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Rental Housing

Experienced Arlington Lawyers Resolve Complex Landlord-Tenant Issues

Know your rights and responsibilities as a property owner

We represent landlords in the collection of rent and eviction of delinquent tenants in Virginia and the District of Columbia. As a landlord, it is critically important to have your tenants sign a well-drafted lease that allows you to collect money owed to you and, if necessary, conduct an eviction if tenants fail to meet certain obligations.

The two parts of a landlord tenant case

There are often two parts to a landlord-tenant case: possession of the property and judgment for unpaid rents and costs.  In both Virginia and the District of Columbia, a landlord can elect whether to pursue both actions at the same time or in separate actions.  Often the first and most important goal is to take possession or obtain judgment for possession from the non-paying tenant, so that the landlord can re-let the property to someone else.  A secondary, but important goal is to collect back rent owed to the landlord.  Therefore, even after a tenant has been evicted, a landlord may wish to pursue judgment for non-payment of rent in the appropriate court.  If a money judgment is obtained, our attorneys pursue collection of the judgment for delinquent rent using all post-judgment collection options permitted by law.

A well-drafted lease will allow the landlord to collect late fees, bad-check fees, and collection costs, including court costs, attorneys’ fees, and interest.  Therefore, we also draft and revise leases in preparation for tenant delinquency.

Virginia process

  • Prepare and file unlawful detainer (possession and rent/damages to property) or unlawful detainer (possession only) in General District Court
  • Writ of possession executed by County Sheriff
  • Prepare and file subsequent warrant in debt (unpaid rent and damage to property) in General District Court
  • Docket judgment in the land records
  • Conduct debtor’s interrogatories
  • Garnish bank accounts, wages, and other sums owed by third-parties
  • Sheriff’s seizure and sale of Tenant’s tangible property

District of Columbia process

  • Prepare and file Complaint for Possession for non-payment of rent (possession and rent/damages to property) or Complaint for Possession for non-payment of rent (possession only) in D.C. Superior Court, Landlord-Tenant Branch
  • Prepare and file Complaint for possession for breach for reasons other than non-payment of rent (rare) in D.C. Superior Court, Landlord-Tenant Branch
  • Reinstatement Forms (Trans-Lux)
  • Writ of Restitution executed by U.S. Marshal
  • Prepare and file subsequent Complaint in D.C. Superior Court (unpaid rent and damage to property)
  • Docket judgment in the D.C. land records
  • Conduct post judgment discovery and examination of debtor’s assets
  • Attach bank accounts, wages, and other sums owed by third-parties

Speak with a knowledgeable attorney handling landlord-tenant disputes

At Caulkins & Bruce, PC, we work with residential and commercial property owners in Virginia and across the region, including, Washington, D.C. and Maryland. We have an office in Arlington, near the Courthouse Metro Station, in Fairfax and in Leesburg near the Loudoun County Circuit Court. To set up an appointment today, call us at 703-558-3670 or contact us online. We also maintain flexible hours and are happy to set up an after-hours meeting, if needed.

Representative Matters
  • "Obtained a judgment for condominium association in excess of $1 million against developer of condominium in Fairfax County."

  • "Defended an officer of a government contractor in a case involving enforcement of a non-competition agreement."

  • "Defended and achieved favorable settlement of wrongful termination and discrimination claims brought in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia."

  • "Served as outside counsel to several franchisors, prepared franchise agreements, franchise disclosure documents and state franchise registrations, and counseled franchisors regarding franchise compliance issues."

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