As a landlord, you will undoubtedly experience a tenant eviction at some point in your career. Common reasons for tenant evictions in Roanoke, VA include:
- Nonpayment of rent.
- Excessive property damage.
- Other lease violations, such as subletting the unit or altering the unit without your approval.
If you’re looking to evict a tenant in the state of Virginia, there are certain laws and a specific process that you must follow in order to remain legal.
Here’s a basic overview of the Virginia eviction process.
Notice for Termination with Cause
To evict a tenant from your Roanoke rental property, you must follow procedure as outlined by landlord-tenant laws.
The #1 reason for tenant eviction is nonpayment of rent. In this case, Virginia landlord-tenant laws state that your tenant has five days to rectify their nonpayment of rent once notice has been served.
If they choose to pay the rent, then no further action is needed on your part. However, if after five days your tenant does not pay rent, then you may begin the process of terminating your rental agreement and legally evicting the tenant from your property.
Another common reason for tenant eviction is serious violation to the lease such as a tenant keeping an unauthorized pet in the unit or making alterations to the property without your permission.
If your tenant violates the lease, you must provide them with notice that they have 30 days to correct the lease violation. No further action is required if the tenant corrects the violation they made to the rental agreement.
If the tenant does not fix the violation, you may proceed with the eviction process.
Another common reason for tenant eviction in Roanoke is due to excessive property damage. If a tenant cannot remedy a lease violation, then you will send notice which outlines the violation, such as excessive property damage.
The rental agreement will terminate 30 days after you serve the tenant with written notice.
For a criminal or willful act that isn’t curable and jeopardizes health and safety, such as engaging in illegal drug activities, you aren’t required to provide the tenant with any notice. You may terminate the rental agreement and begin the eviction process immediately.
Notice for Termination without Cause
As already mentioned, in order to evict a tenant, you must have a legitimate reason. If you don’t have a legal justification, then you must wait for the existing lease term to end before expecting the tenant to move out.
For tenants on a month-to-month lease, you must give them a 30-days’ notice.
For tenants on fixed-term leases, you must wait until the current lease term ends.
Tenant Eviction Defenses in Virginia
Although you may have a legitimate reason to evict a tenant, the tenant may still choose to fight their removal. Some of the defenses the tenant may put up against the eviction include:
- You tried to evict them yourself. Regardless of the lease violation, you can’t carry out the eviction yourself. Doing things like blocking their access to the property or shutting off utilities is illegal.
- You didn’t follow the right eviction process. Making a procedural mistake might also derail the eviction process.
- The tenant remedied the violation. If, for example, the tenant paid all the due rent within five days of receiving written notice, then you must stop further eviction proceedings.
- The eviction was an act of discrimination. Both Virginia tenancy laws and the Fair Housing Laws criminalize all acts of discrimination. The Federal Fair Housing Law makes it illegal for landlords to discriminate against tenants based on the following 7 protected classes: race, color, disability, familial status, national origin, religion and sex.
- The eviction was a retaliatory act. As a landlord, you cannot evict a tenant for exercising their rights such as their right to join or form a tenants’ union.
To ensure the eviction isn’t derailed by any of those defenses, be sure to follow the due process.
Removal of the Tenant
If your tenant does not vacate the property following the legal termination of the rental agreement, then you will go to court. If still the tenant does not vacate the property, a sheriff will remove them.
Sometimes, tenants leave belongings in the property after being evicted. If this is the case, you must serve the tenant with notice to remove their belongings within 24 hours. If the tenant does not remove their possessions, they will be considered abandoned.
As a landlord, there are certain laws and a specific process to follow when attempting to evict a tenant for any given reason.
If you need help getting rid of a troublesome tenant, JMAX Property Management can help. We are a full-service property management company serving the residents of Roanoke, VA. Contact us today.