent on time. Case in point, my husband and I fell behind on rent a couple of times since moving to Richmond due to hardships. We pay $1600 a month for a 2 bedroom loft in a mid rise, multi building complex downtown which is evidently high for the area but, we came down here literally blind and in a bind to lease a place quickly because his job was transferring him. We paid substainly more where we used to live so, naturally we thought the agreement we entered into was a good deal. I quit a decent job with good benefits and a steady pay check to relocate. After a few months of being unemployed and applying to jobs left and right to no avail, I had to finally bite the bullet and take a resturant job with inconsistent pay. After falling behind in my own bills and obligations, I couldn’t be a great deal of help with rent and bills after exhausting nearly all my savings and cashing out my 401K. My husband was ill and had to be hospitalized causing him to miss work and have his salary docked. Also, he recently had some sudden unjust high wage garnishments for child support (which took nearly half of his pay check and he couldn’t get the court out of state to adjust based on his actual income now). My husband is a military veteran awaiting disability benefits from the VA which have been owed to him for past 2 years since he was medically discharged from the military.
    We have received threatening nasty grams from the leasing office on our door for all of our neighbors to see even before the 5 day grace period between the 5th and 10th before rent is late and charged between $150-$300 or what ever they feel like tacking on to the rent in late fees and other penalties. Also, we receive other tenant’s late rent or failure to renew lease notice taped to our door containing their personal information including a guy who works for my husband. The landlord even sent us a notice they weren’t renewing our lease and we had to be out in 2 months even though we signed a 20 month lease and had another year to get out, we confronted her and she’s all, “oops.” Even after the first time rent was late but, we made partial payments and kept her on the loop we still received an unlawful detainer notice on our door to appear in court 2-3 weeks after filing with a court date with in 10 days later. We never had a judgement against us in the past because we won a previous case due to paying the past due fees including court costs and plantiff’s attorney fees and the scatter brained leasing agent whom we paid failed to provide a receipt and the fact the property was taking our money “with reservation” and tried to proceed illegally with an eviction so, we hired a lawyer immediately to bail us out in time. Today we were in court alongside a dozen or so other tenants in our property going through the same situation with unlawful detainers. The land lord’s lawyer (who by the way is an evil shrew) told the judge (who was overall fair and objective) that we had a past judgement against us. The lawyer lied. My husband could not interject and correct the attorney due to the previous landlord-tennant testimonies being extremely long winded and the judge was rather tired and mentioned that she had several more cases to hear after and the time had already expired. Now writ of possession will be granted in 10 days as opposed to possibly getting a extension prior to eviction by taking this to trial. The and the eviction will occur sometime in 30 days. Needless to say, evictions are swift in this state and there are very few legal loopholes or time allowed to catch up even if the landlord will let you stay. If you are late on rent just once you can quickly face eviction. They make it even more difficult with court, legal fees, and other charges. We are just going to move out and find a more sustainable place to live which is safer, quieter, better customer service, and I don’t have to worry about having my car hit on the side of the road or moving my car every two hours so I won’t be ticketed.

    1. There are always two sides, including that of the landlord, to every story, but you were never denied access or use of the loft, were you?

      And, of course, you thoroughly read your lease before you signed it, didn’t you? Were there clauses in the lease that granted you relief for falling behind on your bills or health issues or child care issues or unjust court actions or failing to pay timely?

  92. Hi Steve,

    I own a mobile home that is in a mobile home park, where I pay rent monthly for my lot. I received a letter in the mail last week stating that I had 30 days to either sell my home or have it moved from the property because my landlord claims to be selling the land. He has been going around to my neighbors talking badly about my wife and I, and told them that if my trailer isnt gone by the 30 days that he is coming in with a bulldozer to level it. We have lived here for almost 5 years, 4 without being on a lease, and the landlord refused to renew after the first year. Can he legally make me move my home within 30 days? Also, my wife is disabled, can I get some kind of extension because of this? Please respond, Im not sure what to do and dont want to lose my home. Thanks!

    1. @Ricky Landlord cannot bulldoze your home legally. Doesn’t mean he won’t, but he should not. However, since you do not have a lease, 30 days notice is typically all that is required. After the 30 days, the landlord can begin the eviction process, so you’ll have more than 30 days, but you need to start looking for a new place ASAP.

  93. I was late last month but i paid it and now i am 2 days behind for july. I have a notice for court but i will have paid it before my date. do i have to go to court and can they still evict me?

    1. @Johnna Always go to court unless you have something in writing saying you don’t have to from the other side — even though, you should still probably go.

  94. I am a landlord, and I agreed to give our tenants up to 3 months to pay the security deposit, even though the lease agreement stated it was due upon signing (my mistake for cutting them a break). How do I go about giving them notice that the payment has still not been received, is past due and required, and that if they don’t comply, we want them out?

    1. @Jessica You draft up the notice, give them a chance to correct the issue, ensure that they receive the notice, and then if they do not comply, you could start the eviction process.

  95. hello steve we received a 3day notice with no prior notice of any thing just get out we owe no back rent .we had no time to fight it notice on door on Friday had to be out by Monday.never seen it coming asked why was given the run police activity no drugs no one even has a record. confused to this day.

  96. agreement last year after I discovered they have a dog without permission. They stated in writing on their application prior to renting the property that they have No pets and told me this face to face too when I asked them.

    I asked for proof of their dogs vaccines, specifacally the rabies vaccine, in accordance with their pet agreement I had them sign. They texted me that the dog was up to date on his shots but didnt know where the paper was. I told them I must have proof of the rabies vaccine. They then gave me paperwork but it didnt have anything about rabies vaccine. It did show that they have owned the dog a year or more prior to moving in.

    Apparently, they really had never had a rabies vaccine administered to their dog and had it vaccinated with a one year rabies vaccine April of 2015. The vet paper they gave me shows the rabies vaccine was only a one year rabies vaccine.
    I sent a letter to them May 13th,2016, requesting proof of an updated rabies vaccine, in accordance with their pet agreement. I explained that they this is a violation of their agreement bc their dogs rabies vaccine was now expired. I requiredthat they provide me with updated proof of a current rabies vaccine by May 20, 2016, otherwise in accordance with their pet agreement, they will have to remove the pet from the premises and/ or be grounds for termination of their tenancy.
    I have not heard anything from them and want to know what next step should I take? Do I now send a 21/30 cure or quit notice?
    They also, still owe late fees from May 2015 and January 2016 .
    Please help!

    1. @Holly Yes, you could send them a cure notice and if they do not correct the violation, then you could evict them if they are still in violation of the lease or pet addendum.

  97. My landlord has just given my husband and I until the first of the month to move. The house we have been renting for almost five years has a lot of damage in it because of termites and neglect. We have never asked him to repair anything. When the shower didn’t work we paid $800 to get it fixed. When the deck boards started rotting we replaced them. Last week there was a big plumbing leak under the house and he said we needed to fix it or move. We called a plumber and they said it would cost $800-$1700 to fix. We couldn’t pay that. So he fixed it. While the plumber was there, they said the sewer pipes also needed to be replaced. He did not want to do that. Now we have sewer water coming up in our bathtub. No drains in the house work. When we told him this. He said get out. We are current on our rent. When we have been late we always have paid the late fee. What do I do now, besides move?

    1. @Anna If your lease has a casualty clause, then your landlord could likely evict you eventually — but I think you could probably get reimbursed for the improvements you made to the property.

  98. i have a brother who is on the lease with me. i am the main applicant and he is a co applicant. he has not paid me his full portion of the rent he owes since living in apt.. i have giving him time after time to pay his part and its gotten to the point i am sick and tired of his shit! I want him out now. i feel i am being held hostage. its either i walk away or he leaves now. i believe that 5 months with out paying on time is enough for a 30 day notice. what is the correct way to get him out without myself going to jail?

    1. @Brian No one is going to jail over this. If you’re both on the lease, the landlord may have to give the notice and not you since the agreement to live there in not with you, but with the landlord and the two of you have an agreement about how you’re going to pay with the landlord. I suggest you speak with the landlord and try to work with the landlord.

  99. I rented a room out of my basement the tenant signed agreement to pay rent and if not on time after several days late will be served with 5 day. She does not get mail at my house and the mail comes to me how do I have her served with a 5 day pay or quit?

  100. I am in a dispute with my landlord, but have paid my rent every month in full and on time; we are in dispute about rental payment four months ago, and the landlord has been applying my rent to late fees accrued every month, then the past evict notice is dismissed — until the last fees, etc. have accumulated to $1400. I went to court and denied the claim and a hearing has been scheduled next month. But I am in a difficult situation, and I literally have not slept more than a few hours for the past 3 days. I live in Richmond. This is my problem: my lease expires at the end of this month. I had recv’d a notice to renew, at $20 more a month for 15 months. I returned the paperwork, and then received a phone call asking if I wanted to renew, which I returned and they advised unless I paid everything in full, they would not renew. I do not want to leave. I am disabled and poor, but can afford the rent and it’s very well located for me. This is what I’m losing sleep over. I was reading the LTA, which I hope I am reading incorrectly. But it said in there that even though we have an eviction date looming, the landlord can still take immediate possession on the 1st, which is in two days, on Sunday — I also received a notice for April with an incorrect amt. because the court consolidated cases, which their atty agreed to, eliminating an additional court cost. But handwritten on the paper was the word “urgent” I’ve attempted to contact legal aid, with no luck, and I’ve called the landlord’s atty with no call back, plus I just had major surgery last week and am on bedrest for another week.
    My question is simple, because the lease did not continue, can the apt. come on the 1st and take possession, have the Sheriff ensure that I leave, because no lease is in effect, because the court is just hearing the case based on the last 2 months the lease is in effect, or is the landlord barred from that action pending the court’s ruling?

    Thank you for your answer.

    1. @Patricia I haven’t reviewed your docs and I don’t fully understand the situation, but it is very likely that the sheriff would come on the first and make you leave. The sheriff will only assist a landlord in taking possession of a property after a court awards the landlord possession. Good luck.

  101. I have a five day grace period. Paid in full including the late fee on day 9. Received an “acceptance of rent with reservation” letter on the 13th. Didn’t receive a pay or quit letter, but did receive a reminder on the sixth day. Could this notice be a scare tactic? I’m a good renter and paid late (day 6) once before. Leasing from a company. Thanks for your help.

    1. @Luke Probably just a mechanism to try to get you pay on time next, but it could also mean that a late payment is a material breach of your lease and grounds for termination. You’ll have to check your lease terms.

  102. What rights does a landlord have to evict a tenant if there are rumors of illegal activities going on in a unit? No actual physical evidence, all word of mouth.

  103. I am a landlord, i have a month to month lease with a tenant he has all of a sudden stopped working and has moved 3 people in who is giving him money to live there, i pay the electric and water. I need to give him a 30 day notice, what do i need to do to do this

  104. @Jeanetta It sounds like they really didn’t want you there anyway and if i were you i would be happy to leave. How are they so intuned to your personal business anyway? And when you signed that lease any questions should have been directed towards you and not you getting a call from your mom thats breaking the landlord and tenant confidentiality. Seeing as how they want you out 30 days later i suggest you go to court state your case and get back every dime you gave them towards your new place. And hopefully the judge sees fit to add a little inconvience fees to you as well.

  105. Hello. My husband and I were separated at the time I signed my lease. I moved in on Mar 1. On this same evening he came back into town to bring my dog. (Dog is approved by landlords). I allowed him to sleep on the sofa. The next day my mother (not on the lease) called to say that the landlords (who are 30 year family friends), told her to tell me that my husband couldnt stay here. I went a few days later to talk with them. They stated it was due to the size of the home, two bedrooms, and that I have opposite sex children (both under 18) that are not allowed to share a room. They claimed that if someone complained, social services could be called to the house. With concern for them and myself legally. I researched the City and State occupancy guidelines. The home meets all the guidelines for a family of four. And where the children sleep is a parental matter and that Landlords cannot tell a family where the children can or cannot sleep. I went back to the landlords to talk with them again. They just didn’t care about what I found about the occupancy, ect. They know all of my husband and I’s personal business. (Not from me…..) My landlord told me to go back to my husband and talk to him and depending on what he says about the situation, they will then know if his intentions where honorable. Well, I did as they asked. But felt like it was really none of their business. As long as I pay the rent and take care of the home, that is what they should be concerned with. Also, note that at this point I have only lived in the home for two weeks. Because I did not return to talk to them about my personal business, they put (not mailed) a note to vacate the property by april 1, unless, I assume of course, if I ask my legal husband to leave. I called the Fair Housing Officer for the city and explained what was happening. She said that I needed to put my conerns in writing and send it to the landlords by certified mail. I did this on 3/16. Asking them to notify me by 3/23 if they simply could not give their permission for him to live with his family that I would go ahead and find alternate living arrangents. They did not sign for the letter and then did not pick it up from the post office until 3/29. Today, I called to ask to meet with them and they flat refused unless their lawyer was present, saying that I would be receiving something in the mail from their lawyer. Just need help….not sure where to go from here. PS. Not sure if it matters but I am white and he is black. We have been together for 20 years…married for the last 10 years. Also, due financial concerns….I need time to get the needed funds to move. Help….any advice is grealy appreciated.

    1. @Jeanetta If your husband was not on the lease, it could be a violation of the lease to have him there and that could be the basis for an eviction. The other stuff about your kids I don’t think matters. Good luck.

      1. I do understand the part about him not being on the lease. The lease states that a guest may not live there longer than one week without prior written permission from the landlords. He was in the home for less than 12 hours when they happen to drive by and questioned my mom about the vehicle in the driveway. I didnt even have any time to let them know he was here…. I went to them two days after that to speak with them about the situation and ask for some time to figure it out. They said no. Thats when they said it was because my two opposite sex kids are not legally allowed to share a room. At this point we hadnt even sorted that part out. Regardless if their dad was there or not. They probably wouldve shared a room anyway….at what point does saying yes or no to ones legal husband and not just a random person be considered? Or is it just what they want and the human part doesn’t matter? I had already told them that we would move. The challenge is now I had given them all the funds I had saved, so it will take a few weeks to get it saved back up. About how long is the eviction process? I didnt want it go that far. If I could move tomorrow, I would

  106. We were given a summons for court and the property manager said we didn’t have to come to court, I was working there also. She told me they wouldn’t take immediate possession but would take payments without prejudice. We have a court date for April 5th and have been given a 72 hour notice. Would a judgement be placed against me now?

    1. @Mikaeel GO TO COURT. If you do not go to court, the building will seek immediate possession. You need to get everything from the building in writing — especially about court and any promises they make you.

  107. I moved into a home where the previous tenants had several cats and dogs.Upon moving in, I noticed the carpets smelled awful. Landlord stated they had been cleaned. I am allergic to cats and have chronic ashtma. I asked her to replace carpets or I could do it but it be deducted from rent in $200 intervals every month and she refused. I have to go to the doctor three times a week for allergy shots, use two inhalers, steroid cream for the hives I get all day, allergy pills, and carry an epipen now just to live in my home.
    I sent a notice of repair after several emails and text message trying to resolve the issue before filing a notice of repair with the intent to vacate property if the issue wasn’t resolved. she filed a unlawful detainer for the month. Am I wrong for asking for the carpets to be replaced if is a health issue?

  108. I have a question. How fast between receiving a “pay or quit” notice does it take before they are allowed to change the locks? I just got notice to pay today or eviction proceedings will begin…but I don’t know what time frame that means?

  109. Is it any different a process than a regular eviction if the person is under a land contract agreement and has defaulted since there is going to be a recorded contract in the circuit court records clouding the title to contend with?

  110. I have a question: I am a lanlord and a tenant that was screened by a property manager I hired yet the application looks questionable, but aside from that this is the issue: She’s been there for eight months and has complained every since; each time issue was fixed, now she has complained several times about a leak and five different people have gone over to the property to fix issue, now I have given the tenant the option to break the lease with no penalties against her but she has not agreed; The house is costing me money with this tenant I no longer can afford, how can I make this a WIN WIN for the both of us. Her lease is up in five months, but I don’t think she will leave before then but continue to cost me money, I don’t have,

  111. I received a unlawful detainer by mail and via sheriff… But my rent was paid. Thank God I kept my receipt. I called my landlord who acted as if she was unaware and provided her the receipt number. She told me she dismissed it and not to worry but when I called the court office they informed me my case was open. What should I do?

  112. Hi, does eviction and protection only apply to landlord/tenant? I am a co-owner of a single family residence that I have been forbidden access to. I would like to file against the unlawful eviction but I cannot find language where co-owners are protected from the other owner? Thanks!

  113. Hi guys. Paula, Gary, (not married)and Jeremy (Paula’s 30 yr old son) live in a trailer in Virginia. Gary dies. Everything is in his name. Gary’s sister has power of attorney over Gary’s estate including settlement money from an accident. Gary’s sisters are now trying to evict Paula and Jeremy quickly. nothing is in their name. They are having utilities shut off in two days. What can they do. Please help

  114. Hi Steve,
    Can i evict my roommate/uncle.
    He complains over small things such as me opening microwave or coming home from work being noisy and having to pay half the bills . He is not on lease and he does not receive mail there he has only been staying there for 10 days so far and he has paid 350 of room bill.

  115. It may be a matter of tenant eviction in Virginia or California, the process is same and some of the legal expertise varies. This article is truly worthy and useful to explore varied legal aspects of tenant eviction. As a tenant when I was searching for a support, I found the professionals from Express Evictions and they are truly worthy. They have also discussed the same as you have made. Thanks for the article I deserve more and more useful resource from your end.

  116. Steven I have a quick question. My old landlord sold the mobile home park and the new owner told me he wasn’t changing any of the rules because it seemed the old rules was working. The same park manger took over for the new owner and he made a new rules and handed them out two weeks after the rent was and was trying to charge a higher late payment then what it was without any notice can he do that? . In va don’t they have to give you a 30day notice of any changes?

  117. Quick question – I want to use my security deposit (a full month’s rent) as pay for the last month of my lease. Does this change my legal rights from what’s stated above? Can he still give me a 5 day quit notice/force me to move out early? (even if I am willing to do a walk through 2 weeks prior to the end of lease and pay for/correct repairs out of pocket?) I know that’s sort of a weird way to do things, but I want to do that for 2 reasons: I need the rent money for a new place to live, and I don’t trust my landlord to give me any of the deposit back, despite taking very good care of the apartment.

  118. hello I lived with two other gentlemen in an apartment with my infant. We were evicted with no notice notice to pay or quite just a 72 hour notice to evict. the main person on the lease went to court to dispute explaining landlord denied fund for rent which to no avail didn’t work the very same day landlord attempted to forcefully have locks changed and physically remove our item with out an sheriff we called the police he was escorted off the propert 48 hours later all roommate incluing my self moved out and aarons picked up remaining furniture now a year late the main leasee is being sue for over $2,000 worth of damages we never caused since we had had already settled out of court. what can we do. This is entirely unfair and property was never damaged.

    1. @angel Most leases require a letter of deductions to be given within 30 or 45 days after the lease is terminated or you move-out. If that wasn’t done, then I think the landlord would have a difficult time winning the case. Even if the lease doesn’t require a deductions letter, the landlord will have an uphill battle to demonstrate that the tenants caused this damage a year later. Good luck.

  119. What if a landlord promises years ago to fix the electricity,windows falling off,asbestos in ceiling & siding,empty the sewer,put in heat,new wiring,fix bathroom tub,etc over 3yrs ago and hasn’t done anything but complaint about my vehicles because he is in trouble with the county with his garage business- people have taken their vehicles there years ago and still ain’t fixed – our sewer and water are connect together,even the electricity to the garage the commissioner stated was part of my house he uses to storage things- I’m tired of him throwing my useful items away and even my grandchildrens’ toys – rent is NEVER LATE & his own son stated he’s overcharging us $150- more than last tenants – I never had the county say a single word to me about my yard only because he’s is at risk of loosing his business licence…..

  120. Can serious cracks in the ceiling and walls, nondisclosure of prior water damage that has only been minimally fixed and non disclosure of a prior fire that was not repaired and a failure to disclose lead base paint grounds for breaking my lease. I contacted the inspector and she is coming out to write up violations but not sure what to do. I told the landlord and he sent a guy over to do the minimum. I still have part of the ceiling falling on my head

  121. Holy crap- this blog is depressing. I have over 80 tenants and treat them with respect and expect the same-including rent on time. Taxes, Insurance, maintenance, mortgages……typically losing a month and a half of rent is the entire years profit. Think about that next time you cry the blues to your “rich” landlord about your knocked up girlfriend, lost job, blown engine etc. while the back yard and the whole house is piled up with your junk. Old man taught me well. If you have a crappy tenant for more than two months the guy at fault is in the mirror. As a tenant, live below your means and live lightly (get rid of your junk before you move in) and pay on time. You will find a good landlord, I promise. We are in it for the money and evictions just produce losses.

  122. I know there are some differences in the eviction profess for a common-law lease, for example, I believe five-day service by mail is not permitted, but is it possible to bifurcate a UD judgment with possession first and then damages some time later (90 days I believe it is)?

    What proof must be supplied for repairs and replacements? Lost rent is a matter of the lease, but late fees always seem to be rules excessive. There is no statutory late fee, right? Is awarding late fees always at the discretion of a judge?

  123. My mother has a verbal lease with the landord and we have been paying rent. He wants us to move by this weekend because we want to pay the electric bill ourselves and not give him cash because the last time we did he did not pay the bill. Can he do that

  124. How about dealing with noisy neighbors in a duplex setting and wanting to get out of your lease to get away from the noise, with a possible deposit reimbursement, have situations like this ever succeeded? If not explained properly, I apologize, I haven’t gotten a decent night sleep in a week.

  125. My husband has been doing work to the house we rent, and several months rent was waived. The rent being waived was verbal. The landlord stopped by a few weeks ago with a typed paper saying Sept and Oct were late and due + late fees. Sept and Oct were waived verbally, along with a couple months prior. Yesterday I find out the landlord has sold the property. This info was given to me by an employee of the landlord. The employee says the landlord said everyone has to be gone by Monday. This is the first I’ve heard that the property was for sale. The lease says the landlord can put up a For Sale sign in the last 60 days of the lease agreement. I feel like the landlord is saying Sept and Oct are late so he has grounds for an eviction. Also, he suddenly wants to do a home inspection, which he’s never wanted to do before. I really feel like he’s looking for a reason to evict us quickly since he sold the property. I have no where else to go… Many thanks in advance.

    1. @Katelin — The landlord probably is trying to find a way to evict you, but that doesn’t mean that he’s going to be successful. Not having the waived rent in writing is a problem for you, but not it’s a complete deal breaker. Also, just because the property is sold does not mean that you’re necessarily being evicted. You probably you need an attorney to contact the landlord, figure out whats going on, and let the landlord know that you’re serious about your rights.

  126. Hi I am a tenant. I pay my rent on time and I received a water bill for 2 months of almost 700. comes to find out the toliet was leaking. The landlord fixed it and sent over the repair bill to the water company and they are still messing around. I have no choice but to pay it. Anyway because of this situation (not the landlords fault) but also some other situations. I need to break my lease and move out the end of December and move back to Missouri due to family issues that have come up. I’m only in 4 or 5 months into my lease. I can’t afford to pay rent here and move at the same time. How do I break my lease and work something out without it going to court. I don’t not want to pay what I owe. I want to do this the right way. But how do I even approach the situation.

    1. I just don’t know how to talk to him about it or anything. I’ve never had to break my lease before or ever ever been evicted before. This is very embarrassing. I just want to do this the right way

      1. @Mia I don’t know if getting a higher water bill is sufficient grounds to break your lease. Probably not. You’ll have to talk with your landlord and see if he’ll let you out of the lease. Maybe if you find a replacement tenant so the landlord doesn’t lose money on the property.

  127. I have tenants in a single family home I own in Isle of Wight county. They have been late on rent 3 months in a row (their first 3 months in the home) and have only paid after much effort on my part. I’ve bent over backwards to communicate with them to determine the problem and way ahead. They very rarely respond. My gut says they are intentionally avoiding communication as they have given me no reason to believe otherwise. The lease clearly states that 3 late payments in a 12 month period constitutes a default on the lease. I would like to send them a 30-day notice to vacate as I feel the default/breach is not remediable. Given all the effort I’ve put into trying to communicate with them (e-mail, phone, text, phone messages) with no response, I’m not sure what they could do to acceptably remedy the situation. If they do not vacate, I plan to continue the eviction process. Am I on target or would you recommend another course of action? Thanks.

  128. We have a tenant that we will issue a 5 day pay or quit notice as of today. This will be her second one. She was paying her rent on time but has recently fallen behind although has paid October in 3 installments. She has said she will pay November by the 10th however will not answer if it is in full. Her lease is up the end of January (thankfully) and their is not a month to month option. I can foresee that she will not end up paying in Janauary because she will not have enough money to move to the next place. A little concerned that she won’t move out either However, not sure it is worth it to go to battle over it at this point as long as she is paying even in portions.Her deposit isn’t fully paid but almost there. It has been one thing or another with this tenant and we have bent over backwards to accommodate and avoid the whole court issue-would love for her just to move on. (even gave her the option) Question- since she is paying even in installments would you bother with the pay or quit? Any other suggestions are welcome!!

    1. @Sue This tenant just seems like a bit of a push or nudge is needed. Generally, these nudges are more effective from attorneys, but it’s certainly not required. If you decide you’d like at attorney to send the notice, feel free to contact me and we’ll find a way to work out the finances given your situation.

  129. How to legally evict my daughter from my home? she has no lease, but does not pay any rent, refuses to follow basic hygiene for the home, is very verbally and sometimes physically abusive, and refuses to help me in any way with our animals care or routine house work. I have told her to leave but she refuses. What can I do?

    1. @Ronda If you’re concerned for your safety, you could file for a protective order at the courthouse. If you’re just trying to evict her, you would evict her like any other other. Provide notice and after the notice, then you begin the filing process with the courts — assuming your daughter is an adult and not a minor child.

  130. Where I have stuff packed up and all over the place from where I’m moving and haven’t done alot of cleaning after joe (my husband whom cheated on me) talked to land lord outside whispering he got land lord to come in and say it was a fire hazard and that he wasn’t putting up with it that we had to go. .I told him I was trying he said I don’t want trying I want it done. .. joe did all this cause I went out with a friend. .. he’s gone on date right now in radford. .. I can’t take much more stress I’m at my breaking point. ..I don’t know what to do…. Can the land lord really kick us out cause we got stuff packed up and haven’t gotten house cleaned.. ive been in and out of hospital because of having strokes due to stress. HELP

  131. We got an unlawful detainer, paid the rent and my son was told by one person, to pay the legal fees and they would work with us for October. He paid the legal fees, and asked what we needed to work out Oct. The boss said they don’t do that, while the girl who told him that stood by, silent. The court date is this Friday, for September (which is paid). Can they add October to it, too?
    We have extenuating circumstances, have always paid somewhat late, but paid and were told “better late than never” and they acknowledged that in their conversation. We are trying hard to pull the money together and still pull my daughter’s wedding off on Saturday, so her dad (who has terminal liver cancer) can walk her down the aisle. It’s just a terrifying mess.

  132. Hi, I have a question and I’ve been looking everywhere for the answer but I’m still confused…me and my mom were renting an apartment and we got taken to court for unlawful detainer. The Judge ruled in favor of the apartments and we had ten days to move out. We left before the what I want to know is, did we leave before the actual eviction? I know that an unlawful detainer is the part of the eviction process but is the judge’s ruling an eviction? He “granted posession” and told us we had to move out so we did. An unlawful detainer suit is bad enough but I just want to know if this will show up as an eviction on my record.

    Sarcastic and mean comments can be kept to yourself. I know we should have just moved out but we couldnt find anywhere to go and we ran out of money…we just couldnt afford it and ended up homeless. It’s a long story and you don’t know it so don’t judge. Thanks in advance for anyone who can help.

  133. Steven,
    Im in a very troubling situation with my tenants of over 2 years. Despite them paying late almost every month late without paying late fees,I let them renew at the beginning of this year for another 2 years. Recently I noticed they had a pool and trampoline installed on the premises. They never received written permission to put these on the property. After notifying my homeowners insurance company about these on the premises, they allowed the pool since I put a lock on the gate but do not insure trampolines. So I would have to sign an exclusion for the trampoline or have the tenants remove it from the premises. My husband and I tried to reason with the tenants but they yelled at me saying its their property when they pay rent there, they can have what they want and their not removing their trampoline bc they just started a renters policy that covers their pool and trampoline. I tried to make them understand Im still responsible and liable for the property, that my insurance will not insure their trampoline. The tenants say Im wrong and nothing in the lease says specifically that they cant have a trampoline. The tenants also threatened me, that if I dont leave them alone about it, their going to try and sue me for harassment and discrimination. The tenant yelled at me over the phone all this and I have been so stressed and nervous about how nasty he talked to me on the phone. I accepted rent late without charging late fees during the initial lease of two years and even changed their date on the renewed lease to allow them 5 more days to pay the rent. However they still paid late again a few months ago and tried giving me a check with a date on it like they paid on time but told me not to cash it until a week later, making the payment over 2 weeks late. I told them I cant accept it checks with the wrong date and they would have to give me another with the correct date, meaning when the funds are actually in their account. They complied although they still didnt pay all the late fees. Even though I didnt issue a pay or quit for their late payments before do I still have to do the 5 day quit if they pay late again or can I send something called pay and leave since they have paid late numerous time within the last 12 months?
    Also do they have to comply with my request to remove their trampoline since Ive asked them and my insurance will cancel me if they do not remove it? I own the property and their renters policy does not prevent injuries from happening or help me if a 3rd party sues me. Im very concerned about my investment and could potentially be sued and its putting me at an unlimited liability risk.
    Ive been very nice to these tenants and tolerate. I have honored all their request for things since they have lived there, including adding gravel to the driveway, having a tree cut down, and repairing things they have caused to be clogged or damaged. Also accepting the rent late too.
    Thats what makes this even more upsetting that they cant understand the bind Im in with my insurance bc of their trampoline and my concern with the unlimited liability them having that on the premises put me under.
    I do have a clause in my lease that says, “get written permission before”, signifgantly altering the premises”. Also, a clause thats titled,” hazardous material”, not to have any thing or object that could be considered dangerous by any responsible insurance company.

    Do either of these clauses protect me should I try to go to court to have them remove it?

    1. @Angie — Without reviewing your lease, I can’t say for sure, but hopefully the provisions in your lease would allow you to evict your tenants if they don’t remove the trampoline. you could also initiate eviction proceedings for the late fees. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to retain an attorney.

  134. I do not have quite enough to cover the entire rent payment due the first, however I can pay more than half of the amount and will pay the remaining balance a week later (plus late fee).

    Should I discuss this with the apartment manager? Will I receive an eviction notice or procedures to evict?
    I live in VA


  135. We’ve been living at our apartment complex for 2 years. The first year was great. No late rent payments everything was wonderful. The 2nd year after renewing our lease. My job closed unexpected. Then Ralph had to undergo two surgeries which set us back. The entire time we were making our landlord aware verbally. The rent wasn’t getting behind it was the water bill. Which we had to neglect in order to pay our rent. Well shortly after that Ralph had a work related injury which caused a broken wrist. I only had a part time job with 15 hours per week. And we were constantly informing our landlord because our rent got paid it was just the water. We also questioned the fact that the hot water heater was leaking and the kitchen faucet. Which was suppose to be fixed last year or the beginning of this year. But never was until we gave a notice to evict. We were taken to court but the case was dismissed because the bill was actually for water. However because Ralph hadn’t received any income for months and I finally got a full time job in February all I could afford to do is pay the rent. We had documentation. We showed it to the landlord took to each court date. We were told to make an arrangement.
    We just couldn’t pay September’s rent on time so we talked to Edward and let him know we would pay it as soon as we were paid. He said ok. And this Friday we were going to pay the September rent and the following Fridays pay waterbill. Our last rent payment would have been October 1 but we are being evicted now. We have to vacate according to the sheriff by the 8th of October. Please help us. We have spoke with several agency but there were no funds. It was a hardship that they were aware of. Plus we weren’t new to them. They knew we would pay on time because of first year. I just need to know what we can do???

  136. Hello.

    I was late on rent. i paid it over a week ago. i just received a unlawful retainer. However, as i mentioned.. i already paid my rent. i am waiting to hear back from the court. can they still evict me? I have just been having a bit of a hard couple of months. its not as if i don’t want to pay my rent.. and i do

    1. @ash — The case should be dismissed if you’ve paid the amounts in the 5 day notice. You may have to go to court as it may not be dismissed in advance, but it should be dismissed if the basis was unpaid rent.

      1. @ steven, I have a similar situation. Rent is due on the 1st but, we have a five day grace period built in our lease. A late fee is assessed after 5 pm on the fifth day. I was served a 5 day notice on Monday the 2nd. I just replaced my transmission in my car, I emailed her and told her I was going to be a little late and pay on Friday the 6th or first thing on Saturday the 7th. If it is paid by then can she till take me to court?

  137. Hey Steven I have a question and possibly need an attorney. I signed a month to month lease on a nice townhouse. After I signed the lease she proceeded to tell me she was going to put down a new floor in the kitchen but since I was was moving in she wasn’t going to be able to. I told her that it was up to her but if that’s what she wants to do than it’s best to do it before we move in and ask her how long it would be be before we could walk on it. She said that the glue would take 24 hours to dry and since I have 3 little girls they couldn’t breath the fumes the glue and acetone used to clean up the excess glue put off. So we waited almost 72 hours before we started moving in. At this point I noticed that the glue was coming up through the cracks on the floor in massive amounts and I contacted her. She come and said I needed to walk on it anyway and left a gallon of acetone and told me to clean it up with it. A couple days later It was still coming up through the cracks and with my girl’s it was hard to use the acetone to clean but I had my wife take them somewhere so i could. It was starting to get all over the carpet in the other rooms so her son tells me to use the aceton on it also and she brings me a carpet cleaner. 2 weeks later the glue still was coming up in massive amounts and the odor was still bad so Since I’m a OTR Truck driver I thought it would be best to take my family with me for a week to let it dry. 3 week’s later when we returned it was still extremely wet and glue was just as bad so i called her and she had her son come take part of it up and redo it. I went to work. One week later on the 4th week when I come to town I stopped at the bank and got the rent money since it was due. When I arrived home As i walked through the door the odor was very strong and she sent me a text say rent was due after I had been there for 2 hours. Well I was upset because I had paid for a nice townhouse and out of four weeks we couldn’t use the kitchen as a normal family would. The carpet was absolutely trashed and with all that the glue was still coming up like it had never dried and we had to vacate for 1 week out of the 4. After thinking about the situation I sent her a text message and told her that I was giving her a 30day notice and I didn’t trust her to give me back my deposit so she could just keep it as my last month rent. The next day I had went somewhere and upon returning I found A 5 day pay or quit in the door that she walked over and put in. Then I received a summons for court. I appeared in court with time stamped pictures and with her being the plaintiff she presented her case first. As she had seen the pictures in my hand and under oath Told the judge she told me it would take 2 weeks before we could move in and that was not true at all. Im honest and want to be fair. She has made statements through text messaging from the first day of moving in that to be honest was hard for me to keep my mouth shut because I would consider them harassment but i did. I found out through her son that i had known for years but hadn’t connected the two that he had helped his brother with the floor and got mad and left because he was completely intoxicated and a drunk. She has parked one of her cars on the street with the whole trunk area of the vehicle blocking my driveway. The vehicle is damaged on that part and I know why she was doing that so I did take pictures to protect myself. Well its Tuesday and Im out of town working and i was supposed to be back in town tomorrow but my load fell through so now its going to be Friday and I received my 10 day notice in court last Tuesday. I have already purchased another place but want be back in town until Friday.. Do you have any advice on what I should do regarding her? And will I be ok as far as removing my family’s belongings this weekend or will I return to find my stuff on the street? Thank you so much. .. I would like to sue her for the fact that you just can’t treat people that way. But To be honest I just don’t want to even look at her ever again.

    1. @Sean — The 10 day notice is probably your right to appeal the courts decision. If you don’t appeal, the landlord will get a writ of possession and have the locks changed. Until you get notice from the sheriff re: the lock-change, you should be able to obtain your belongings.

  138. What are landlord’s right to eviction for non-payment of rents when the original signed copy of lease has been misplaced? Isn’t tenant required to produce a lease to prove valid tenancy?

    1. @Sammy — No, it’s your burden to produce evidence to support your basis to evict for unpaid rent. The lease is the best way to do that, but you could use other evidence as well. It won’t be hard for the tenant to prove that they have a valid tenancy, so I won’t rely on that.

  139. My landlord is being verbally abusive through voicemail. We have been back and fourth about the electric, which is included in the rent. The initial and only written agreement we have is for $100 a month. In the agreement it states that we will “settle up” at the end of the year, where he will give us the bills and have us pay the overage. He has also verbally denied allowing us to have the utilities in our names. There have been years where he has not given us our bills to show us that we either owed him money, he owed us money, or that we broke even. Is this legal? I’m not sure how electric included in a single family home rental is supposed to work and I can’t find anything on it. I hope you can help.

    1. @Heather — It really depends on what your lease says. If electric is included in your rent then there shouldn’t be any settling-up b/c it’s already included. How does anyone know what the overage is supposed to be without a baseline? Plus, that conflicts with “included.”

  140. My husband and I own our trailer but have been evicted on the 14th of last month. I never signed the lease so the judge said I wasn’t responsible for any fees. My husband had vehicle issues and didn’t make it to the hearing. The property managers lawyer asked for judgement on the amount toward my husband and possession of premiumes. I asked the judge how long do I have to move due to we’ve been there for 12 years and have small children in the home. He told me to speak to their attorney. He verbily told me 30 days but my husband hasn’t received anything from the courts or the property manager so how do we really know when we have to be out?? I don’t even know if the sheriff can just show up one day and say you have to leave when I have babies and animals but we have to work during the day. We live in Virginia would you happen to be able to give advice or is this something he’d need to call for legal advice. Really freaking out because if you count from the date of court today is 30 days that the attorney told me. Hope you can help answer the question.

    1. If the attorney told you to be out in 30 days and this is the 30th day, why are you still there? You have been living there for free for at least 3 months already. Are you asking how long you can live rent-free in someone else’s house?

  141. If I am a tenant at will, tenant and my landlord wants me to move out. Can she take trespassing charges out on me without going to court first. In Portsmouth VA

  142. Thank you in advance for any help. I have court on 9/22/15 I just started a new job, and offered to pay something towards are back rent of $2000 for (2 months), our landlord was very uptight and not willing to work with us at all. We have financial assistance to some amount from our local church and a few of its members. The amount isnt the whole amount with late fees and court costs, but its a good chunk of change knocked off the balance. I start a new job on 9/10/15 and by the end of september we should be all caught up for October. The only defense we have in court is that we have 2 children in our home with special needs. One has Aspergers, adhd, add, and opd, and the other has adhd. If we have to move them abruptly it could send them into a relapse or cause other issues disrupting their routine. With everything we have coming financially, do we have any chance of winning the court date?

    1. @Jason You probably won’t have a trial on 9/22. It’s likely just your first return date. If you can make significant payments, the landlord may be willing to work with you, but you should get this resolved with the landlord ASAP b/c the landlord will not be required to work with you unless you call pay all that is due prior to the court date.

  143. Steven, I am a landlord in Fairfax County and the lease my tenants signed stipulates that it does not automatically become a month to month lease at the end of the term. They have continually been late with rent and I do not want to renew their lease. What are the steps to best insure their departure at the end of the lease term?

    1. @Amanda it depends if your lease requires notice. If it does, send them notice. If it doesn’t you still may want to send them notice so that they can begin making arrangements for a new place and not caught off guard. Good luck.

  144. Question for everyone. I am leasing from a company and upon moving in was told several things would be repaired and never have been. The plumbing in the upstairs bathroom was clogged up, the plumbing in the downstairs bathroom was clogged up the kitchen sink and washing machine drain all stopped up. I was told when I signed my lease to give a list of anything that was wrong which I did. I informed them of all the above issues which they never responded to. The washing machine over flowed and flooded the basement. I had to have the drain in the floor cleaned out to drain the water out. My son came over and fixed the washing machine drain line and got the water out of the basement. I never even got so much as a phone call about the water in the basement or the drain line. While my son was fixing the drain line he opened a door which I thought was a closet and discovered it was a bathroom and the entire floor was covered in rat feces. Not mice but rat feces. I called the office and was told that someone would call me back. Never have even called back. The roof on the back porch is rotten and the entire corner fell of in a wind storm They have never address the repair issues. I had to pay to have the upstairs bathroom fixed and the kitchen sink because we could not cook wash dishes or bathe. I sent copies of the repair receipts to them never addressed them. Now I have gotten an unlawful detainer for rent they say I did not pay in July. Was never notified they never received rent and have the cancelled checks for July and August. They charged my two late fees of $110.00 each and my bank auto pays them and sends the checks for them to receive prior to the due date. I have called them about getting copies of the records and they don’t call back. So I go on the state corporation commission website to file a Subpoena Decus Tecum and find out they are an inactive LLC and have been since June 30, 2012. They are still operating as the valid LLC and the property is deeded to another LLC not even the one I have the lease with. I cant get anyone served for getting documents and or records.

  145. I am a landlord with a tenant who has continually paid late, I have filed the 5 day notice and am now pursuing the unlawful detainer (in the state of Virginia). She has for the most part moved out but I understand I still need to go through the formal process of eviction as her lease still had six more months. In order to officially re-claim the property. On the unlawful detainer do I put the amount owed as just the past due rent or the remaining balance of the lease. Also how do you assess damages on the unlawful detainer if I have not had an opportunity to view the property yet as there was an unauthorized dog on the premesis as well.

      1. I was given a 5 day pay or quit notice and paid the rent and late. fees before the fifth day but shorty after I paid I received a reservation of right to terminate lease agreement. Can my can my landlord do this before the fifth day

  146. Is there a way for back rent owed to be awarded to a landlord as a Warrant in Debt instead of an Unlawful Detainer? I have agreed to move out, and as long as I leave before the 1st of the month, the judge will vacate the Possession part of the Unlawful Detainer. I asked the judge if he could change the filing for the back rent due as a Warrant in Debt, and he agreed to do that within 10 days, but he wasn’t sure if or how to go about doing it. He said that I could do my own research or have a lawyer do the research for me to see if this can be done. Do you know if this is possible? I would rather have a Warrant in Debt on my record instead of an Unlawful Detainer order.

    1. @Evelyn That’s an interesting question. I’m not sure. If the landlord agrees, then it shouldn’t be a problem, but if the landlord doesn’t agree, I’m not really sure you could do it — you’d have to file a motion and request the type of case be changed.

  147. How do you evict someone without a lease. I want to sell the property. The person owes 5 mos back rent and pays hit and miss. Can I just evict giving like 90 days

  148. Steve I was sent to court for non payment of rent… I just paid the balance off as of yesterday but still was served with a eviction notice to vacate next week! I was told by the property manager that I would be fine the day I payed off the balance.I still owe for the month of August but no judgement has been made as of yet…. can I still be evicted next week?

      1. Hi, the word “court” is used a lot here but can I clarify? In the case of reply to @Amanda, when you say Court, Steven, do you mean HEARING or TRIAL? My question is I know we can pay before hearing and they will dismiss but what if we cannot and we go to trial? If we pay before the trial can we still be evicted? Someone told me they can still decide to evict even IF we pay! THX!

  149. Please??!! My sanity is at stake…I posted an advert…young lady appears. App filled out, references checked, last week of July for free!! During interview and subsequent reference checking I specifically asked prospective tenant and references if there was anything other than the physical disability that I should be aware; all a resounding NO. Tenant moves in, week goes by, strange things happening, I become concerned. Screaming, talking loudly, self-harm, narcotics found strewn about, burning candles with reckless abandon, abuse of utilities, abjectly unsanitary room conditions, destruction of property, and invasion of privacy. EMS and cops were called to remove her from room and overheard the attempt of exorcising demons. Placed on a TDO for 72hrs but talked her way out in 5. Screamed that notice was gong to be given, I provided a Notice to Vacate, and New Rules and Regulations; all explaining breaches of contract. Summons to appear for eviction has been delivered. Judge would not extend protective order as I still fear for my limb and property. Paragraph prior to signage on Rental Application states that providing false information shall deem Lease Agreement null and void; which by gross misrepresentation of lucidity and claiming narcotics and additional disease are not true. Currently, damages and lost wages exceed $1000. This young lady needs to be removed immediately and yes, I agree she has certain rights but so do I. Legally, its a civil matter and Sheriffs Office wont remove her but there is no Lease; its been deemed defunct and now I have to house this craziness???

    1. I offered this individual $300 to leave by Monday; to no avail. I intimated that it was either that or be held accountable for the over $1200 in damages thus far…so much for rationality!!

      1. @Robert Landlords always have to go through the formal eviction process to evict tenants. Yes, it varies from eviction to eviction based on the lease and the grounds for the eviction, and your situation may be more complicated than typical. Call my office or email me and we’ll set-up a consult for a modest fee.

  150. Steve, I’m asking advice for my Mom. She’s had a relative living with her. They’ve had a disagreement and he has moved out July 15th, leaving alot of his stuff. What does she need to do, legally, to get rid of his possessions and how soon can she do it?

  151. I have a person who was trying to help needed a day to stay at my house cause his roommate was giving him a hard time. He acting like he was going to buy my house kept the key and has been in there ever since. now 10 days I got played bad his pit bulls are tearing up the place. He quit his job and living rent free. He didn’t sign the lease or contract to purchase the home. Can I call the cops to get him out since there is no lease no paper work I received no money, he changed the locks and force me out with those pit bulls. What legal rights do I have as the owner? I have to serve 5 days notice and wait about 30 days? I am ready to hire you. How can I get my home back? HELP I haven’t slept cant hold food down

    1. @Kris Yes, you have to give him notice and then you can begin the eviction process. Depending on the details, there may be a way for you to expedite the eviction. I don’t think the sheriff will get involved unless you can convince the sheriff that this is a trespass and since you originally gave permission (and a key) I’m not sure if that would work.

  152. I have been renting this home for almost 1 yr at the end of this month, always paid rent, and landlord has security deposit. We began to disagree approx 1 mo ago after we built a deck in the back yard which he has refused to finish leaving me and anyone to step up almost 2 ft to walk in home, when code is max 8″, he every day drinks 10% alchol cans of Mikes hard lemonade, he has made numerous accusations about people in my home town down grading me and which my reputation means my financial future as I am a remodeler. He personally got irate a 60 yr old man in shape and slammed me to ground and began to fight me on one altercation and I in my 30’s had to fight back or be assulted. The latest thing he has done was cut my water off because of him not writing down time spent building deck, which is 300., and said over the weekend it will be hard to live without water, and I came home today after 6 to find out that he has shut the water off, mean while I have a condition that requires me to use the bathroom several times a day and have two pets and a roommate, can he get away with this I’m currently up to date, he hasn’t served me with a 5 day pay or quit notice being that the rents due on the 7 th of the month, and I told him it will be – $300., considering all the work/money we agreed upon on building deck. I have always paid cash and never has he given me a reciept, I didn’t feel as though I couldn’t trust him until he began to let out his real side after drinking when we would finish up for the day, and told me ways he gets over on IRS by taking cash and not claiming and never having section 8 properties as uncle sam would know every dollar he accepts! Is this illegal blackmailing and slander to my name?, He said 1 mo after I moved in that he would keep all bills in his name, and I since moving in never put water just went off his word and paid him in addition to rent, is this legal or a form of blackmailing to evict me without any 5 day pay or quit or ct date and what is my act of recourse as I don’t have much money for lawyer as I’m in second stages of disability due to medications to control stomach issues etc..

    1. @Russell: The landlord cannot simply turn off the water. That is grounds for wrongful termination of lease and you can file a tenant’s assertion in court. You may be able to simply leave, break the lease, and sue the landlord for damages.

    2. Woah! Couldn’t read all your trash, but you say you built a deck on your rented property and now you think the landlord should put in the steps for you???? Did you have his permission? Did you get a building permit? Did you get inspections? Is this some kind of joke?

  153. what if renter is a room mate with no lease and found guilty of simple assault of another renter in the home? once the verdict is read can she be made to leave right then?

  154. How long after rent due date do you have to wait to post a 5 day eviction if tenant doesn’t pay rent? How long for a 30 day eviction notice if rent isn’t paid?

  155. My daughter has a complaining neighbor and has complained to the landlord about noise coming from her apartment. The walls are paper thin and you can hear phone conversations from both sides of her apartment. The landlord has sent us an email stating that the next time it happens he is going to evict her. He has also offered to “Cancel” the lease and allow her out. Still waiting if there are any strings attached. I feel it is a way to avoid having to go through a formal eviction process. Does he have to formally file through the courts of Virginia a quit notice in order to evict her and does she have to receive a formal notice from the courts. The complaining neighbor wants her out and we want to move out without penalty. Just don’t want to lose anything. This is harassment in most cases. If there is a noise issue usually you would contact the police to file a complaint to properly document the noise violation. None has been done. thanks for your input.

    1. @TW If you get a signed document from the landlord releasing you from the lease, you should be fine to move since the landlord seems willing to let you leave. Obviously, it’d be advisable to have an attorney review the release.

  156. I was late paying my July rent. The balance owed was $1320.00 thats including my late fee for June $110.00, $110.00 July and my July rent $1100.00 I made a payment of $950.00 on July 09, 2015 leaving a balance of $370.00 then I made a payment for the remaining balance for July and the late fee for June in the amount of $260.00 leaving a Balance of $110.00 which is July late fee and Im paying that August 5, 2015. Since I paid the remaining balance of my rent I received a unlawful detainer for $850.00 saying I owe that for rent on July 27th in the mail. The unlawful detainer stated it was filed on July 21st and mailed out on the 22nd. I called the rent office asking could they explain the $850.00 balance because it was wrong. They could not explain where they got the figure but keep pressing the issue about paying an additional 60.00 for court fees. I dont feel as if I have to pay the court fees because I didnt owe any rent and since the I received the detainer my July rent has been paid in full. I was told by the rental agent that if I pay it they will dismiss it and I dont have to go to court, but does that mean Im admitting to being behind $850.00 for my July rent? Should I go to court and show all of my receipts? I asked for a statement saying the amount owe they since then sent a ledger showing I made the last two payments on the 27th of July in which thats incorrect. What should I do? I don’t feel as if I should pay the court cost because I wasnt behind $850.00 on my rent.

    1. @Donna You should go to court with money and talk with the attorney about how much you owe. If you agree, then pay the attorney for the landlord and the case should be dismissed. If you don’t agree, then you’ll be able to tell the judge at trial.

  157. I have a friend and her son who has lived with me for a year (Virginia Beach) no lease agreement she pays her rent in 2 installments. Her sister had no where to go when her lease was up so she moved in July 1st. Her sister paid me to stay in my home also in 2 installments for this month. There now has been issues and tension in the house since her sister has moved in. I have asked them both to move out. The friend who has been living with me threw the book at me stating I have to give them (her and her sister) 30 days notice and that they have all rights to continue using common areas in my home (kitchen and appliances along with the washer and dryer) which now longer showers are being taken, more laundry is being done, so they are going to increase the bills that I will have to pay next month when the bills come in. I have read where I only have to provide them notice based on how they pay their rent, in other words if they pay twice a month, then I only have to provide them with 2 weeks notice, if they pay at the beginning of the month for the month I have to give 30days notice. I do not want to incur a lot of legal expenses to get them out but need to provide them with an eviction notice but I need to specify the amount of time they have within the law to evacuate my home, would that be 2 weeks since they pay every two weeks or do I have to give them 30 days and do I still have to allow them to use my washer and dryer and other appliances that they are now using extensively which will increase my utilities that will be do once they move out.

  158. My mother and 2 sons currently reside in a house together. They all signed the lease ( they are over 18). One of my sons and mother don’t really get along. She wants him to get out.He pays the water bill and other utilities. What can she do legally to get him out? What are his legal rights to staying there

  159. I am currently living with my friend and his girlfriend we did a verbal agreement that I would pay 120.00 a week to live there everything was fine until I noticed that my weekly rent was bumped from 120 to 260 a week I work a minimum wage job so I dont make the amount that was randomly changed without any notice or in the original agreement to me living there. I am two weeks behind and my room mate/ landlord went into my room while I was away and removed all my stuff other then clothing and refuses to return until I pay the two weeks I owe them. I received no eviction notices other then being told that I am behind and to pay up or you don’t get your things back. Is this legal to change the agreement price that was in the verbal agreement then removal of property till I pay them back, I am not on the lease. And was planned to move out when this all started

    1. @Greg No, your landlord/roommate cannot do this. You had a verbal lease and with a verbal lease you also have rights. You should see if you qualify for help from Northern VA Legal Services given your income level.

      1. I am getting my father from nc to help me move out however I have called Newport news police department for help. They instantly too my landlord/roommates side and refused to send an officer out to assist me I waited for two hours and made two calls to non emergency police no one ever came out. I have made an agreement to pay to get belonging back. I have documenting everything taken away up into the thousands of dollars worth of electronics, priceless jewelry that have no worth but extremely valuable to family. I plan to get clear before pressing charges. My father and step mother will be witness to handing money for property. But my main question is should I give in and press when I am free of them or should I push to charges before I pay them off?

      2. Update: I have highly important legal documents for a court case coming up next week on my PC and hard drive I attempted to get it back however I found out that even if I pay them now they won’t return anything till the husband gets back. Then he has to go off property to get the items. Late this evening. Could I get them for state or federal offenses with the refusal of returning of both state and federal documents as well as legal court documents for an incoming active court case? Ontop of blackmailing, extortion the unlawful removal of property and unlawful eviction? I worry bout The rest of my belonging but that PC alone with documents will prove my innocence in a court for completely different thing. I have contacted my lawyer for the upcoming case about all that is happening but he’s out of the country till day before I hearing. and I can’t wait for court that can take months to happen for something needed now.

      1. And if it is not the first? I just paid off an unlawful detainer of 2700 due to me being in the hospital and then getting my short term disability in but I lost my job due to being in the hospital for over a month. August rent is coming due and they are saying if I do not pay in full by the 5th they are going to file another. I will have enough but not till the 11th. Trying to figure out if I pay it fully if they can still take me to court and get me evicted. I will have paid the late fees too.

  160. I contacted my landlord about the central air-conditioning that wasn’t working. It was 2 days after he began work on the a.c.that I had a plumbing problem and water flooded from an upstairs bathroom leaking through the ceiling. I noticed it at 6am and turned the water off. When he arrived to continue working on the a.c. I showed him the plumbing problem from the night prior. I also pointed out to him that I frequently noticed a small puddle of water in front of my entrance and suspected, due to the plumbing problem, it may be leaking from the toilet adjacent to it. I also realized it might have something to do with the fowl odor I noticed from my dishwasher and after lifting a large strainer, saw quite a bit of water that wasn’t draining properly. He became enraged and told me it was my fault. He then left the property and returned with 2 new toilets. After working for 5hrs on the upstairs toilet, he told me there was nothing wrong with the downstairs toilet and left, He returned for another two days, one of which he took pictures and finally fixed the a.c.. I the received a 5 day noticed demanding I pay him $200 a month for keeping a cat on the premises, per the lease agreement, and then insisted the cat had been on the property since I moved in 71/2 months ago. He also requested $300 for an electric bill in his name during a month I resided at the property. I wrote him back to inform him the cat belonged to my mother and payed him a total of $500, $200 for the ten days the cat was here and the $300 he indicated I owed him in electric. He then sent me a letter saying he accepted the $500 with reservations. I have now received a summons for Unlawful Detainer along with an additional amount of money he’s requesting in the amount of $2,300 for damages related to the plumbing problem, He listed ceiling damage, drywall, and kitchen cabinets. There hasn’t been any damage to the kitchen cabinets, the downstairs toilet continues to leak, the dishwasher retains water and I can’t use it, as well as the ceiling-fan and light that don’t work in the living-room. On top of all of this, I paid him in cash for 1years rent as well as a one month security deposit. I feel that he’s angry about the repairs that need to be done and is trying to force me to pay for problems to his property. I have contacted Roto-Rooter and will be contacting another plumber this week. Is there anyway he can get away this? I paid him a total of $19,500 to live here and he’s now attempting to evict me under false grounds,i.e. the cat residing here for 8 months and his come up with an absurd dollar amount for repairs I believe he’s responsible for. Any advise on what I can do to prepare for this court date. Is it possible for me to counter sue? I also went without heat for several weeks throughout the winter and have copies of correspondence in reference to the heat each time it failed after he sent his handyman out! Please, what resources do I have?

    1. @Jen This is way too much for me to respond to in a comments section of a blog post. You have a bunch of issues and a lot of money at stake here. Please call my office for a consultation.

  161. I had a couple move into my house four months ago on security deposit. They started making excuses when it was time to pay their rent. However, they managed to pay the first month’s rent still owing late payments. To cut a long story short, we went to court and they did not contest so the judge gave them 10 days to vacate the premises which will end July 27. Since then, they intentionally broken all the rules of the lease. They have invited a group of friends and gotten a dog to live with them which is a violation of the lease. I am trying to keep my calm about this since I know that they have few days to leave the house. I want to know my options if they don’t move out after the ten days since I have other tenants and they are being destructive to the other tenants.

    1. @Didi You will be able to file a new lawsuit against the tenants for any damages sustained b/c they were unwilling to leave (and for any damage they caused).

  162. I am so confused right now. I got a five day notice, then an unlawful detainer. I paid up completely through the end of July, we went to court and even though the landlord said if i caught up everything would be fine, they gave me 10 days to get out. i’m already paid up until the end of the month. shouldn’t i have at least 10 after that?

    1. @Misty It sounds like the landlord may not have been truthful with you and a judgment was entered against you at court. If so, you only have ten days to appeal. Feel free to contact my office to schedule a consult if you need additional advice.

    1. @Connie Probably. Some leases have immediate termination rights for various reasons. Feel free to contact my office to schedule a consult if you need additional advice.

  163. Subleasing through the tenants who don’t have a lease with the home owner. They let us move in with a dog but the home owners said no. Lots of drama later. We get a verbal “eviction” one day later home owners come because I won’t hand over rent. Water had been cut off and other sanitary issues so I was with holding rent until I spoke to a lawyer. Homeowners said this was okay as long as I paid. I told. Them I wanted to know my rights and handed them 300 just out of pure good will. I’m 24 please don’t judge me. So anyways after I gave them the 300 the electric was shut off for 4 days it’s the middle of summer so I had to get a hotel room. When the homeowners called asking for the money I told them I was withholding it again until I spoke with a lawyer then they threatened to change the locks and assaulted my boyfriend when he came in the house. Now I’ve received a 30 eviction from the homeowner saying if I don’t pay the rent and leave I’ll be sued. I’m leaving I don’t want to fight the eviction but I do want her to deduct money from my hotel and for the utilities…any advice??

    1. @Blue Yes, you could file a warrant in debt against the landlord or a counterclaim to their eviction (if they file one) to recover your expenses while the electricity and water was turned off. Feel free to contact my office to schedule a consult if you need additional advice.

  164. HI Steve I’ve been behind on my rent a few months due to my hours haven cut short at work. As of July 7th I owe 1400 some of may all of June and july. My landlord told me if was to get my balance down to 300 by the end of this month they wouldnt evict me which was fine And today I just got a 72 hour notice to vacate how can they me one thing and do another

    1. @Jerrel Sorry for the delay. If you got the agreement in writing, you may have a solid defense if this goes to trial. Feel free to contact my office to schedule a consult if you need additional advice.

  165. Steve,

    Can I refuse my Landlord right of entry into the home I am renting. He is mad because we could not pay the rent this month and we just completed the 5 day pay or quit. When I could not pay rent he said get out immediately. I told him we must go through the courts and the eviction process. He contends that is not required. He is now saying he is coming tomorrow to inspect his property but he is just using it as an excuse to harass us. I am also planning on filing bankruptcy early next week. I know this will not ultimately stop the eviction but will stay it for a time. Again he says he will continue to contact me for payment and does not have to stop. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  166. Hello,

    I need some advice on my personal situation, & possibly need to hire an attorney for representation but I’m not sure. I’m a single mother of 3, still living in the home that my husband (whom I’m separated, but not yet divorced from) & I built together just over 10 yrs ago. I couldn’t afford to continue making the mortgage pymts on time every month, & wasn’t successful in getting the loan modified, so my loan went into default/foreclosure & was recently foreclosed.

    On the day of the foreclosure after my home was apparently “auctioned off,” a man left a handwritten note at my door stating that the company he worked for was the highest bidder & had purchased my home from the bank. His # was included on the note, so I contacted him back. He stopped back by & I explained my situation; he said it usually takes a week or 2 to close on the property anyway, but to be prepared to move out soon. I’ve since been looking for alternative housing, but have run into some roadblocks due to negative credit & job status right now…

    It’s been approx a month since the FC. I hadn’t heard another word from that man or the company he works for, & assumed when they did take action I’d probably have about a 30 day or so notice before actually having to be out.

    Last week, I received a letter via standard mail from my mortgage co confirming that my loan had been paid off in full, so I took that to mean that in all likelihood, the new buyer had been successful in completing the real estate closing & now “officially” owned my home. Then today, also via standard mail, I received a letter from a local investment firm- I assume the same one that the male visitor last month stated he represented. I almost passed it off as junk mail & trashed it unopened, as it was addressed to “Any & All Occupants” from an unfamiliar investment co! But for whatever reason I did open it, & it’s a “Notice to Vacate Premises” within 5 days; including a warning that if I do not vacate, the new owner will proceed in having me evicted.

    So here are the questions that I currently have:

    * This letter was mailed to me via standard postal mail. It’s dated July 7th, 2015, but as I stated it wasn’t delivered to me/I didn’t receive it until today. Shouldn’t they have also sent me this notice via certified mail or w/some form of tracking? In other words, in order to proceed w/the next step in actually evicting me, from what I understand they’ll need to prove that they provided me w/this notice & allowed me the 5 days to comply. So who’s to say whether I even received this notice or not? Like what if I claimed not to have received anything from them, wouldn’t they want/need proof of giving me this notice?

    * To date, other than this notice to vacate that I received today, I have yet to received any type of notification or written documentation stating that my home was purchased by another individual/entity. Is that customary or should I have received some type of notification?

    * My husband, although we are currently separated & he is residing elsewhere, still had equal ownership of the home w/me prior to the FC, & is listed on both the deed as well as the note. He DOES have his legal/physical address changed/updated through the postal service, yet our mortgage company never notified him at his current legal address of any of the proceedings throughout the FC process. Could that potentially allow us any time to delay the current proceedings?

    * Are there ever any concessions made in the eviction process for certain classes of citizens for legitimate reasons? In other words, do any special rules/laws exist that would grant additional time for persons such as the disabled, the elderly, etc? Just asking because one of my children is disabled, so I thought there might be certain concessions for individuals who have less physical ability to vacate in as much of an expedited manner than most.

    * The man who represented the investment co. commented at one point that his company’s motivation to have me vacate the premises as soon as possible would be that they would incur tax/interest charges on a daily basis until they “flipped” the property. Considering that statement, would it be inappropriate for me to approach the investment co that purchased my home & request to pay an agreed upon figure to “rent back” the property for a limited period of time, suggesting a few wks to a month at most, that would cover whatever daily charges they’re incurring & would grant me those add’l few wks to vacate the premises properly (& alleviate their need to incur the added time/cost to pursue the eviction process)?

    * If there’s nothing else I can do at this point, either through legal “loopholes” or negotiating w/the new owner/investment company, then approx how long am I looking at before I need to be “OUT?” Do all my belongings also need to be out by this point in time, & if they’re not, do they claim the rights to my things as well?

    * Lastly, is anyone out there aware of any

  167. My tenant has 5 grand kids living with her who run up and down the lane shouting profanities, banging on other tenant’s cars and blocking the lane when other tenants are leaving and returning from work. Every tenant in my court has complained about this one tenant and the grand kids. Do I have any grounds to evict her?

  168. I have a friend who received a writen 30 day eviction notice from his landlord and now a 5 day notice to pay or either vacate the property. The reason why he is not paying his rent is due to the fact that he has not had any heat or AC since he rebuilt the home himself for the landlord. They just sent HVAC out here today after the 5 day notice was served. Can they evict him for holding rent do to not having AC all this time and what is the next process if he doesn’t pay within the 5 day notice?? Doesn’t the landlord have to take him to court after the 5 day to remove him from the property? Does that also give him additional time to vacate or pay as well??

    1. @Juanita Yes, the landlord will have to go through the formal eviction process and will give your friend additional time to leave the property.

  169. I have lived in a duplex for 7 years. The owner of these duplexes lived right next door to us, and has since passed away. He left the properties to his cousin, and she hired a leasing company to rent out the side he use to reside in. in a little over a year, the tenants have killed and cut bushes down, ruined my flowers, played music so loud that it rattles the pictures on my walls, drinks outside right next to my mailbox, and in the driveway, and then decided to clean the wet grass from under his lawn mower and dump it in my driveway. my husband confronted him on this and asked him nicely to clean his lawn mower is fine but that he would need to clean up the grass and not throw it in the drive of our residence. the tenant then asked what we was going to do about it, and suggested my husband carry his ass in the house or he would be picking it up off the ground. Every time i have had issues i have contacted the leasing company and the only response i receive is “we have sent a letter, we have sent a letter, we have sent a letter, we have sent a letter. When do leasing companies OK thier tenants threatening people, not just my husband but other actual “HOMEOWNERS” in the neighborhood???
    The last response i received from them was “RENTERS HAVE RIGHTS TOO” My reply “I am a renter as well just not your renter, does that make my rights any less invaluable?” I have yet to receive a response on that.
    I have put up cameras and just know its a matter of time before my vehicles are vandalized or my dogs are poisoned. I am desperate can someone please advise me o what we need to do.
    I have contacted the owner, and she stated due to her contract with the Renatl company she has to allow them to handle it.

  170. Hello Steven,
    I have a tenant who only paid the deposit partially to put her luggage in first, but also moved herself too and not paying a rent fee. Asked for her ID to fill out the contract, but refused to show, Tried to kick her out verbally, but she would not move out, and she called a cop on us. We had to go through the eviction. Do you think we can get at least a attorney fee, if we hire you to evict her?

    1. @Jason Maybe. It depends on if a lease was signed and what the lease says. If not, my fees are quite reasonable and I’m happy to work with you to develop an affordable fee structure.

  171. Hi Steven. My husband and I are worried about eviction. We are in our last month of our lease with an apartment, we move out in 3 weeks. We have always paid on time and have been a great tenant for the year. Our payment history for years has always been perfect. Last week we ran into financial trouble and we aren’t able to pay rent for this month. What would our eviction process be? If they serve us with the 5 day notice and can’t pay, we have to leave then? Or do they file with the court and then we have a hearing, with us able to remain in the apartment until a decision is made? We only have 3 weeks until our lease is up and we’re happy to make payments. We just can’t believe we’re in this situation. Also, there is nothing about eviction or failure to pay in our lease, just a 10% charge if you pay after the first of the month.

    1. @Jennifer The landlord has to go through the formal eviction process and it will take more time than you have left on your lease. If you don’t make payments, the landlord still sue you for the unpaid rent even after you move out. Good luck!

      1. Your story is not believable. You have made every rent payment on time for years and years, and suddenly you have no money? It sounds like you are trying to skip paying your final month.

        The honest and decent thing is to pay up instead of trying to use the delay of the law to cheat your landlord. Would you cheat Jesus?

  172. I have a family member who is living with me and pays me rent however, we do not have written agreement. What am I able to do in regards to having them leave my home legally since they are not willing to leave on their own after being asked verbally?

    1. @Davida You have to go through the normal eviction process based on a verbal lease and not a written lease. It’s a similar process and you will be able to eventually evict the family member. Feel free to contact my office for a consult.

      1. I moved in with friends on June 16th 2016. I did not have a lease I’m just occupying a room.I give them money each paycheck. I get mail here. They are renting from another person who really doesn’t care about this place that much.The room has mold in it and was just a side room they were using as a storage space. In April my friend claimed that the landlord found out I was staying here and wanted me out by June 16th which is the date I moved in in 2016. Who is the one that can evict me and what options do I and they have if I don’t move out on the 16th? Is a verbal eviction legal?

  173. The man renting a room (basement room and privet bath) from us for 3 years attempted to rape my 10 year old daughter. He was ” interrupted” when another household member came home. I don’t want to go into details but he is in jail and being held without bond and next court date is in August. We need to formally evict him NOW, while he is still in jail. But don’t know where to begin. Please advise.

    1. @Pam Your lease likely has a provision that will allow you to evict him — it’s just a matter of how soon and what steps you need to take. Without reviewing your lease, I can’t really provide any more direction, but consider calling my office for a consult and I’ll try to be helpful.

  174. Steven I need your advice I am a shop owner who allowed a vendor to set up and sell his antiques in a barn behind my leased shop he signed a vendor co-op agreement with a beginning and ending date ( ending Feb 15th) when I went to give him new agreement he didn’t like the terms and refused to sign it he said he wouldn’t leave –I gave him time to change his mind but April 9 I changed the lock on the gate to my parking lot where his designated barn space was –I did this to get him to either sign or give notice since he wasn’t paying and since my name was the only one on the lease for this commercial space. He then filled a suit against me for warrant in detinue for keeping him from his stuff ? It’s a commercial co op before agreement not tending landlord so what can I do ? The unlawful detainer courtcase is in the am but it’s 6000 square feet of furniture and junk. I opened the gate after just 8 days. I gave him 30 days notice the same day. He is still selling out of the space now everyday making money :-/ and he has been out of agreement since February. When I went to court for warrant in detinue judge said ” so you have this guys stuff and you won’t give it back?” I had already opened the gate 30 days before the courtcase. Now I want to know what to say at unlawful detainer courtcase ? I want to stop him from selling while this drags on

    1. @Michele You may not be able to stop him from selling, but you could certainly sue him for not paying rent — even if there is not a written agreement. Please consider calling my office for a consult.

  175. Steve, I am a landlord that suspects illegal activity is going on in the home I rent out. The police have been called there 5 times but they will not tell me what they were called there for. Even though I own the property. From the condition of the property, and reports from the neighbors, I have strong reason to want this looked into. However, the police will not do anything to help me. The Tennant is a month behind on rent and my efforts to collect have not been successful. What are my options? Can I only serve an eviction letter and have to wait 30 days for them to leave while illegal activity is continuing to happen on the property?

    1. @Dyan it depends on the terms of your lease. If you have a term that allows for immediate termination based on illegal activity then you could move quickly. If not, you have to go through the regular legal process. Please consider call my office for a consult.

  176. Tenants lease expired over a year ago and now stay on a month to month basis. They have now received notice to vacate premises with a specific date to vacate, as well as another date, after their absence, of when electricity will be turned off. Is that legal? Can I shut of the power? I must add that they have a convaless son. Does that change any of the “guidelines”?

  177. My landlord emailed me an eviction notice. I don’t have access to internet and wouldn’t have noticed if a friend hadn’t been checking my email for a work related email to help me out. I thought I was to get the notice on the door or in the mail?

  178. My tenant did not pay March rent and I filed for evection. On court date tenant lied and said she paid the rent but did not bring any proof. Judge gave us a month later date. On 2nd court date, she had layer with her who she had just hired that morning. Layer asked for another date to be prepared. On third court date she told judge that she rent by money order and it takes 30 to 60 days to get a copy of money order, so she did not bring. She does normally pay either by money order or cash. Judge then asked me to provide the proof for the months she did pay rent. Of course I was not ready for that as I was expecting her to bring the proof for the month she did not pay rent. I asked the judge that give another date and I will bring the payment proof. Judge denied and gave the judgment in favor of tenant. I filed the appeal and waiting for the court date again.

    Now she is behind on June rent. Now my question is that while March rent is disputed and pending in court of appeal, can I file 2nd case against her for non-payment for June rent? Can two cases be filed against same tenant for two different months?

    I don’t really want to wait for the court date for the one I appealed as it may take another two months and she has stopped paying in the mean time.

    1. Steve,
      Would you please give me some advise on my situation? Can 2nd lawsuit be filed while I am waiting for the hearing on the appeal for the first? Thanks,

  179. Can my landlord evict me based off a writ of possession from an old lease? We’ve already signed a new lease with a new expiration date and he’s trying to evict me based off the old lease

    1. Charisse — No. However, the sheriff may not know it’s an old writ (and may not take the time to understand it). If you get served with a writ possession from the sheriff, you can attempt to get an emergency hearing. If that fails and you need to leave, you may be able to sue the landlord for damages associated with a wrongful eviction.

      1. Steven, I have a tenant that has been paying rent late for several months and I gave them a two month notice to vacte the property by July 1 2015. On July 2 2015 can I change the locks?

  180. Thanks Steven, I already sent a notice of eviction to my tenant via certified mail that if she does not sign the Extension Lease Agreement at the end of the month that she will be evicted since there is no lease in effect. Am I following the correct procedure. If she does not sign the extension can I call the cops and force her to move out of the premises? Thanks for your advice..

      1. Justin – No. Your tenant has a month to month tenancy. You have to terminate the tenancy and go through the eviction process if the tenant does not leave. If you need assistance, feel free to contact me via the “Contact” tab at the top or via email:

    1. Reggie — No. You still have the follow the legal eviction procedures. If you need assistance, feel free to contact me the the “Contact” tab at the top of the page.

      1. I have a tenant in a property that has not pay on time for serveral months. I gave them a two month notice per the lease agreement. To move out the first of July 2015. Can I change the locks on the second of July 2015.

      2. I have gotten a letter on my door from landlord says we have five days to leave bc my step daughter who doesn’t live e s boyfriend was found with drugs on him can they do this please help 540-871-0448

    1. You probably received a 5 Day Pay or Quit notice, but as long as you pay the full amount due, you should not be evicted. Of course, a lot depends on the terms of your lease.

      1. I owe a little for last month. Today is the first, I was told pay all by the 5th and all is fine. This morning the 1st I get a message stating this new messages voids the last and he wants me out asap. I was under the assumption from him I had till the 5th. I have not received any notice what so ever of a legal kind. If I pay my rent by the 5th with the balance from may, can he still legally start the eviction process?? I’m in Virginia and it is my understanding that I should first receive a 5 day pay or quit notice, at which time I can still pay my rent without being evicted. I have not been late before the month of may and have all the money for June now minus 150 for may which I will have this evening. Can anyone please help advise me on this. I am not trying to get over on anyone, things got tight I thought we had an understanding of the 5th and today he pulls that back and says get out of my house. Please help

    1. I am a Landlord and our lease agreement has expired and the tenant does not want to sign the lease extension and has avoided to talk or respond to my text messaging and refuse to answer my calls. Can I evict my tenant?

      1. Yes. You need to review the terms of your lease to ensure you’re following the proper procedure, but ultimately, you will be able to evict — one way or another.

    2. You probably cannot evict them simply because they are not responding to your emails, but depending on the terms of your lease, you probably have the ability to provide notice and then enter the property (if that’s what your emails/texts are about) to check on something. If your lease requires communication, then that’s another story, but I don’t usually see those provisions in leases.

    3. I also have a tenant that will not return my call I served a notice to quit and also send a copy certified mail and now I am doing a notice to terminate tenancy since its the fifth day

      1. Perhaps I’m incorrect but the police would not serve the 5 day pay or quit– they said it was a civil matter . The lawyer I had sent a certified letter which the renter denied ever knowing about from the post office even though 3 attempts had been made to deliver.

    1. In most states the courts will except a certificate of mailing which is only a $1.75 instead of certified mail for $12.75. The certificate of mailing is issued by post office and is considered to be delivered by Post Office. I found this is best.

      1. In Virginia, a 5 day notice is required. I sent the 5-day notice by regular mail with a certificate of mailing, and it was accepted by the judge in court. Like the last post said, the certificate of mailing is a lot cheaper than certified mail. If you look in the VA statutes, it will give you the exact wording you can use.

    1. going for an unlawful detainer is a joke. Tenant is 3 months behind, you can’t get a court date for a month, can’t get the sheriff for another month. Tenants complain about repairs but with no rent, the landlord can’t keep up the property. I like the good old day, cut off the power or send over a biker. lol

      1. mary…being from ny…you don’t pay rent and give m ne a hard time…u will come to ur apt and find it empty..i don’t play and I don’t care of legalities… you signed an agreement ..i maintain everything immaculate because it’s MINE! and u don’t pay for whatever reason, ur mother died ,she gone, I’m not ..I have to pay property tax and bills and mortgage… that’s illegal breaking ur word…no courts ur ass is out!! BYEEEE ive sent over thugs not bikers lolol….

  181. I am totally confused as to why tenants have “rights” to property they are intentionally destroying, tenants who have violated every word of their agreement. Why should I have to suck up tens of thousands of damages from a deadbeat 39 yr old male tenant who previously was not meeting his obligations but was tolerated, who then decides to move in a 23 yr old gf with a 4 yr old son (with her HORSE no less). Then when I am forced to call child protective services about the neglect and abuse to said 4 yr old including pictures and multiple witnesses, I get assaulted by the 40 yr old man. Then deputies have no way to remove these deadbeats from my property which I also have to live on. The deputies are worried if I file felony assault charges he will lose it and kill or hurt me. The tenants then proceed to leave so the county cannot pursue the child’s welfare leaving me with ten thousand of intentional damage. Yet tenants have “rights”?? Why should I be forced to supply free rent to people who refuse to pay for a place to stay? Why should tenants “rights” include allowing them to intentionally destroy my property. They have no funds no matter what judgement the courts order. Why is it the intentional destruction of property is not a legal offense same as it would be if they were not allowed the gift of being able to rent a property? I have been totally endangered, had my property stolen etc. Where are my “rights”?? I am furious that it is demanded that I pay for someone else to live free while they threaten my life and intentionally destroy my property and land. Virginia taxpayers gets shafted by being law abiding contributing, caring members of our society.

    1. That’s why you must require your tenants to have renter’s insurance and gives you proof of insurance, and also make sure that your own insurance on the property covers it as a rental. You shouldn’t have financial losses if you do this properly. I agree that it is rough to have tenants you are in high conflict with on your property for 30 days or more, we are in the same situation.

      1. I agree with you, as I am dealing with a similar situation. I think the answer for all of us is to be very careful to screen these tenants very carefully BEFORE they have access to our property. Once they are in it is hard to get them out!!

      2. Instead of renting a house, I rent rooms in a house, so a person has a lease that says they have use of the common areas, but it also gives me the right as owner to come and go as I please, as if I am their house mate.

    2. Tenants should have rights and good ones I understand your point of view as a landlord and maybe you are a decent good one my situation however is different I was previously renting a place where I was never behind in rent did no damage at all to propert but landlord would not fix vital things busted water lines electric went out in half house toilet was not working could even shower or use bathroom he always promised a maintenance man was coming but never did I called in people hoping they could force him to fix it which they did he was giving 30 days to fix or house would be condemned so he found it easier to just go fill court papers to evict me which I was never served with and missed so judge ordered me out in 10 days never knew this occurred until sheriffs put me and my three kids out on street then the following day threw all of our belongings away everything from silverware family pictures furniture kids toys and all and now have to endure a nasty lawsuit because of his negligence and him being to cheap and lazy to fix important necessary things there is always to side to a story and both sides deserve protection

      1. First of all people need to realize that you can’t expect to force or demand how others maintain their own property. What’s the problem? For some reason I have rental property that you rent from me. If I can’t fix needed repairs, MOVE OUT simple. What make tenants think they can take control of other people property that they have worked for.

      2. JJ…you are MOST incorrect..the law is very specific..when you as a landlord enter a contract to rent a property you are REQUIRED by law to maintain that property. Amanda, I hope you take every dang dime this slumlord has in your lawsuit.

      3. I rented a room in a condo on a 3-month lease. One of my roommates was very nice at first. Then he started hitting on me. When I refused him, he started taking my food and misplacing my stuff. He even broke my part of the fridge. I notified the landlord. He texted to threaten my future with my current employer (I just started) because I “told on him”. He drank everyday and yelled and cursed. This one night he was drunk and said he was gonna kill me, so I ran off. I talked to the landlord who then let me move out verbally. She’s trying to evict him now because of his behaviors. He also hasn’t paid rent for 2 months (this was after the eviction notice), and is still living there. My old landlord is asking for my help to provide her with an affidavit. She said if she loses to him, she’ll have to sue me for breaking the lease. Does she have a case?

      4. There is always two sides to the story, but it would seem as if he had a legitimate reason to gain possession of the house. The courts/judge don’t just do this unless you just disregarded the notice attached to the home by the sheriff or the notices required to be mailed to you by the owner. Please tell me why in 24 hours you couldn’t get a moving truck to clear the house of your belongings? See the street is two ways. Stop complaining, drop the fraudulent lawsuit, and pay your rent, instead of finding ways to extend the stay.

      5. JJ, If you cannot maintain your rental property and do required repairs, then you shouldn’t be a landlord. Tenants have the right to expect a safe and properly maintained living environment if they are paying you rent.

    3. I actually disagree with this entirely, of course tenants should have rights as well. My paying a landlord a monthly amount to live in a property entitles me to certain protections by law, as well as legal responsibilities to that landlord per the agreement signed, just as the landlord has legal responsibilities to and is granted protections from the tenants. Not all tenants take advantage of their landlords, and not all landlords take advantage of their tenants. But, some do. This kind of court procedure for eviction is needed because most ppl are not able to manuever the courts without hiring a lawyer, and know little about their rights as a tenant. A landlord can file for eviction at anytime, legitimate or not. They can give notice, and take the tenant to court. The tenant can attempt to represent themselves and fight it; but, they are severely disadvantaged without a lawyer.. How many of your tenants actually challenged an eviction? Or damages you assess? Probably not many. Ensuring there is a basic process, a minimum guarantee, this protects a tenant against being thrown out on the street within just a few days. Why shouldn’t a landlord HAVE to provide notice (and proof of notice), when he believes a tenant has defaulted on their rental obligations? When a pipe bursts at the home I rent, I do not ignore notifying him, pay to get it fixed and then sue my landlord for the bill. It is my obligation to notify him immediately of the issue, it is his obligation to get it fixed in a timely manner.
      Why is it right for a tenant who has paid on time monthly for over a year to be threatened with eviction on their first late payment… These things happen too; you can’t legislate on a case by case basis. Laws dictate certain minimums and procedures, like the eviction process, the amount you can charge for late payments, how long of grace period before a late payment, addresses certain special and extenuating circumstances, for a reason. The courts are not only there to moderate, they protect people from what has already been deemed illegal; because of legal reasonings and interpretations, or the initial legislation that was drafted and enacted in the first place.
      I’ve been in a situation from a landlord before who not only had me paying his utilities for his office that I lived above, but also decided to charge me almost 150 dollars more a month than what he had charged his previous tenants, all bc of where I worked, no changes made at all to the apt. I was an out of towner, and if it wasn’t for the fact that I had some limited knowledge of the legal system, I would have paid an extra 1800 dollars to rent the same exact property as someone the year prior.. (The landlord had changed his monthly payment amount on his lease, but failed to change his total amount for the lease duration. I stopped paying him monthly rent once I had paid him that total. He took me to court and lost.)
      Point of this? It’s so important for BOTH parties to make sure the lease is legal and well-written lease. YOU WILL RECOVER FROM THE TENANT MONEY LOST DURING THE EVICTION PROCESS… that is what you are doing, taking them to court for a judgment and money owed as well as the right to evict. The laws hold landlords accountable to their property and to their tenants, the lease holds the tenants legally responsible to the landlord for multiple things, and obligates payment. I don’t understand the complaint of not being able to kick someone off of “your property”- possession is 9/10s of the law, right now, that’s your tenants property and you have limited access. Yes, it’s a pain to go through the courts, but are you, the landlord, losing? The lease gives you the legal avenue to recover any money lost during the process. You are able to sue for monetary damages to your property. You are also able to ask for enforcement of a judgement. Usually wage garnishment I think (none of this is legal advice, just my opinions). Either way, I think you just gave us a perfect example of why protocol is needed for an eviction, bc if it were up to you, you would have your tenants forcibly removed from their sole place of living for x amount of months or years, with no notice, giving only your side of the dispute, witbout letting a neutral bystander examine if they even defaulted on your rental agreement (is everything you agreed upon in the lease even legal?)… What, from now on, we should just take the landlord’s word, no defense, who said innocent until proven guilty? We have the court system for a reason… Use it.

    4. Just wanted to say to Grace Sorry about all problems with that tenant. You did the right thing by trying to save the child too.But don’t be to Hard on us all I am disabled and I am getting ready to loose the room I rent because they are wanting more money already pay $550.00 their rent is $700.00 and it’s 4 of them

    5. Tenants are favored in law for a couple reasons, 1st being it’s not “Christian” to throw families out in the cold when some misfortune has impacted them. This naively suggests that folks would only fail to pay their bills if prevented from doing so. 2nd is that tenants represent a much larger voting block than landlords. Albeit they show up far less often. There is also a cultural bias against “rich” property owners.

  182. Can I file a suit against my landlord for illegally trying to dvict me and my pregnant fiancée.he knows she is pregnant and has no problem with trying to see her in the street its as if he has no disregard for his actions towards her and our unborn child.

    1. No. What is he doing that’s illegal? Trying to evict someone that’s not paying rent? That’s perfectly legal. Pay your rent and lose the entitlement attitude. You know that LEASE you signed….when you don’t pay your rent YOU are the one acting illegally.

    1. Why is the landlord responsible for giving you and your GF/BF a free place to live? Whether or not anyone is pregnant? Go live with someone else for free.

      1. This is the dumbest response a person could possibly write.. do you really think they should pay more because they have a girlfriend or boyfriend? Get a real job loser

    2. My daughter lost her apartment due to her dead beat boyfriend spending rent money on drugs. I didn’t want her and my two grandbabies out in the cold so I brought her to my house until we could figure something out. I explained this to the husband of landlord couple who own the property and he didn’t have any objections. Last night I got this text message from the wife, who is known for being a bit nasty. We are good tenants, always pay on time, keep the home pristine and cause no problems. I’m concerned because we found a place for my daughter to move to, but she can’t move in until Feb 3. Can I be evicted for taking my family in for a few weeks?

      I just received this.

      Based on the number of people observed in the apartment over the past week, we need to remind you of the number allowed in the lease. “Section 5(b) of your lease states
      “No persons, other than those named as tenant and as authorized occupants in section 1(g) of this Lease, may occupy the Dwelling Unit on a regular basis. For the purpose of this Lease, occupancy by an unauthorized person for more than seven (7) calendar days consecutively, or fourteen (14) calendar days in any calendar year, without prior written consent from Landlord, will constitute occupancy of the Dwelling Unit on a regular basis and will constitute a default under the Lease.”

      1. @Danielle Technically, yes. You could be evicted depending on the terms of the lease. Usually, the lease gives you a certain period of time to fix a non-compliant action, but if the action puts you in default immediately, the landlord could evict you (hopefully that wouldn’t happen) but it would take the landlord a fair bit of time to complete the eviction process. Good luck.

      2. They can stay for 14 consecutive days and then the 15th day need to stay elsewhere then can come back and they cant do anything about it. It says they cant stay for more than 14 consecutive days. So as long as she leaves for one night after 14 days the 14 days start over after she leaves for that one night

    3. I own a mobile home in S.W. Va. and rent a lot. Yesterday I received a letter in the mail from my landlord stating that he was closing the trailer park and that I have 30 days to either sell my trailer or have it moved from the property. In my opinion he should be required to give more notice considering Im moving my entire home, and on top of that, my wife is disabled. Is this legal? And if so, can I somehow get an extension on the notice?

    4. My wife and I last our house of 14 years. Prior to that timeframe, I allowed them to stay at our property and for two plus years while they built there home. Hardship and sickness left me to far behind on my mortgage. So my wife and I decided to move in with them with our seven year old and our toddler,3. In the 14 months we have lived there my paycheck has been going into his account. Including a 4500 severance, a 7500 tax return. As well as a steady paycheck and insurance all while providing the health care coverage for the family. My wife wants a separation. Can someone please helpfully reach out to give me some advice? Sincerely. Eric

      1. You don’t say whose house you are living in, but it sounds like it belongs to your wife’s parents? Now your wife wants a separation. Buddy in this country you are screwed. The wife owns you. You are just her slave. I suggest you put all your money in a Cayman Islands bank account and keep it there. You are going to need it all. Does your wife work? If not then you are really, totally screwed.

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About the Author

Steven Krieger and guests (lawyers and non-lawyers) will periodically post about topics relevant to his firm and practice areas. Your comments and feedback are always welcome. 

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