Virginia  |  Landlord & Tenant Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 9/29/13, 9:31 pm

Me and my wife owe money on back rent to our old landlord and he's taking us to court for unpaid rent . Do we have to go or does not going just simply show that yes we owe the money

2 Answers

Answered on: 9/30/13, 7:52 am by Michael E. Hendrickson

If you do not appear in the court to which you/ve apparently been

summoned, the court will likely enter a default civil judgment against you

for the amount of this landlord's claim and which will show on your

credit reports as an unpaid/defaulted debt.

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Answered on: 9/30/13, 10:24 am by Sam Moore

Virginia Rules provide that if the defendant fails to appear in person or by counsel, then (1) the defendant waives any objections; (2) the defendant is not entitled to notice of any further proceedings in the case; and (3) the judge can award the plaintiff the amount that appears to be due.

It may be tempting to skip the proceeding if you think that the plaintiff will prevail regardless, but there are certain dangers in that course of action and you should consider consulting with any attorney prior to not attending. For example, while you may agree that you owe the landlord a certain amount of money, the landlord may be seeking much more. If you don't attend, you could lose the opportunity to at least mitigate the possible judgment.

You may also lose the ability to negotiate with the plaintiff concerning how you are going to repay the amount due. For instance, can you repay a bit each month or will you have to repay it all within 30 days.

There are other potential concerns, so consider consulting with a Virginia Attorney if you need additional information.

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