Virginia Landlord Disputes: Eviction Notices

Are you a landlord with a trouble tenant? If you are, there are some laws you need to be aware of if you want to begin the process of removing the tenant from your property. The process for removing a tenant from your property is known as eviction. There are several steps that you must take in order to do a lawful eviction, and several things you should not do during that process. Failure to properly follow the eviction process may result in legal issues such as forfeiture of the security deposit, delayed evictions, or even damages for the tenant.

So what is the first step of the process, and what are some basics you need to know?

How to Give Notice

The first major part of the eviction process is giving the appropriate type of notice to your tenant. There are several different types of tenants, and each type of tenant is entitled to a different type of notice. In order to have proper notice, you need to be able to prove to the court that the tenant received the notice that you sent. This is often accomplished by having your local sheriff serve the notice, or by posting the notice on the front door. Either way, make sure you can prove that your tenant received notice, or the notice clock may not start.

Types of Notice

As previously discussed, there are several types of notices that you may need to consider depending on your unique case. The three major types of notices are the thirty-day notice, the five-day notice, and the 21-30 day notice. These types of notices are given in different scenarios. For example, failure to pay rent on a year-to-year lease is often accompanied by a five-day notice. In contrast, eviction proceedings for a tenant failing to keep the property in working condition may require a thirty-day or 21-30 day notice depending on the nature of the damage and the terms of your lease agreement.

What Happens if You Use the Wrong Notice?

Using the wrong notice can have disastrous effects on your eviction efforts. A court cannot grant you an eviction if you did not give proper notice to your tenant. The reason for the notice requirement is to allow the tenant the opportunity to cure the breach of the lease within the amount of time provided. Tenants have a right to cure certain types of breaches of the lease agreement. If you do not give the appropriate notice, then the tenant may be entitled to return of the security deposit.

Why You Need a Lawyer.

A lawyer is important to have during the eviction process because you could become personally liable for not giving the appropriate type of notice. Failure to give the appropriate notice may also result in your tenant getting extra time in your property, resulting in loss of rental income. Therefore, if you are facing a trouble tenant, make sure you hire an attorney to walk you through the eviction process.