Going to court is expensive.  The Walker Law Firm will work hard to settle your case out of court.  If your case is strong and the tenant is unwilling to cooperate, we will have to take the case to court to obtain a Writ of Possession.  The Writ of Possession in Unlawful Detainer (Eviction) is a court order authorizing the Sheriff to physically remove a person and his belongings from a premises and to return possession to the landlord. Usually the court will not issue the Writ of Possession until the appeal period for your case has lapsed. The appeal period is ten (10) days.

Every tenant has the legal right to live in rental housing unless and until the landlord follows the legal process for eviction.  

                                       Time Period for Executing Writ:

The Writ of Possession gives the Sheriff thirty (30) days in which to execute.  Effective July 1, 2000, this code, 8.01-470, has been modified to read, "The execution of the Writ of Possession by the Sheriff should occur within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date the writ is received by the Sheriff, or as soon as practicable thereafter, but in no event later than thirty (30) days from the date the Writ of Possession was issued."

It is important to remember the date the Writ was issued should a postponement be requested after scheduling the eviction. 

                               Duties of the Virginia Landlord in Evictions


Arrive on time. A Deputy is required to be there for everyone's protection.  The Deputy will wait about ten (10) minutes if the landlord is running late. However, after ten (10) minutes the Deputy will leave the scene. Communication is key here. Let the Sheriff's Office know if there is an emergency situation. The Deputy will try to work with the landlord but he will not wait any longer than ten (10) minutes if he has not heard from the landlord.

Do not enter the property before the deputy arrives. Entering before the Deputy arrives will result in the Sheriff canceling the Writ and no performance of the eviction. This is done to ensure both the landlord's safety and the safety of the Deputy, but moreover, to limit liability to the Sheriff and the landlord by false accusations made by disgruntled tenants. If the landlord starts moving property out before the Deputy arrives, he cannot ensure the eviction has been done in a lawful manner and will back out, stating the landlord has taken action without the assistance of the Sheriff.

Any knowledge the landlord has about the tenant is helpful to the Deputy. It is important for the Sheriff to know if the tenant may have any weapons in the dwelling, or if the tenant has been arrested for assault, or believed to be dealing drugs. Incidental information, such as inoperative cars, pets, waterbeds, and juveniles left alone is important because they can prolong the eviction and may necessitate additional preparation by the landlord, the Sheriff, or animal control. If the landlord knows the tenant has changed the locks, the landlord may want to have a locksmith available at the appointed time.

The landlord must supply sufficient personnel (movers) to allow speedy removal of the property. The deputy, at his discretion, can postpone the eviction for lack of sufficient personnel. If the eviction is postponed for lack of sufficient personnel, the landlord will be required to pay additional fees for the service of the new 72 hours notice. We usually recommend at least three (3) to five (5) people depending upon the amount of property inside. It is the landlord's responsibility to remove the property. The Deputy is there only to maintain peace and to protect the public from harmful objects.

While the Code of Virginia does not require the landlord to change the locks after completion of the eviction, the landlord may want to consider doing so. 

Call (703) 779-0720 if you have any questions or concerns regarding your rights.

The Walker Law Firm, PLC
15 Loudoun St., SW, Suite C
Leesburg, Virginia 20176
(703) 779-0720