The Eviction Process: What to Do After Serving a 30-Day Notice
Osprey Property Management | November 2023
Published February 2022. Updated November 2, 2023.
If you are a property owner in Hampton and have served a 30-day notice to your tenant, you probably wonder what comes next. The eviction process can be tricky, and it is essential to make sure that you follow all of the legal requirements.
This blog post from our team at Osprey Property Management will discuss the steps you need to take after notifying your tenants and what to expect if they refuse to comply.
What Are Valid Reasons to Serve a 30-Day Notice?
There are a few reasons why you may need to terminate the relationship with your renter, but not all will be legally valid or avoid violating your tenants’ rights. The most common reason property owners serve a 30-day notice is that the tenant has failed to pay rent or another lease violation. If your tenant has not paid rent for two months or more, you may have grounds to evict them.
Damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear
It's essential to detail your lease agreement to understand what is and isn't allowed on the property. This will help avoid any confusion or disputes with your tenant later on. If they violate the lease agreement, you can serve them with a 30-day notice.
Always have a just cause to evict your tenant. If you do not have legal grounds, the eviction process can lead to legal issues for you (instead of your renter).
Security Deposit: Protecting Your Interests
During the eviction process, the security deposit plays a significant role. If your tenant has caused damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear or has unpaid rent, you may be entitled to use the security deposit to cover these costs.
However, it is essential to follow the proper legal procedures when deducting from the security deposit.
Here are some key points to consider regarding the security deposit during the eviction process:
Document Damages: Before using the security deposit for repairs or unpaid rent, make sure to thoroughly document the damages with photographs and written descriptions. This evidence will be crucial if the tenant disputes the deductions.
Provide a Written Notice: Notify your tenant in writing about your intent to deduct from the security deposit. Include an itemized list of deductions and any remaining balance.
Follow State Laws: Different states have specific laws regarding security deposits, including the timeline for returning the remaining deposit to the tenant. Ensure that you adhere to these laws to avoid legal complications.
Maintain Communication: Keep the lines of communication open with your tenant throughout the process. This can help prevent misunderstandings and disputes.
Consult Legal Counsel: If you are uncertain about how to handle the security deposit or if the tenant raises objections, it's advisable to seek legal counsel. An attorney experienced in landlord-tenant matters can guide the best course of action.
Securing insurance for your security deposit mitigates legal risks and potential delays in the eviction process. Adhering to regulations and obtaining the necessary coverage safeguards your interests, providing a smoother experience.
What to Do If a Tenant Fails to Move Out
If your tenant fails to move out, you need to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit—aka eviction lawsuit—with the local court and pay a small filing fee. This will start the legal process of evicting your tenant from the property.
The renter must be served with the court documents and has five days to answer the complaint. If they do not answer, the court will automatically rule in your favor. However, if the renter feels they're wrongfully accused, they can file a countersuit.
If the tenant files a countersuit, the court will set a date for a hearing. Both sides will present their case at this hearing, and the judge will decide. If the judge rules in favor of the tenant, they will be allowed to stay on the property. However, if ruled against them, the tenant will be required to move out within a certain timeframe.
If the tenant still fails to move out after being ordered by the court, the property owner can request a writ of eviction from the sheriff's office. The sheriff will then post a notice on the property informing the tenant that they must vacate within 24 hours or they will be forcibly removed from the property.
In some jurisdictions, tenants are entitled to a jury trial if they ask for one. In jury trials, the jury determines whether the tenant should be evicted.
How To Ensure a Ruling in Your Favor
If you want to ensure that theeviction processgoes smoothly and get a ruling in your favor, it is crucial to have all of your documentation in order. This includes things like the rental agreement, rent records, and any other proof you have of the tenant violating the terms of their lease.
It is also essential to make sure that you follow all of the legal requirements for eviction. This includes giving proper notice to the tenant before the notice period ends. You should also give written notice regarding the move-out date, time frame for remaining occupancy, and follow-up notifications.
Always keep track of your communication with the tenant, as this can be used as evidence in court if necessary and will ensure that you have a strong case if there are any disputes or if the eviction process goes to court.
Hiring a lawyer is also recommended, especially if you are unsure of the eviction process or if the tenant has filed a countersuit. Their expertise will ensure that you have the best chance possible of getting a ruling in your favor.
Take Care of Evictions With the Best Property Management Hampton, VA Offers
Theeviction process in Virginia can be complicated, time-consuming, and stressful. If you want to avoid legal headaches, hiring a property management company and consulting a lawyer to take care of evictions is best. A property manager will have the experience and knowledge to ensure that works out for the best and that your tenant is legally required to vacate your rental property.
As the best property management Hampton, VA has to offer, Osprey Property Management has plenty of experience in handling evictions. Reach out to learn more about how we can help!
Get more insights into the eviction process with a free copy of our “Rental Property Owner's Tenant Eviction Checklist.”