June 2016

Remember that you waive your right to continue the eviction process if you accept tenants’ payments after you serve the five day notice and do not provide them with a written reservation of rights notice.  Most landlords insert “reservation of rights” language in the five day notice so that if the tenant makes one or more payments after the five day notice has been served, but before the first court date, no one needs to remember to give the tenant a reservation of rights letter with every payment.

Remember, though, that tenants have a once-a-year right of redemption which allows the tenant to pay all the rent-due-as-of-the-court-date plus court costs, late fees, and reasonable attorney’s fees prior to the first court date, at which time, the court will dismiss the case.

YOU MUST GIVE AN ADDITIONAL RESERVATION OF RIGHTS LETTER AFTER JUDGMENT.  In the event that after the court grants possession and your tenant subsequently pays the money judgment and all costs, and you still intend to proceed with the eviction, then you must give the tenant another written notice of your intent to reserve your right to evict.  The language is similar to the reservation of rights language used in the five day notice but it is a separate notification.  You can provide this notification by letter and you must do so within 5 business days of any and all payments that the tenant makes after judgment and before eviction.  This is very important.  If you accept any payment after judgment without giving a reservation of rights notice, you waive your right to evict.

All of the above is provided in VA Code § 55-248.34:1 and assumes that you intend to have the sheriff execute the writ as soon as it is available after the court date when the judgment was entered.