Evicting family members in Virginia

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Yes, in Virginia, you can evict unwanted family members from your home.  However, to accomplish this legally, it is important to follow the proper steps and pursue the eviction through the courts.  Virginia law does not look favorably upon self-help remedies (changing the locks).

Chances are there is no written lease agreement with the family member who you are looking to evict.  However, in most cases, Virginia still considers them to be a tenant.  The courts will most likely treat them as a month-to-month tenant even if they have no lease, and pay no rent.

If you have asked them to leave time and time again, and they refuse, it is a good idea to get the courts involved sooner rather than later.  It is about a two month process to get an order of possession from the court.

The first step is to provide them with a 30 day notice to vacate.  Hopefully, they leave voluntary before this 30 day period expires.  If they are still living in the home at the end of that 30 day period, an Unlawful Detainer action can be filed against them in the local General District Court.  The court will set a return date, typically about a month from the filing date.

At this court date, the Judge will decide whether or not to enter a judgment of possession to the owner of the property.  Once this judgment is entered, and the appropriate appeal period has lapsed, a writ of possession can be filed with the clerk’s office.

The writ of possession can be filed anytime within one year of the date of judgment.

Once the writ is filed, the clerk will transfer the matter to the local Sheriff’s office, and the Sheriff must execute the writ within 30 days.  The timeline varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but it will usually be executed within a few weeks.

To start the eviction, a sheriff will come and post a 72 hour eviction notice on the door of the property.

When 72 hours is up, if the family member has not vacated voluntarily, the Sheriff will arrive and conduct the eviction.

So if a guest, friend, relative, or family member is refusing to leave, don’t despair.  The proper procedure does take some time, but eventually you will be able to get them out.

If you have questions about an eviction, please contact the attorneys of Winslow & McCurry, PLLC at (804)423-1382 or email us at info@wmmlegal.com.