During the past few months, we have seen extensive delays in the Michael Antonovich Antelope Valley (Lancaster) courthouse when it comes to processing unlawful detainer eviction cases. This has been especially true post-trial, after the landlord wins the case and obtains a judgment for possession. In particular, the clerks of the court have been unreasonably slow in issuing a Writ of Possession. A Writ of Possession in required by the sheriff to enforce the judgment and perform the lockout. So, in effect, by taking so long to issue a Writ of Possession, the clerks of the Michael Antonovich Antelope Valley (Lancaster) courthouse are delaying unreasonably the enforcement of the judgment by not timely issuing the Writ.
There is no excuse for the clerks to take 3-5 weeks to issue a Writ of Possession. When the clerk receives a Writ of Possession, it is already pre-filled out by the landlord or the landlord’s counsel. To officially issue the Writ of Possession, the clerk needs to verify that the judgment is for possession of the property in the landlord’s favor, enter the information into the court’s computer system, and stamp the Writ of Possession. This is a process that at most takes no more than 10 minutes of time.
To give context, the Los Angeles county courts used to issue a Writ of Possession over the counter. This means the clerk would issue the writ and hand it back to the landlord or his agent immediately. Other courts, such as those in Ventura county, still do that. Landlords are able to get the writ of possession while they wait at the courthouse, within just a few minutes.
Today, other courts in Los Angeles county, while they no longer issue writs over the counter, will promptly process writs normally within a few days of having received it for processing. This timeframe is reasonable and acceptable.
But, Lancaster court is a different story. We have been seeing the clerks in Lancaster take 3-5 weeks to issue a writ of possession, which, by personal knowledge, we know only takes a few minutes to process. By allowing this huge processing delay, the tenant receives several weeks more time in the landlord’s rental property, even after the landlord won the case and obtained judgment.
We encourage you to contact the court and put pressure to have writs issued in a timely and reasonable manner.
If you are a landlord, we offer a free consultation on most cases.