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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 118789
Experience:  Attorney with over 24 years experience.
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VA (COMMONWEALTH) Landlord Tenant Question 3 months ago, in

Customer Question

VA (COMMONWEALTH) Landlord Tenant Question3 months ago, in VA regional court I got the order to both evict the tenants and get paid for unpaid rent. The tenants appealed to common plea county court, I responded with a complaint, which the responded and still no court hearing date has been chosen. Their lease ends this month and over 2 months ago I properly notified them that their lease would not get renewed. The tenants keep saying that they will not leave and will continue paying to the escrow account. I want them out as they didn’t give me permission to enter the rental and it needs repairs.1) What do I need to submit to the common plea court, asking them to have a hearing date?
2) I was thinking to have a court date early July, just in case they really have not moved out, I might be able to evict them easier as the lease is expired and I didn’t renew it. Is this a correct thought?
3) Do I need to submit a summon to the court notifying them about the tenant’s latest debt and change in circumstances (compare to 3 months ago) prior to the hearing, or NO, I just provide the latest debt update at the hearing?
4) They have damaged the house in the past, but in the regional court, the judge didn’t grant me the repair cost stating that they are still leaving there so any damage cost can’t be determined. My concern is that when they leave I can’t find them to take them to court for damages. How can I handle this prior to them leaving?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Michael Gonzalez replied 4 months ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.Let me address your inquiries in general. While a landlord has a right to make necessary repairs, you stronger argument is that (if tenants remain) the lease was not re-newed and the tenants are deemed "hold over tenants.". Therefore, your gut instinct (question #2) is correct, this will make for an easier, simpler eviction (ie unlawful detainer).In your initial eviction Complaint, you will include a count for unpaid rent up until that time. Evictions are summary proceedings, thus, these cases are usually resolved much quicker than other civil cases.The damage costs are problematic. Section 8 does not provide for security deposits and I am not sure if you required and received a security deposit. Presuming that there is no security deposit, any money judgment for damages will likely be worthless (in a practical sense) to you given the financial status of these Section 8 tenants.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
I am a DIFFERENT CONTRIBUTOR as it seems your previous contributor left you. Do you have any further questions about your issue?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I would appreciate it if you could respond to my questions. Do you agree with Michael's response to my 2nd question (he didn't respond to the rest of the questions)?
I will add another one:
5) As the lease is up, why I need to go to court in the 1st place? Why shouldn't I be able to have police/sherif get them out?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
1) Under VA rule 3.2, trials on issues of facts raised by plea may be, in the discretion of the court, heard separately or in conjunction with trial on the merits. Trials will not be set until:
1) The parties are at issue on the matters to be tried and the case is matured.
2) Pretrial conference, if required, in accord with Rule 3:3 a) has been had.
3) All discovery procedures relating to the issues to be tried have been completed, or a date by which all discovery procedures shall have been completed has been determined by order.
So until all of that is done the court will not set trial. If all has been done, then you would need to file motion for trial to the court and send a copy to the other party and get the clerk to set the matter on the docket.
2) You have a right to file a motion asking the tenant to submit an appeal bond if they have not done so already. You can ask the court to make them put up a bond pending appeal. You can also ask the clerk of court about setting the hearing sooner, it is up to the court docket though.
3) You would bring in your proof of claim of the updated debt when you go to court.
4) Damages to the property can be sued over as a separate action after the eviction if they leave the premises damaged as you say. Once the eviction is granted, then you can sue for any damages they caused in a separate civil suit.
5) Evictions are a civil process. The law does not provide for self help and the police do not consider it a criminal matter. Thus you need a court order to forcibly remove them from the premises.
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Customer: replied 4 months ago.
a) I apologize that I misspelled the state. It should be PA. I guess except the law numbers the rest should be the same, shouldn't it?
b) Is the Pretrial conference at the court, or can it be done over the phone?
We were not asked for any discovery, although I did submit the bills I paid on behalf of the tenants.c) The tenants are paying a portion of the rent by the 10th of the month to an escrow account. Is this the appeal bond you are referring to?d) My concern is that when they leave I can’t find them to take them to court for damages. How can I handle this prior to them leaving? How can I legally ask the court to force them to update their address? I am just proposing solutions. I am open to your suggestionse) Let's say they move out prior to the hearing and I evaluate the damages to be $. Can I ask for $ at the same hearing?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
The same thing applies in PA that you have to go to the prothonotary office and check where it is on the docket and you can file a motion for trial if no trial has been set.
b) Pretrial is done at court, the judge can let the parties do over the phone.
c) No they should be paying the whole rent since they are delinquent unless the court says something different.
d) You can serve them in court the date of judgment if they appear in court. If not you would have to find their new address or place of employment to serve them and if you cannot then you can ask the court for service by publication.
e) if he moves out then you can ask for your damages when you return to court.
Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.