If you’re concerned about, or imminently facing, a foreclosure in Virginia, you should educate yourself about the state’s foreclosure laws and procedures so you know exactly what will happen and how long the process will take. Below you’ll find a summary of the basic information that generally applies to most people facing foreclosure in Virginia.
Virginia foreclosures are typically nonjudicial, which means they happen outside of court and a third-party (a trustee) manages the process. Judicial foreclosures, on the flip side, go through the court system. Because the majority of foreclosures in Virginia are nonjudicial, this article focuses on that process.
Virginia law doesn't require a bank to do much to complete a nonjudicial foreclosure. The minimal steps required include: sending one preforeclosure notice and publishing a notice of the sale in the newspaper.
Required preforeclosure notice. Before a foreclosure sale can take place, the foreclosing bank or trustee must personally deliver or mail a notice of sale to the homeowner no less than 14 days before the sale.
Publication in a newspaper. The bank or trustee must also publish the notice of sale in a newspaper in the manner specified in the loan contract, though not less than once per week for two weeks or three days if published on consecutive days. If the loan agreement doesn't give publishing requirements, the notice must be published once per week for four weeks, or on five consecutive days.
Under Virginia law, the protections under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act are extended to members of the Virginia National Guard called to active duty service under Title 32 of the United States Code, or state active duty by the governor, if the active duty orders are for a period of 30 consecutive days or more. (Va. Code Ann. § 44-102.1).
"Reinstating" is when you catch up on the missed payments, plus fees and costs, to stop a foreclosure.
Virginia law doesn’t provide the borrower with a right to reinstate the loan, but the mortgage contract might provide a deadline for completing a reinstatement. You can also call your loan servicer and ask if the bank will let you reinstate.
Certain states permit you to redeem your home within a specific time period after the foreclosure. Virginia, however, doesn’t have a law providing a post-sale redemption period. So, you won’t be able to redeem the home following a foreclosure.
When the total mortgage debt exceeds the foreclosure sale price, the difference is called a "deficiency." Some states allow the foreclosing bank to seek a personal judgment, called a "deficiency judgment," against the borrower for this amount. Other states prohibit deficiency judgments with what are called anti-deficiency laws.
Virginia doesn’t have an anti-deficiency law. So, the foreclosing bank may file a separate lawsuit after the foreclosure sale to get a deficiency judgment against the borrower. (Find out how a bank collects its deficiency judgment.)
After a Virginia nonjudicial foreclosure, the purchaser that bought the home at the foreclosure sale may start a separate unlawful detainer (eviction) action. The foreclosed homeowner might get a five-day notice to quit (leave).
Virginia’s foreclosure statutes, as of October 1, 2019, can be found in the Virginia Code, Sections 55.1-320 to 55.1-345. (In 2019, Virginia’s foreclosure citations were renumbered from Sections 55-59 through 55-66.6 to Sections 55.1-320 through 55.1-345.) If you need help finding them, see Finding Your State’s Foreclosure Laws.
If you have questions about the foreclosure process in Virginia or want to learn about potential defenses to a foreclosure, consider talking to a foreclosure lawyer. It’s also a good idea to make an appointment to speak to a HUD-approved housing counselor, especially if you want to learn about different loss mitigation options.