Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 8.01. Civil Remedies and Procedure
Chapter 3. Actions

§ 8.01-130.4. When and by whom distress made.

A distress action for rent may be brought no later than five years from the time the rent becomes due, whether the lease is ended or not. The distress shall be made by a sheriff of the county or city where the premises yielding the rent, or some part thereof, is located or the goods liable to distress may be found, under warrant from a judge of, or a magistrate serving, the judicial district. Such warrant shall be founded upon a sworn petition of the person claiming the rent, or his agent, that (i) the petitioner believes the amount of money or other thing by which the rent is measured, to be specified in the petition in accordance with § 8.01-130.6, is justly due to the claimant for rent reserved upon contract from the person of whom it is claimed, (ii) the petitioner alleges one or more of the grounds mentioned in § 8.01-534 and sets forth in the petition specific facts in support of such allegation, and (iii) the rent claimed is for rent due within five years from the time that it becomes due. The petition shall also specify the amount of the rent claimed and request either levy or seizure of the affected property prior to trial. The plaintiff shall, at the time of suing out a distress, give bond in conformity with the provisions of § 8.01-537.1. The plaintiff praying for a distress warrant shall, at the time that he files his petition, pay the proper costs, fees, and taxes, and in the event of his failure to do so, the distress warrant shall not be issued.

A judge or magistrate shall make an ex parte review of the petition and may receive evidence only in the form of a sworn petition, which shall be filed in the office of the clerks of court. The warrant may be issued in accordance with the prayer of the petition by a judge or magistrate only upon a determination that there appears from the petition that there is reasonable cause to believe that one of the grounds mentioned in § 8.01-534 exists, the allegations required to be in the petition are true, and bond that complies with § 8.01-537.1 has been posted.

Each copy of the distress warrant shall be issued and served on each defendant together with (a) a form for requesting a hearing of exemption from levy or seizure, as provided in § 8.01-546.1, and (b) a copy of the bond. The distress warrant may be issued or executed on any day, including a Saturday, Sunday, or other legal holiday. Service shall be made in accordance with the methods described in § 8.01-487.1. The provisions of § 8.01-546.2 shall govern claims for exemption.

The officer into whose hands the warrant is delivered shall levy or seize as directed in the warrant, except as may be provided by statute, the property found on the premises of the tenant as provided by § 8.01-130.6. The officer shall return the warrant of distress to the court to which the warrant of distress is returnable by the return date unless otherwise notified by the court to make return by an earlier date.

Code 1919, § 5522; Code 1950, § 55-230; 1962, c. 10; 1974, c. 458; 1976, c. 177; 1980, c. 555; 1986, c. 341; 1993, c. 841; 2008, cc. 551, 691; 2019, c. 712.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.