How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 38212
Experience:  17 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
19958803
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
Barrister is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I recently purchased a home at an trustee sale (auction) and

This answer was rated:

Hi
JA: Hi. What seems to be the problem?
Customer: I recently purchased a home at an trustee sale (auction) and the property is occupied (not sure if tenant or previous owner). I am seeking advice on best way to deal with the occupant per Virginia law
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: prince william county, virginia
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: i don't believe the trustee initiated eviction process prior to auction
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: i have not made initial contact with occupant yet
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
can you also advise on eviction process in prince william county, virginia

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I type out an answer or reply.

.

You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by the website and you are under no obligation to accept.

.

Once you have the deed in your name, you can begin the termination and eviction process by giving the tenant a written 5 day notice to vacate. If they don't then vacate, you will have to file a formal eviction action in court to get a judgment and a writ of possession that will allow the sheriff to forcibly remove any occupants.

.

But generally, since the occupants likely know that they will have to move, if you offer them "cash for keys", as in some amount to encourage them to voluntarily vacate, often they will accept because if you have to evict them, they get nothing.

.

In Virginia, an unlawful detainer is the most common action used to obtain possession of real property after a foreclosure sale. Following a foreclosure sale, the purchaser must demand possession of the property and provide the occupant, by certified return receipt mail, with a notice to vacate. This notice to quit gives the occupant five (5) days to vacate before the filing of the unlawful detainer.

.

Filing the unlawful detainer in the district court initiates the actual legal proceeding to evict the occupant. The summons states that the plaintiff is the owner of the property and the defendant is the former borrower or an unknown occupant holding over after a foreclosure sale. Once the summons is filed, the defendant is served with process by the sheriff.

.

A hearing is scheduled for three (3) to four (4) weeks from the date of filing. At the hearing, if the defendant and or unknown occupant does not appear, then the plaintiff is entitled to judgment for possession (the order allowing eviction) by default. If the borrower or occupant appears and contests the matter, a trial is set, normally resulting in an order that the purchaser is entitled to Writ of Possession. At a contested hearing, the purchaser must present evidence that the foreclosure occurred and that the party seeking the eviction was the purchaser at the foreclosure sale, or a transferee of the purchaser. Once these facts are proven, the purchaser is usually granted a judgment declaring that it is entitled to possession of the property. The judgment becomes final in ten (10) days if the borrower or occupant does not file an appeal.

.

After the ten-day appeal period expires, the court issues a Writ of Possession. Once the order has been entered and a Writ of Possession is issued, the lender must schedule the eviction with the sheriff's office. The writ is usually executed within two (2) to four (4) weeks of it being issued. The writ expires if the eviction is not completed within thirty (30) days of issuance. The lender's labor crew, under the supervision of the sheriff, carries out the eviction. On the scheduled date, the personal property is "set out" on the curbside.

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
based on your answer my understanding is that I can begin process to terminate existing lease (if tenant has valid lease) once the deed is recorded. I just want to make sure the process is same whether the occupant is renting or previous owner.

I apologize for the delay, had to be out of office most of the day.

.

But yes, you are correct, once you have a deed in your name you are the legal owner and can then begin the eviction process.

.

And it doesn't matter if they have a lease or not. The foreclosure wiped that out.

.

And yes, it is the same process for whoever is residing there..

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
one more question. would you be able to provide a sample "notice to vacate" to be served to unknown occupants? we don't know the names of current occupants.

Unfortunately, I can't provide legal documents to customers as that would be considered legal representation, which I am prohibited from doing under my agreement with JA.

.

But you just list any notice to "John and Jane Doe, and all Unknown Occupants" and that will cover anyone living there.

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Hi, I have a follow-up question. I spoke with the occupant over the weekend. She is the previous owner's adult daughter. The previous owner passed away in August 2016 and the daughter moved into this property in Jan 2017. there is no formal lease in place.
She was well aware that foreclosure proceedings so change in ownership was not a surprise to her. I asked her to vacate the property by end of August and offered to help with moving expense. initially she appeared cooperative but has now become unresponsive.
I would like to initiate the formal eviction process but its unclear as to what reason would apply in this case?
There's no lease agreement so cannot reference any violations. The only reason I can think of is that there is no tenancy agreement in place therefore she's occupying the property unlawfully. Not sure if legally that's a valid reason.Can you please provide some advice on this scenario?

She is legally considered a month to month holdover tenant and you would have to give her a written 30 day notice to vacate and then could file a formal unlawful detainer (eviction) action in court after that notice expires.

.

It was my pleasure to work with you and help with your question. If you ever need me in the future, you can post a new question with "For Barrister" in the caption and the JustAnswer employees will get it to me.

.

If you feel I have answered all your questions, I would very much appreciate a 5 star rating by clicking on the rating scale on your screen as that is the only way I receive credit for my work.

.

.

Thanks much

Barrister

Hello again,

.

I just wanted to touch base with you and check in.

.

Did you have any further questions I can help with?

.

.

Thanks much

Barrister

Barrister and other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Hello, thanks for your help. I don't really have any more questions at this time.
Just wondering if you practice in Virginia? we may need legal assistance so can you recommend someone? our property is located in Prince William county, Virginia.

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time.

.

It was my pleasure to work with you and help with your question. If you ever need me in the future, you can post a new question with "For Barrister" in the caption and the JustAnswer employees will get it to me.

.

Unfortunately, I am not allowed to represent customers from the site or recommend anyone personally under my agreement with JustAnswer. However, these are a couple sites that we attorneys actually use if we need local counsel in a state where we aren't licensed. Further, customers have consistently reported good results with these sites:

.

www.martindale.com

.

www.lawyers.com

.

They screen their attorneys based on geographic location, area of practice, time in practice, cost and customer reviews.

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
ok, thanks again for the information.