Duties of the Landlord “set-out” 8.01–470 and 8.01–156
The responsibilities of the landlord vary and are specific to the type of eviction to be performed.
Arrive on time. The Deputy will wait about ten minutes if the landlord is running late. However, after ten minutes the Deputy will leave the scene. Communication is key here. Let the Sheriff's Office know if there is an emergency situation. The Deputy will try to work with the landlord but he will not wait any longer than ten minutes if we have not heard from the landlord.
Do not enter the property before the deputy arrives. Entering before the Deputy arrives will result in the Sheriff canceling the Writ and no performance of the eviction. This is done to ensure both the landlord's safety and the safety of the Deputy, but moreover, to limit liability to the Sheriff and the landlord by false accusations made by disgruntled tenants. If the landlord starts moving property out before the Deputy arrives, he cannot ensure the eviction has been done in a lawful manner and will back out, stating the landlord has taken action without the assistance of the Sheriff.
Any knowledge the landlord has about the tenant is helpful to the Deputy. It is important for the Sheriff to know if the tenant may have any weapons in the dwelling, or if the tenant has been arrested for assault, or believed to be dealing drugs. Incidental information, such as inoperative cars, pets, waterbeds, and juveniles left alone is important because they can prolong the eviction and may necessitate additional preparation by the landlord, the Sheriff, or animal control. If the landlord knows the tenant has changed the locks, the landlord may want to have a locksmith available at the appointed time.
The landlord must supply sufficient personnel (movers) to allow speedy removal of the property. The deputy, at his discretion, can postpone the eviction for lack of sufficient personnel. If the eviction is postponed for lack of sufficient personnel, the landlord will be required to pay additional fees for the service of the new 72 hours notice. We usually recommend at least three to five people depending upon the amount of property inside. It is the landlord's responsibility to remove the property. The Deputy is there only to maintain peace and to protect the public from harmful objects.
The wise landlord should come prepared with tools (hammer, screwdrivers, etc.) and boxes or bags in which to place loose items. Dangerous household hazardous materials or chemicals will not be placed to the curb and it will be the duty of the landlord to properly dispose of those materials at a designated landfill. Other objects which could be considered dangerous to the public and anything of real value will be confiscated by the Deputy and brought into the office after inventory of the items, (i.e., guns, knives, pornographic materials, money, expensive jewelry, and prescription medication.)
While the Code of Virginia does not require the landlord to change the locks after completion of the eviction, the landlord may want to consider doing so. There have been several occasions, where after the property has been placed to the public right-of-way, the tenant has come back and moved everything back in.