Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Virginia

I am the owner of the house and also live there. I verbally asked my roommate to move out in November when my fiancÚ moved in. He quit paying rent in November. Also I asked him to stop smoking in the house. He has made no attempt to move out and it is now March. We gave him written notice in March to be out by middle of April but he has begun smoking constantly in the house. My fiancÚ is allergic to the smoke and it is making her sick, He is also leaving ash on the bathroom floor and sink, who knows what his room looks like. Can we remove his stuff and change the locks? Does the verbal in November count or do we have to put up with him for three more weeks? Do we have any legal action that we can take?

Asked on 3/24/10, 10:09 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael E. Hendrickson Attorney & Counsellor at Law
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Yes, in fact the only action you can take (that is legal) to have this unwelcome

roommate removed is to file for an unlawful detainer action in the clerk's office

(civil division) of your local general district court to have the fellow formally evicted as any other landlord would have to do in order to evict a non-paying tenant. (And, no, you cannot resort to so-called self-help measures on your own to get him out without subjecting yourself to possible liability to him in civil damages.)

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3/29/10, 1:40 pm

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