Landlord's 5-Day Notice to Quit, Nonpayment of Rent in Virginia

Last Updated: January 19, 2023.

About this Form

This form letter is a legally-compliant "5-Day Notice to Quit" due to nonpayment of rent in Virginia. It is professionally crafted to meet the requirements outlined in Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1245F. This notice letter serves as the first step in the eviction process, giving the tenant the option to either pay all past-due rent within 5 days of receipt of this letter, or vacate the premises. The form letter is a standard, unlocked Microsoft Word document, reusable, customizable to fit your specific situation, and can be downloaded immediately after purchase.
Due Dates for Rent in Virginia

Under Virginia law, landlords and tenants may agree upon any rent due date in their lease agreement. Landlords are not obligated to provide tenants with a grace period for unpaid rent. Consequently, landlords are authorized under Virginia law to commence eviction proceedings against tenants on the next calendar date following a missed rent payment by the due date.

An agreement regarding rent due dates, including a grace period, should be reduced to writing. Both parties are then bound to adhere to the terms outlined in the agreement. In the absence of a written lease or lease agreement, Virginia law provides that rent is due on the first day of each month during the tenancy. (Refer to Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1204C.4.)

Procedure for Delivering the 5-Day Notice to the Tenant

In the event of nonpayment by the due date, the landlord's initial step in the eviction process is to serve the tenant with notice, which provides a five-day period for the tenant to either pay the outstanding rent or vacate the rental unit. In the absence of a mutually agreed upon grace period, the landlord may serve the notice the day immediately following the rent due date. The counting of the five-day period shall include Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, as per Va. Code Ann. § 1-210. However, if the last day falls on one of these days, the landlord must wait until the next non-weekend or non-holiday day to file the suit. If the tenant fails to vacate the rental unit or pay the outstanding rent, the landlord may proceed to file an eviction lawsuit with the court, as per Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1245F.

Requirements for a Valid 5-Day Notice to Pay or Quit

Proper notice under Virginia law requires the following information:

  1. The date that the landlord served the 5-day notice on the tenant(s);
  2. The name(s) and address of the tenant(s);
  3. The reason for the notice (i.e., nonpayment of rent);
  4. The total amount of the past-due rent, excluding late fees;
  5. A statement that the landlord intends to terminate the lease agreement and begin eviction proceedings if the tenant does not pay the past-due rent in full or vacate the premises within the five-day-period;
  6. If the landlord desires such recovery, a statement that the landlord is entitled to seek an award of costs and attorney fees under Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-27.1, as well as civil recovery under Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-27.2, as a part of other damages requested in any unlawful detainer;
  7. A statement detailing where and to whom the tenant should remit the past-due rent amount and specifying the exact due date; and
  8. A notarized Affidavit of Service documenting how the landlord delivered the 5-day notice to the tenant,
Notifying the Tenant to Pay the Past-Due Rent or Vacate the Premises

Ensuring the Tenant Has Actual Notice

The landlord's five-day notice to the tenant is valid only if the tenant has actual notice. The landlord can establish evidence of the tenant's actual notice by completing an Affidavit of Service that attests to the date and time of delivery, signed by the landlord, owner, or an agent.

Providing Service Through Tack and Mail

If personal delivery is not possible, the landlord may serve the notice by posting a copy in a conspicuous place on the rental property, such as the front door, and by mailing a copy to the tenant via certified mail.

Providing Service Through E-Mail

While electronic service of notice may be permissible, it is only valid if the landlord and tenant have previously agreed to this service method in writing, such as in the lease agreement or through explicit authorization provided by the tenant through an e-mail exchange with the landlord. Absent such an agreement in advance, the landlord may not use electronic communication to serve the tenant with notice. (Refer to Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1202 for additional information.)

Tenant's Options Upon Receiving 5-Day Notice

As a tenant, upon receipt of a notice to pay or quit, you may elect one of the following courses of action:

Pay the Past-Due Rent. Timely payment of rent within the five-day period specified in the notice bars the landlord from validly initiating an eviction proceeding.

Vacate the Premises. Vacating the rental unit before the expiration of the five-day period; however, the landlord may still initiate legal remedies to recover any unpaid rent.

Remain On the Premises. Failure to timely pay rent or vacate the rental unit within the five-day period specified in the notice authorizes the landlord to initiate legal proceedings for eviction. While this response is more adversarial than trying to work out an agreement with the landlord, if the tenant has valid defenses, this correct course of action may prove justified.

Litigating the Eviction in Virginia Court

In Virginia, the only legal means by which a landlord may evict a tenant is through the successful outcome of an eviction lawsuit, also referred to as an unlawful detainer suit. To initiate such a lawsuit, the landlord must file a Summons for Unlawful Detainer with the General District Court. The court will then schedule a hearing before a judge, at which both the landlord and tenant will present their cases. The judge will then make a ruling on the eviction. If the judgment favors the landlord, the judge will issue a Judgment for Possession. Upon the judge's issuance of this judgment, the landlord may request the court issue a Writ of Eviction, which allows the sheriff to expel the tenant and their possessions from the premises.

The court system in Virginia offers an array of downloadable forms for General District Court Civil cases. These forms are helpful for eviction proceedings.