Facing an eviction? What you need to know

eviction notice
Posted at 4:13 PM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 18:04:29-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – With so many of us feeling the impact of inflation and rising rent prices, some renters might start to fall behind on monthly payments.

The timing couldn’t be worse as the COVID-19 pandemic eviction moratoriums come to an end, and the number of evictions is expected to rise.

News 3 gets a lot of calls and questions about evictions and renters' rights, and it is a complicated process. We break it all down for you to better understand the rights of renters and landlords.

If you’re behind on rent and an eviction has not been filed against you yet, housing experts say it’s important to try and work some sort of payment agreement out with the landlord.

But if you can’t come up with a compromise and the eviction is filed, you do have some time, and you can fight the eviction in court.

Nedra Ross was at risk of being evicted from her Virginia Beach apartment. Fearful of being forced out, she started packing up some of her things.

“It physically makes me ill,” said Ross. “I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. Going to court day after day after day.”

Ross, however, fought her case in court and said it’s now been dismissed.

“It’s unnerving to think that you have everything in line, and you’ve done everything you’re supposed to do, and then some people to be in positions of authority - the management company, or the owners, or even the judges - I’m fighting all of them just to be heard,” Ross said.

Before a landlord can evict someone, they must first give a written notice known as a pay or quit.

If you pay the rent within five days, you can stay. But if you don’t, the landlord can start an eviction case.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to move out right away.

There are legal steps the landlord must follow, and a tenant has the right to fight the eviction in court.

Amy Disel Allman is a housing advocate. She says showing up to court is crucial to raise any defenses you might have and possibly buy you more time. Before and after court, a tenant might still be able to pay and stay.

“Just by doing that, they can get some additional time before they have to be out of the property just by showing up,” said Disel Allman, the director of advocacy with Virginia Legal Aid Society.

Disel Allman also urges tenants to get legal advice and have representation.

“Tenants are rarely represented by an attorney in court and are at a disadvantage that very often results in an eviction,” she said.

If you lose in court, the judge will issue an order of possession.

“They are able to stay if they can pay everything that’s owed, but if not, it is very much, once the judgment is entered by the court it is critical that they make arrangements,” Disel Allman said.

The tenant has a right to appeal, but you have to do it within 10 days and it’s not an easy process without an attorney.

If you don’t appeal, the landlord can ask the court for a writ of eviction. That’s when you’re out of time, and a sheriff will give you a notice to evict. The tenant then has 72 hours to leave.

If you fear you can't pay your bills or are facing an eviction, there are resources available.

The Eviction Legal Helpline is a free statewide resource for tenants facing potential eviction. You can contact a local legal aid for advice or contact the Helpline at or 1-833-NoEvict.

People can also visit or call 1-866-LEGLAID (1-866-534-5243) to see if you qualify for assistance. If you don't, try to consult an attorney.