How do I evict a tenant?

The procedures for evicting a tenant are spelled out in the Virginia Code and must be followed precisely. They involve providing written notice of the reason for the eviction and allowing the tenant a certain amount of time to correct the problem or vacate the premises. How much time the tenant is given depends on what type of violation is alleged. For nonpayment of the rent, the landlord must give a five-day notice to pay or quit. For other lease violations, such as having a pet or failing to properly maintain the premises, the landlord must allow the tenant twenty-one days to remedy the situation or the lease can be terminated after thirty days. If the violation is not something that can be remedied, then a thirty-day notice may be appropriate. If the tenant fails to remedy the problem or vacate within the specified time period, then the landlord must file a Summons for Unlawful Detainer with the General District Court in the county in which the rental property is located. Because the eviction process is very specific and any error – however minor – can result in the dismissal of your case, you should hire a lawyer who is familiar with the procedure to assist you.