In order to legally evict a tenant in Virginia, a landlord must provide written notice to the tenant and file a summons for unlawful detainer. If the tenant does not agree to the eviction, the case goes to trial. Finally, the landlord files a Request for Writ of Possession.
Tenants can only be legally evicted in the state of Virginia due to failure to comply with the terms of the lease or failure to pay rent. If these circumstances occur, the landlord must give the tenant a five-day written notice to vacate the property or pay the rent that is past due.
If this first step is not successful, the landlord moves on to filing a summons for unlawful detainer. If the court believes that proof of non-payment has been given, the tenant receives a court summons. During this initial hearing, both parties have the chance to give their side of the story. If the tenant denies the charges, the case goes to trial.
If the tenant does not answer the summons, the landlord can request an immediate Writ of Possession instead of waiting for a full trial. The writ starts the actual eviction process, which is carried out by the local sheriff's department after giving the tenant 72 hours notice.