Evicting a Tenant in Virginia? Avoid These Costly Mistakes

There’s a legal process that covers tenant eviction in Williamsburg, VA, and it’s important that you follow all the steps required by law. Landlords tend to make a number of mistakes that they don’t expect, and it can end up costing a lot more time and money. Consider working with an eviction attorney or an experienced property manager when you decide to evict a tenant.

Timeline for Virginia Evictions

The process is going to take some time. When everything is done right, you can expect it to take between 40 days and 60 days. Unfortunately, there’s no way to immediately throw your non-paying tenants out of the house. You have to take your time and make sure you’re doing everything properly.

Review Your Lease

You need to have a legal lease in place with your tenants if you want to evict them. Even if you’re renting to a personal friend or a family member, make sure you have a lease that includes the potential reasons for eviction. It should mention your rights to take the tenants to court for eviction purposes when necessary.

Keep Tenant Documentation

Make sure your tenant records and documentation are detailed and up to date. You’ll have to have written proof that the tenant has not paid rent or is somehow violating the terms of your rental agreement. It’s helpful to track every rent payment that was made and which ones were missed. It doesn’t matter how you’re tracking this information; a simple spreadsheet is just as good as a property management software system. Just make sure you can document why you’re evicting.

Serving Notices

Most landlords serve a Pay or Quit Notice, which gives the tenants an opportunity to pay the overdue rent or move out of the property. It’s better now to use a Material Noncompliance Notice.

Send a Reservation Letter

Sending the Reservation Letter is an important step towards recovering the money that’s owed to you. According to the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act, you can accept late rent from a tenant as long as you notify that tenant that you are accepting the payment with reservation. When you send this letter, you can still take them to court, even if they made a partial rent payment.

Working with Professionals

It’s a huge mistake to try and evict a tenant yourself. Landlords have found themselves in legal trouble because they’ve gone to the property and demanded that the tenants leave, or they change the locks on the home. These are neither legal nor acceptable ways to remove a tenant. A property manager or an attorney can help you get a Writ of Possession, and then the sheriff can help you complete the eviction.

If you have any questions about how avoid the most common eviction mistakes, contact Dodson Property Management.