US Landlord

Virginia Landlord Tenant Law - Click here to return to US Landlord

The purpose of this site is to provide landlords and tenants with information about their responsibilities and legal rights. This site is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Because factual circumstances vary in each case, detailed legal research or opinion may be necessary to resolve any problems.

State of Virginia Eviction Law



8.01-124 

Motion for judgment in circuit court for unlawful entry or detainer 

If any forcible or unlawful entry be made upon lands, or if, when the entry is lawful and peaceable, the tenant shall detain the possession of land after the right has expired, without the consent of him who is entitled to the possession, the party so turned out of possession, no matter what right of title he had thereto, or the party against whom such possession is unlawfully detained may file a motion for judgment in the circuit court alleging that the defendant is in possession and unlawfully withholds from the plaintiff the premises in question. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

8.01-125 

When summons returnable to circuit court; jury 

When the action is commenced in the circuit court, the summons is returnable thereto and, upon application of either party trial by jury shall be had. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

8.01-126 

Summons for unlawful detainer issued by magistrate, clerk or judge of a general district court 

In any case when possession of any house, land or tenement is unlawfully detained by the person in possession thereof, the landlord, his agent, attorney, or other person, entitled to the possession may present to a magistrate, clerk or judge of a general district court a statement under oath of the facts which authorize the removal of the tenant or other person in possession, describing such premises; and thereupon such magistrate, clerk or judge of a general district court shall issue his summons against the person or persons named in such affidavit. The process issued upon any such summons issued by a magistrate, clerk or judge may be served as provided in 8.01-293 and 8.01-296 or 8.01-299. When issued by a magistrate it may be returned to and the case heard and determined by the judge of a general district court. Such summons shall be served at least five days before the return day thereof. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

8.01-127 

Removal of action 

Notwithstanding the provisions of 16.1-92, in any case where the amount in controversy exceeds the sum of $500, in which an action has been commenced or a summons has been issued pursuant to 8.01-126, in or returnable to a general district court, removal of the action to the circuit court shall be conditional upon the tenant giving security for all rent which has accrued and may accrue upon the premises, but for not more than one year's rent in all, whether it accrues before or accrues after the removal, and also for all damages that have accrued or may accrue from an unlawful use and occupation of the premises. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

8.01-127.1 

Removal of residential unlawful detainer actions 

A. In any case involving a residential tenancy not involving a default in rent in which an action has been commenced or a summons has been issued pursuant to 8.01-126, in or returnable to a general district court, removal of the action to the circuit court shall be conditioned upon the defendant (i) filing an affidavit of substantial defense pursuant to the requirements of 16.1-92 and (ii) paying the costs accrued to the time of removal, the writ tax as fixed by law, and in the court to which it is removed, the costs as fixed by subdivision (17) of 14.1-112. 

B. The affidavit of substantial defense described in subsection A and any representation by the landlord that there has been a default in rent shall be subject to the requirements of 8.01-271.1. 

C. If the defendant fails to pay rent at such time and in such manner as required by the terms of the rental agreement and applicable law, the landlord may file with the circuit court, and serve upon the defendant, or his attorney, an affidavit made by himself, his agent, or his attorney, stating that the rent is delinquent. If within three business days of service of such notice, the defendant or his attorney fails to file, and the court does not receive an affidavit stating that the rent has been paid timely, the circuit court shall enter an order of possession granting the landlord immediate possession of the premises. 

If an affidavit is filed on behalf of the defendant stating that payment has been made, the matter shall come before the circuit court forthwith to resolve the issue of payment. 

D. Unlawful detainer actions removed to the circuit court shall be accorded priority on the civil docket. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

8.01-128 

Verdict and judgment; damages 

If it appear that the plaintiff was forcibly or unlawfully turned out of possession, or that it was unlawfully detained from him, the verdict or judgment shall be for the plaintiff for the premises, or such part thereof as may be found to have been so held or detained. The verdict or judgment shall also be for such damages as the plaintiff may prove to have been sustained by him by reason of such forcible or unlawful entry, or unlawful detention, of such premises, and such rent as he may prove to have been owing to him, provided such damages and rent claimed shall not exceed the jurisdictional amount of the court in which the action is tried. No such verdict or judgment shall bar any separate concurrent or future action for any such damages or rent as may not be so claimed. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

8.01-129 

Appeal from judgment of general district court 

An appeal shall lie from the judgment of a general district court, in any proceeding under this article, to the circuit court in the same manner and with like effect and upon like security as appeals taken under the provisions of 16.1-106 et seq. except as specifically provided in this section. The appeal shall be taken within ten days and the security approved by the court from which the appeal is taken. Notwithstanding the provisions of 16.1-106 et seq. the bond shall be posted and the writ tax paid within ten days of the date of the judgment. Unless otherwise specifically provided in the court's order, no writ of execution shall issue on a judgment for possession until the expiration of this ten-day period. When the appeal is taken by the defendant, he shall be required to give security also for all rent which has accrued and may accrue upon the premises, but for not more than one year's rent, and also for all damages that have accrued or may accrue from the unlawful use and occupation of the premises for a period not exceeding three months. Trial by jury shall be had upon application of any party. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

8.01-130 

Judgment not to bar action of trespass or ejectment 

No judgment in an action brought under the provisions of this article shall bar any action of trespass or ejectment between the same parties, nor shall any such judgment or verdict be conclusive, in any such future action, of the facts therein found. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

55-248.20 

Tenant to surrender possession of dwelling unit 

At the termination of the term of occupancy, whether by expiration of the rental agreement or by reason of default by the tenant, the tenant shall promptly vacate the premises, removing all items of personal property and leaving the premises in good and clean order, reasonable wear and tear excepted. If the tenant fails to vacate, the landlord may bring an action for possession and damages, including reasonable attorney's fees. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

55-248.31 

Noncompliance with rental agreement; failure to pay rent 

Except as provided in this chapter, if there is a material noncompliance by the tenant with the rental agreement or a violation of 55-248.16 materially affecting health and safety, the landlord may serve a written notice on the tenant specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and stating that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than thirty days after receipt of the notice if the breach is not remedied in twenty-one days, and that the rental agreement shall terminate as provided in the notice. If the breach is remediable by repairs or the payment of damages or otherwise and the tenant adequately remedies the breach prior to the date specified in the notice, the rental agreement shall not terminate. If the tenant commits a breach which is not remediable, the landlord may serve a written notice on the tenant specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and stating that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than thirty days after receipt of the notice. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained elsewhere in this chapter, when a breach of the tenant's obligations under this chapter or the rental agreement involves or constitutes a criminal or a willful act, which is not remediable and which poses a threat to health or safety, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement immediately and proceed to obtain possession of the premises. The initial hearing on the landlord's action for immediate possession of the premises shall be held within fifteen calendar days from the date of service on the tenant; however, the court shall order an earlier hearing when emergency conditions are alleged to exist upon the premises which constitute an immediate threat to the health or safety of the other tenants. After the initial hearing, if the matter is scheduled for a subsequent hearing or for a contested trial, the court, to the extent practicable, shall order that the matter be given priority on the court's docket. Such subsequent hearing or contested trial shall be heard no later than thirty days from the date of service on the tenant. During the interim period between the date of the initial hearing and the date of any subsequent hearing or contested trial, the court may afford any further remedy or relief as is necessary to protect the interests of parties to the proceeding or the interests of any other tenant residing on the premises. 

If the tenant has been served with a prior written notice which required the tenant to remedy a breach, and the tenant remedied such breach, where the tenant intentionally commits a subsequent breach of a like nature as the prior breach, the landlord may serve a written notice on the tenant specifying the acts and omissions constituting the subsequent breach, make reference to the prior breach of a like nature, and state that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than thirty days after receipt of the notice. 

If rent is unpaid when due, and the tenant fails to pay rent within five days after written notice is served on him notifying the tenant of his nonpayment, and of the landlord's intention to terminate the rental agreement if the rent is not paid within the five-day period, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement and proceed to obtain possession of the premises as provided in 55-248.35 of this chapter. If a check for rent is delivered to the landlord drawn on an account with insufficient funds and the tenant fails to pay rent within five days after written notice is served on him notifying the tenant of his nonpayment and of the landlord's intention to terminate the rental agreement if the rent is not paid by cash, cashier's check or certified check within the five-day period, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement and proceed to obtain possession of the premises as provided in 55-248.35. Except as provided in this chapter, the landlord may recover damages and obtain injunctive relief for any noncompliance by the tenant with the rental agreement or 55-248.16. If the tenant's noncompliance is willful, the landlord may recover reasonable attorney's fees. Failure of the tenant either to pay the rent or to vacate the premises within five days after written notice of nonpayment given by the landlord shall be deemed willful noncompliance by the tenant, unless the failure to pay the rent or to vacate the premises is found by the court to be reasonable. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

55-248.31:1 

Sheriffs authorized to serve certain notices; fees therefor 

The sheriff of any county or city, upon request, may deliver any notice to a tenant on behalf of a landlord or lessor under the provisions of 55-225 or 55-248.31. For this service, the sheriff shall be allowed a fee not to exceed twelve dollars. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

55-248.35 

Remedy after termination 

If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord may have a claim for possession and for rent and a separate claim for actual damages for breach of the rental agreement,reasonable attorney's fees as provided in 55-248.31, and the cost of service of any notice under 55-225 or 55-248.31 or process by a sheriff or private process server which cost shall not exceed the amount authorized by 55-248.31:1, which claims may be enforced, without limitation, by the institution of an action for unlawful entry or detainer. Actual damages for breach of the rental agreement may include a claim for such rent as would have accrued until the expiration of the term thereof or until a tenancy pursuant to a new rental agreement commences, whichever first occurs; provided that nothing herein contained shall diminish the duty of the landlord to mitigate actual damages for breach of the rental agreement. In obtaining post-possession judgments for actual damages as defined herein, the landlord shall not be required to seek a judgment for accelerated rent through the end of the term of the tenancy. 

In any unlawful detainer action brought by the landlord, this section shall not be construed to prevent the landlord from being granted by the court a simultaneous judgment for money due and for possession of the premises without a credit for any security deposit. Upon the tenant vacating the premises either voluntarily or by a writ of possession, security deposits shall be credited to the tenants' account by the landlord in accordance with the requirements of 55-248.11. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

55-248.37 

Periodic tenancy; holdover remedies 

The landlord or the tenant may terminate a week-to-week tenancy by serving a written notice on the other at least seven days prior to the next rent due date. The landlord or the tenant may terminate a month-to-month tenancy by serving a written notice on the other at least thirty days prior to the next rent due date. If the tenant remains in possession without the landlord's consent after expiration of the term of the rental agreement or its termination, the landlord may bring an action for possession and if the tenant's holdover is willful the landlord may also recover the actual damages by him and reasonable attorney's fees. If the landlord consents to the tenant's continued occupancy, 55-248.7 applies.