The Law


I am on a month-to-month lease in this house I am renting. How many days will I have to move when I receive an eviction notice? I have heard anywhere from 30 to 90 days.

Roberto, Herndon

It depends on what you are referring to when you say eviction notice. If you are referring to a 5-day notice to pay or quit, then you have 5 days to bring your rent payments, plus late fees, current. If you pay the amount due to the landlord within the 5 day period, you are legally entitled to remain in the house.

If you are referring to a notice that the landlord intends to terminate the month to month tenancy, then you have at least 30 days. The notice must be received before the first day of the month to terminate the tenancy on the first day of the month (assuming rent is paid on the first day of the month).

If by eviction notice you mean a summons for unlawful detainer, then you normally have 30 to 60 days before the first return date in court. A summons for unlawful detainer is a lawsuit filed by the landlord which seeks a judgment against the tenant for rent, late fees, court costs, and attorneys fees, and a judgment for possession of the house.

If by eviction notice you mean the notice given by the Sheriff that he will execute a writ of possession on a certain date pursuant the judgment for possession, then you have until the date specified in the notice before you and your possessions are evicted from the house.

H. Kent Kidwell is a partner at the law firm of Kidwell, Kent & Curran, in Fairfax City and President of Old Dominion Title Services, Inc. Readers may write to him at Woodson Square, 9695 C Main Street, Fairfax, Virginia 22031.