Unlawful Detainer Attorney Alexandria VA
Unlawful Detainer Eviction
If you are a landlord, then you know no tenant is perfect. However, there is a fine line between not perfect and a bad tenant. A not perfect tenant may pay their rent a day late or ask you for a lot of repairs. A bad tenant however, may not pay rent at all, destroy your property, or violate other terms of your lease. If you believe you have a bad tenant in Virginia please find a lawyer who can help you if you live near Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington and Prince William counties. Otherwise it is important to know your rights as a landlord in the event of a bad tenant.
An unlawful detainer is the method we use in Virginia to evict someone. Generally speaking, it is a form to be filled out and should be accompanied by an affidavit and other proof. You are allowed to ask for a monetary amount as well in an Unlawful detainer, however make sure your numbers are clearly provable with your supplemental documents.
As soon as you file an unlawful detainer, you must serve the occupant and set the hearing for 5-21 days out. In most jurisdictions, it’s best to have the sheriff serve the paperwork. At the hearing, the tenant will have a right to contest the eviction and set the case for a trial 7-14 days out, depending on the jurisdiction. If the tenant does not appear, the eviction will be granted, along with any damages as long as your evidence is good. You can then arrange with the sheriff’s office to go to the property and remove the tenant from your property.
The term “slum lord” is often used to describe a landlord who does the minimum to maintain a rental property. However, when a situation goes below minimum what do you do? In Virginia, there is not much you can do. Leases are strong and the law favors landlords. Your best weapon to break a lease or force a landlord to maintain his property is a Tenant’s assertion. A Tenant’s assertion is a judicial process which can do a lot of good, however, navigating the law regarding a tenant’s assertion is tricky. You can’t just stop paying rent. What you can do however, is pay your rent into the court. If you believe your landlord is not doing what they are supposed to or if you want to break a lease in Virginia please find a lawyer who can help you if you live near Fairfax, Loudon, and Arlington and Prince William counties.
A Tenant’s Assertion must start with a notice. Under the laws of Virginia, you have to give your landlord 30 days to resolve the issue before you start withholding rent. Send them a letter stating the issue and that you intend on withholding rent if they do not remedy the issue. After 30 days, you can file a Tenant’s assertion. With your tenant’s assertion, be sure to attach your original notice, a copy of the lease, an affidavit from you stating the problems, and any proof you have. What this form does is it allows you to deposit your rent with the court and schedule a hearing. At the hearing, you can ask the judge for damages, your rent back or recession (breaking) of the lease. If your landlord appears and disputes your tenant’s assertion, It will go to a trial. If, while you are waiting for your trial, another month of rent becomes due, you are required to pay this month of rent again with the court. You cannot withhold your rent unless a judge orders it so.
At trial the Judge has the power to do a lot of things. If you lose, he can order the rent you paid into the court be returned to the landlord and order additional damages to the landlord. If you win, you can receive all of your rent back, he could break the lease, he could order your landlord to do what he was supposed to do, etc. The options for the Judge to remedy the situation are vast, do not be afraid to get a little creative with your damages.