Eviction Prevention

Arlington County’s housing and rental assistance programs seek to help tenants facing eviction.

What if I can’t pay my rent?
Contact your landlord as soon as possible. Ask if partial payments are accepted until the rent is paid in full. If so, write out a payment plan that reflects what you can afford. For additional help with rent and expenses, contact 703-228-1300 or dhs@arlingtonva.us

Eviction Process

If you are a tenant, your landlord must follow the legal eviction process as outlined below.

“An Unlawful Detainer” is a legal notice to appear in court because your landlord wants to evict you.  This means the landlord wants the Court to order you to move out of the apartment or house you are renting.

Notice.  The landlord issues the tenant a notice. This notice could be for nonpayment of rent, breach of lease or termination of lease. This permits him to file an unlawful detainer at the general district court after the time specified in the notice.

Court appearance.  The date of the court appearance is the date shown on the Unlawful Detainer. In court both the tenant and landlord (or his attorney) will be called forward.  At this time the tenant may contest the charges and ask for a trial date.

Judge’s decision.  It is possible that the landlord will be granted possession at this appearance if you owe rent.  This is particularly true if you didn’t pay past due rent within the five days allowed by the 5-Day Notice.

If the judge does decide that the landlord has the right to evict you, a judgment will be issued against you.  Unless you appeal that judgment within 10 day’s an order will be issued telling the Sheriff to supervise the removal of your property from the apartment.  Eviction takes place approximately 15 days after the court date, and your furniture will be removed to the curb outside.  You should receive a notice posted on your door by the Sheriff’s Office a few days before the eviction is scheduled to take place.

Appeal.  If the judge decides your landlord is right and you are wrong, you can appeal the judgment against you within ten days.  You may have to post a bond to appeal.  The case will be heard again in the Arlington Circuit Court.  You are not required to have an attorney.  In an appeal, however, it is best that you have one, because the landlord will have one.

Are you at risk of eviction?

What You Can Do

Talk to your landlord immediately to try to resolve the problem. Find out why you are being evicted. The law does not require the landlord to tell you why unless the reason is unpaid rent. If you are being evicted for unpaid rent, you will need to give your landlord a reasonable schedule for paying past as well as future rent. See the following links to see if they will apply to you:

Appear in court unless the Landlord cancels the summons in writing. You will lose your case if you do not go to court on the date on the Unlawful Detainer. You are not required to have an attorney, but the landlord will have an attorney in court.

Eviction Prevention Services

Contact Information Purpose
Housing Information Center
For basic questions regarding counseling and other eviction prevention resources available to Arlington tenants help with translating information.
Clerk of the Court
Request a change to the court date.
Legal Services of Northern Virginia (LSNV)
For tenants and homeowners needing legal assistance; provides information about free legal aid for people with low to moderate incomes.
Department of Human Services
Emergency Rental Assistance
Virginia Poverty Law Center’s Eviction Helpline
Questions or concerns around evictions in Virginia