Civil Process

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  • Hours: M-F, 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Phone: 703-228-4480
  • Fax: 703-228-4574
  • Address: 1425 North Courthouse Road, #9100, Arlington, VA 22201

    Fees for service of Legal Documents

  • Fees are mandated by the State of Virginia
  • In-State: $12 per person (Paperwork issued in Virginia)
  • Out-of-State: $75 per person (Paperwork issued outside of Virginia)
  • No fee for serving protective orders
  • Cash or Checks ONLY  (Checks are to be made payable to “Sheriff of Arlington)

    Eviction Process (4 Step Process)

  1. Notice to Tenant

    Landlord initiates 5-day notice to pay or quit or a 30-day notice to vacate

    • The first step in the eviction process is a 5-day notice to pay or quit or a 30-day notice to vacate.  The landlord must write a notice to the tenant telling them to pay the rent or leave the premises. The tenant has 30 days to vacate the premises if rent is not paid. 
    • In Virginia "notice" means notice given in writing by either certified mail or hand delivery, with the sender retaining sufficient proof of having given such notice in the form of a certificate of service confirming such mailing prepared by the sender. If notice is given that is not in writing, the person giving the notice has the burden of proof to show that the notice was given to the recipient of the notice. (in other words, an oral notice does not suffice)

  2. File for Unlawful Detainer
    • If the tenant does not leave after the 30-day period the landlord must go to court and file an Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit (a Civil Claim for Eviction) with the Arlington County General District Court at 1425 N. Courthouse Road #2400 Arlington, VA 22201.
      • This Civil Claim will be sent to the Sheriff's Office for service via the Arlington County General District Court Clerk's Office.
      • This document will come with a court date and the Property Owner/ Landlord or Legal Attorney representing the aforementioned, must attend. The burden of proof rests with the Plaintiff or Landlord.
  3. Writ of Eviction
    • The landlord or attorney for the landlord will need to file a request for Writ of Eviction in Unlawful Detainer Proceeding upon judgement in the landlord’s favor.
    • The Sheriff's Office will execute the Writ of Eviction within 30 days of the Judge's Signature and issuance of the Writ.
      • The landlord must leave the contact number on the Writ for a Deputy Sheriff  to get in contact with the landlord and make arrangements to carry out the eviction
  4. Eviction

    There are two types of evictions:
  • Set Out Eviction—The defendant's property, in its entirety, is placed on the nearest public right of way. The plaintiff must provide the locksmith and sufficient personnel deemed necessary by the Sheriff’s Office prior to execution of the eviction. Depending on the circumstances, the Sheriff's Office may require the plaintiff to provide a moving truck, boxes and bags, and/or special equipment.
  • 24-Hour Lock Out Eviction—This is the most commonly used eviction because it is far less costly than a Set Out Eviction. On eviction day, the plaintiff must provide a locksmith to change all of the locks on exterior entrances to the dwelling. The dwelling becomes a storage facility for the defendant's property for the next 24 hours. The plaintiff must grant the defendant reasonable access to remove his or her property during that 24 hour period. The defendant cannot stay in the dwelling overnight.


    Eviction Rules Eviction Guidelines

  • At the end of the 24 hour period, any property left in the dwelling goes into the possession of the plaintiff who must sell or destroy it.
  • If the defendant remains on the property or returns to the property after the 24 hour period expires, the defendant is trespassing.
  • Sheriff’s Office has up to 30 days to execute an eviction.
  • Sheriff’s Deputy coordinates schedule with the landlord.
  • Tenants are given a minimum of 72 hours’ notice.
  • Landlord or his agents must not enter dwelling until the Deputy has arrived. Doing so results in the cancellation of both Writ and eviction.
  • The landlord must arrive on time; Deputy need not wait longer than 10 minutes after the scheduled time.
  • The Sheriff’s Office reserves the right to postpone due to inclement weather.

Protective Orders

  • Protective Orders that originate outside of Arlington County must be faxed or mailed to Arlington County Sheriff’s Office by the Court where the Paperwork Originates or by a Law Enforcement Agency.
  • That agency must include a cover letter with a return fax number or mail address. The name and address for service need to be clearly marked.