Code of Virginia

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

Article 14. Ejectment.

§ 8.01-131. Action of ejectment retained; when and by whom brought.

A. The action of ejectment is retained, subject to the provisions hereinafter contained, and to the applicable Rules of Court.

B. Such action may be brought in the same cases in which a writ of right might have been brought prior to the first day of July, 1850, and by any person claiming real estate in fee or for life or for years, either as heir, devisee or purchaser, or otherwise.

Code 1950, §§ 8-796, 8-797; 1954, c. 333; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-132. What interest and right plaintiff must have.

No person shall bring such ejectment action unless he has, at the time of commencing it, a subsisting interest in the premises claimed and a right to recover the same, or to recover the possession thereof, or some share, interest or portion thereof.

Code 1950, § 8-799; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-133. Who shall be defendants; when and how landlord may defend.

The person actually occupying the premises and any person claiming title thereto or claiming any interest therein adversely to the plaintiff may also, at the discretion of the plaintiff, be named defendants in the action. If there be no person actually occupying the premises adversely to the plaintiff, then the action must be against some person exercising ownership thereon or claiming title thereto or some interest therein at the commencement of suit. If a lessee be made defendant at the suit of a party claiming against the title of his landlord such landlord may appear and be made a defendant with or in place of his lessee.

Code 1950, § 8-800; 1954, c. 333; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-134. How action commenced and prosecuted.

The action shall be commenced and prosecuted as other actions at law. The name of the real claimant shall be inserted as plaintiff, and all the provisions of law concerning a lessor of a plaintiff shall apply to such plaintiff.

Code 1950, § 8-801; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-135. What is to be stated in motion for judgment.

It shall be sufficient for the plaintiff to aver in his motion for judgment that on some day specified therein, which shall be after his title accrued, he was possessed of the premises claimed, and, being so possessed thereof, the defendant afterwards, on some day likewise specified, entered into such premises or exercised acts of ownership thereon or claimed title thereto or some interest therein, to the damage of the plaintiff in such sum as he shall state in his motion for judgment.

Code 1950, § 8-802; 1954, c. 333; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-136. How premises described.

The premises claimed shall be described in the motion for judgment with convenient certainty, so that, from such description, with the aid of information derived from the plaintiff, possession thereof may be delivered.

Code 1950, § 8-803; 1954, c. 333; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-137. Plaintiff to state how he claims.

The plaintiff shall also state whether he claims in fee or for his life, or the life of another, or for years, specifying such lives or the duration of such term, and when he claims an undivided share or interest he shall state the same.

Code 1950, § 8-804; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-138. There may be several counts and several plaintiffs.

The motion for judgment may contain several counts, and several parties may be named as plaintiffs jointly in one count and separately in others.

Code 1950, § 8-805; 1954, c. 333; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-139. What proof by plaintiff is sufficient.

The consent rule, formerly used, remains abolished. The plaintiff need not prove an actual entry on, or possession of, the premises demanded, or receipt of any profits thereof, or any lease, entry, or ouster, except as hereinafter provided. But it shall be sufficient for him to show a right to the possession of the premises at the time of the commencement of the suit.

Code 1950, § 8-809; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-140. Effect of reservation in deed; burden of proof.

In any action, suit or other judicial proceeding involving the title to land embraced in the exterior boundaries of any patent, deed or other writing, which reserves one or more parcels of land from the operation of such patent, deed or other writing, if there be no claim made by a party to the proceedings that the land in controversy, or any part thereof, lies within such reservation, such patent, deed or other writing shall be construed, and shall have the same effect, as if it contained no such reservation; and if any party to such proceeding claims that the land in controversy, or any part thereof, lies within such reservation, the burden shall be upon him to prove the fact, and all land not shown by a preponderance of the evidence to lie within such reservation shall be deemed to lie without the same.

This section shall apply in cases involving the right to the proceeds of any such land when condemned or sold, as well as in cases where the title to land is directly involved, and shall apply in any case in which the title to any part of the land, or its proceeds, but for this section, would or might be in this Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 8-810; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-141. When action by cotenants, etc., against cotenants, what plaintiff to prove.

If the action be by one or more tenants in common, joint tenants or coparceners against their cotenants, the plaintiff shall be bound to prove actual ouster or some other act amounting to total denial of the plaintiff's right as cotenant.

Code 1950, § 8-811; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-142. Verdict when action against several defendants.

If the action be against several defendants, and a joint possession of all be proved, and the plaintiff be entitled to a verdict, it shall be against all, whether they pleaded separately or jointly.

Code 1950, § 8-812; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-143. When there may be several judgments against defendants.

If the action be against several defendants, and it appear on the trial that any of them occupy distinct parcels in severalty or jointly, and that other defendants possess other parcels in severalty or jointly, the plaintiff may recover several judgments against them, for the parcels so held by one or more of the defendants, separately from others.

Code 1950, § 8-813; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-144. Recovery of part of premises claimed.

The plaintiff may recover any specific or any undivided part or share of the premises, though it be less than he claimed in the motion for judgment.

Code 1950, § 8-814; 1954, c. 333; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-145. When possession of part not possession of whole.

In a controversy affecting real estate, possession of part shall not be construed as possession of the whole when an actual adverse possession can be proved.

Code 1950, § 8-815; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-146. When vendee, etc., entitled to conveyance of legal title, vendor cannot recover.

A vendor, or any claiming under him, shall not, at law any more than in equity, recover against a vendee, or those claiming under him, lands sold by such vendor to such vendee, when there is a writing, stating the purchase and the terms thereof, signed by the vendor or his agent and there has been such payment or performance of what was contracted to be paid or performed on the part of the vendee, as would in equity entitle him, or those claiming under him, to a conveyance of the legal title of such land from the vendor, or those claiming under him, without condition.

Code 1950, § 8-816; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-147. When mortgagee or trustee not to recover.

The payment of the whole sum, or the performance of the whole duty, or the accomplishment of the whole purpose, which any mortgage or deed of trust may have been made to secure or effect, shall prevent the grantee, or his heirs, from recovering at law, by virtue of such mortgage or deed of trust, property thereby conveyed, whenever the defendant would in equity be entitled to a decree, revesting the legal title in him without condition.

Code 1950, § 8-817; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-148. Right of defendant to resort to equity not affected.

Whether the defendant shall or shall not make or attempt a defense under §§ 8.01-146 and 8.01-147, he shall not be precluded from resorting to equity for any relief to which he would have been entitled if such sections had not been enacted.

Code 1950, § 8-818; 1954, c. 333; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-149. Verdict when jury finds for plaintiffs or any of them.

If the jury be of opinion for the plaintiffs, or any of them, the verdict shall be for the plaintiffs, or such of them as appear to have right to the possession of the premises, or any part thereof, and against such of the defendants as were in possession thereof or claimed title thereto at the commencement of the action.

Code 1950, § 8-819; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-150. Verdict when any plaintiff has no right.

When any plaintiff appears to have no such right, the verdict as to such plaintiff shall be for the defendants.

Code 1950, § 8-820; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-151. How verdict to specify premises recovered.

When the right of the plaintiff is proved to all the premises claimed, the verdict shall be for the premises generally as specified in the motion for judgment, but if it be proved to only a part or share of the premises, the verdict shall specify such part particularly as the same is proved, and with the same certainty of description as is required in the motion for judgment.

Code 1950, § 8-821; 1954, c. 333; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-152. How verdict to specify undivided interest or share.

If the verdict be for an undivided share or interest in the premises claimed, it shall specify the same, and if for an undivided share or interest of a part of the premises, it shall specify such share or interest, and describe such part as before required.

Code 1950, § 8-822; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-153. Verdict to specify estate of plaintiff.

The verdict shall also specify the estate found in the plaintiff, whether it be in fee or for life, stating for whose life, or whether it be a term of years, and specifying the duration of such term.

Code 1950, § 8-823; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-154. When right of plaintiff expires before trial, what judgment entered.

If the right or title of a plaintiff in ejectment expire after the commencement of the suit, but before trial, the verdict shall be according to the fact, and judgment shall be entered for his damages sustained from the withholding of the premises by the defendant, and as to the premises claimed, the judgment shall be for the defendant.

Code 1950, § 8-824; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-155. How judgment for plaintiff entered.

The judgment for the plaintiff shall be, that he recover the possession of the premises, according to the verdict of the jury, if there be a verdict, or if the judgment be by default, or on demurrer, according to the description thereof in the motion for judgment.

Code 1950, § 8-825; 1954, c. 333; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-156. Authority of sheriffs, etc., to store and sell personal property removed from premises; recovery of possession by owner; disposition or sale.

In any county or city, when personal property is removed from premises pursuant to an action of unlawful detainer or ejectment, or pursuant to any other action in which personal property is removed from premises in order to restore such premises to the person entitled thereto, the sheriff shall oversee the removal of such personal property and it shall be placed in a storage area designated by the governing body of the county or city if such an area has been so designated, or, in the case of a manufactured home, at the request of the owner of the real property, to be placed into a storage area designated by the owner of the real property which may be the manufactured home lot or other location within the manufactured home park, unless the owner of such personal property then and there removes it from the public way. The sheriff and the owner of the real property shall not have any liability for the loss of any such manufactured home remaining on the manufactured home lot, nor shall they have any liability for the loss of any removed personal property.

The owner, before obtaining possession of such personal property so placed in a storage area shall pay to the parties entitled thereto the reasonable and necessary costs incidental to such removal and storage. Should such owner fail or refuse to pay such costs within 30 days from the date of placing the property in storage, the sheriff shall, after due notice to the owner and holders of liens of record, dispose of the property by publicly advertised public sale. The proceeds from such sale shall be used to pay all costs of removal, storage, and sale, all fees and liens, and the balance of such funds shall be paid to the person entitled thereto. Should the cost of removal and storage exceed the proceeds realized from such sale the county or city shall reimburse the sheriff for such excess, except that any such excess costs related to the disposal of a manufactured home shall be paid by the owner of the real property from which the manufactured home was removed. The sheriff, in his discretion, may refuse to remove or dispose of such manufactured home until the owner of the real property pays to the sheriff the estimated cost of such removal and disposition. Subsequent to disposition, the sheriff shall reimburse the owner to the extent the actual cost is less than the estimated cost, or shall request additional payment to the extent the actual cost exceeds the estimated cost.

Code 1950, § 8-825.1; 1964, c. 387; 1977, c. 617; 1992, c. 454; 1993, c. 16; 2005, c. 791; 2006, c. 129.

§ 8.01-157. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1990, c. 831, effective January 1, 1991.

§ 8.01-158. How claim of plaintiff for profits and damages assessed.

If the plaintiff file with his motion for judgment a statement of the profits and other damages which he means to demand, and the jury find in his favor, they shall, at the same time, unless the court otherwise order, assess the damages for mesne profits of the land for any period not exceeding five years previously to the commencement of the suit until the verdict, and also the damages for any destruction or waste of the buildings or other property during the same time for which the defendant is chargeable.

Code 1950, § 8-827; 1954, c. 333; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-159. When court to assess damages.

If there be no issue of fact tried in the cause, and judgment is to be rendered for the plaintiff on demurrer, or otherwise, such damages shall be assessed by the court, unless either party shall move to have them assessed by a jury, or the court shall think proper to have them so assessed, in which case a jury shall be impaneled to assess them. If the defendant is in default the court shall proceed to render judgment and assess damages as provided in Rule of Court 3:19.

Code 1950, § 8-828; 1954, c. 333; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-160. Defendant to give notice of claim for improvements.

If the defendant intends to claim allowance for improvements made upon the premises by himself or those under whom he claims, he shall file with his pleading a statement of his claim therefor, in case judgment be rendered for the plaintiff.

Code 1950, § 8-829; 1954, c. 333; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-161. How allowed.

In such case, the damages of the plaintiff, and the allowance to the defendant for improvements, shall be estimated, and the balance ascertained, and judgment therefor rendered, as prescribed in Article 15 (§ 8.01-166 et seq.) of this chapter.

Code 1950, § 8-830; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-162. Postponement of assessment and allowance.

On the motion of either party, the court may order the assessment of such damages and allowance to be postponed until after the verdict on the title is recorded.

Code 1950, § 8-831; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-163. Judgment to be conclusive.

Any such judgment in an action of ejectment shall be conclusive as to the title or right of possession established in such action, upon the party against whom it is rendered, and against all persons claiming from, through, or under such party, by title accruing after the commencement of such action, except as hereinafter mentioned.

Code 1950, § 8-832; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-164. Recovery of mesne profits, etc., not affected.

Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the plaintiff from recovering mesne profits, or damages done to the premises, from any person other than the defendant, who may be liable to such action.

Code 1950, § 8-834; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-165. Writ of right, etc., abolished.

No writ of right, writ of entry, or writ of formedon, shall be hereafter brought.

Code 1950, § 8-835; 1977, c. 617.