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How long do I have to move, if I am being evicted? What are my rights?

Clintwood, VA |

I have been verbally told I have 4 days to move, we have NOT been given a written notice of any kind, is that legal? Do I have to be out in 4 days? I have 2 small children and my husband don't get paid for 2 more weeks.

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Attorney answers 1


Short answer-NO WAY.
Tenants must pay rent on time and in full. Failing to do that can put the tenant in a situation where the landlord may evict (in fact many would argue SHOULD evict). That being said—it’s not a landlord process—it’s a court process.
Depending on what your living situation is and what circumstance accompany your tenancy--in an apartment in a complex, in a room in a house, in a townhome-- the processes differ slightly. Since you didn't provide many details I'll give you the general tour of eviction.
As I said earlier, eviction is a court process--not a landlord process. ONLY the court can put you on the street and it won't do so without you first getting your due process--the chance to explain the situation to the court. It usually starts with a pay or quit notice—if you don’t pay or quit (leave) then the LL has to file an unlawful detainer (an eviction suit). That takes two or three weeks. If you contest (argue against the process) a hearing will be set another two or three weeks down the road (depending on how busy the county court is). If you lost at court, you’d have an additional week or 10 days before the sheriff shows up to remove you. So you DO have more than four days—you may have 10 times that number of days.

Landlords, especially those who have tenants, with no written contract, believe (wrongly) that they hold all the cards and have all the power. Not the case. The court retains that power, but that doesn’t stop landlords from bluffing tenants out on the street.
1. You tell the LL you are not leaving.
2. Pay any rent you owe immediately.
3. Contact police if LL attempts any removal or lock-out (changing the locks—big no/no)
4. Chat with a local area landlord tenant attorney to discuss your options, your rights, what documents you need to keep or gather and how best to protect yourself in the future.
5. Many area bar associations (organizations made up of local attorneys) provide free legal service to those who can’t afford an attorney. Contact the Southwest Virginia Legal Services Office Immediately to see if they can assist you with any suit, or with dealing directly with your landlord.
Best of luck.

Recommend you:
1. Tell the landlord he/seh must evict you in accordance with the laws of Virginia.

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