How to Serve an Eviction Notice in Virginia

How to Serve an Eviction Notice in Virginia

Last Updated: March 6, 2024 by Roberto Valenzuela

In Virginia, in order for the delivery of a lease termination or eviction notice to be legal, certain rules and procedures must be followed. If they are not and the case proceeds to court, the case may be postponed or dismissed by a judge.

Who Can Serve Eviction Notices in Virginia?

In Virginia, landlords can serve eviction notices and lease termination notices themselves. Landlords may choose to hire a sheriff, process server or independent party over eighteen (18) years old to serve an official notice, but they are not required to do so by law.

When Can Eviction Notices Be Served in Virginia?

In Virginia, lease termination and eviction notices can be served immediately on any day of the week and at any time of day.

For a 5 Day Notice to Quit for nonpayment of rent, the eviction notice for tenants that do not pay rent in full and on time, a landlord can serve notice the day after rent is due. There is no legal grace period for paying rent in Virginia, rent is late starting the day after it’s due.

In Virginia, there is an Eviction Diversion Pilot Program in effect until the end of 2024 for nonpayment of rent cases. Tenants may be eligible to participate in the program if they meet certain legal criteria during the first court hearing.

Acceptable Forms of Service in Virginia

Virginia law isn’t strict or specific on method of delivery for an initial eviction notice. The law requires notice in writing. Electronic notice is allowed if provided for in the rental agreement, although the tenant can opt into paper notice upon request. Notice must be delivered to the tenant’s last known place of residence.

For maximum legal compliance, these are the methods of service accepted for an action in court:

  1. Hand delivery to the other party
  2. Only if personal service is not possible: Hand delivery to a family member at least age 16 who is residing at the property
  3. Only if no form of hand delivery is possible: Posting the notice at the front door or entrance of the property, PLUS mailed notice by first class mail including a certificate of mailing

Mailed notice extends a notice period by (3) calendar days, to account for variable delivery times.


Once an eviction action is filed in court, serving the summons on the tenant will require one of the methods specified, and electronic notice will not be allowed.

Obtaining Proof of Service in Virginia

Landlords can show proof that the notice was delivered through the following methods:

  • Hand Delivery – by completing a Declaration of Service at the time of delivery.
  • Posting at the Premises – by taking a photograph and completing a Declaration of Service.
  • First Class Mail – certificate of mailing and completing a Declaration of Service.

Virginia Eviction and Lease Termination Notice Forms

Notice Form Grounds
5 Day Notice To Quit Eviction for Unpaid Rent
30 Day Notice To Comply or Vacate Eviction for Lease Violation
30 Day Notice of Termination Eviction for Repeat Violation / Criminal Activity
7 Day Notice To Vacate Ending a Weekly Lease
30 Day Notice To Vacate Ending a Monthly / Yearly Lease

Virginia Eviction Diversion Pilot Program

The Eviction Diversion Pilot Program is designed to reduce the number of evictions for unpaid rent. If the tenant is eligible for the program, both parties will be entered into a court ordered payment plan for the past due rent.

During the first court hearing, tenants must meet the following criteria:

  1. The tenant requests that the case be referred to the eviction diversion program;
  2. The tenant pays at least 25% of the rent balance due to the landlord or the court;
  3. The tenant provides sworn testimony of employment, ability to sufficiently pay the rent balance due as well as an explanation for the past due rent balance;
  4. The tenant has not paid rent late more than two (2) times in the past six (6) months or more than three (3) times in the past twelve (12) months;
  5. The tenant has not exercised the right of redemption within the last six (6) months. The right of redemption is the tenant paying a past due rent balance prior to the sheriff executing a Writ of Eviction; and
  6. The tenant has not participated in an eviction diversion program within the last 12 months.

The unlawful detainer action will be dismissed by the judge if the tenant complies with court orders. However, if the tenant fails to comply, the landlord may submit a written notice to the court and move forward with the eviction process.

For low-income persons, there is also an Eviction Diversion Pilot Program available in the cities of Danville, Hampton, Petersburg, and Richmond, which is designed to reduce the number of evictions for unpaid rent. The program encourages housing retention through a payment plan for past due rent.

The Eviction Diversion Pilot Program is in effect through the end of 2024.