I am often asked by my landlord clients, “What happens after we win the court case and receive a judgment for possession of the property? Can I immediately kick out the tenant and change the locks?” The answer is, “No.” Unfortunately, there is an additional step needed after receiving a judgment in the landlords favor for possession of the property.
Once the landlord “wins” the case and is awarded possession, nothing will actually happen unless:
- The tenant voluntarily moves (even though there is a court order against them at this point).
- The landlord takes affirmative action to obtain a Writ of Possession from the court and submit it to the sheriff for execution.
My firm assists landlords in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas with obtaining the Writ of Possession. The “Writ” must be applied for with the court. Once the Writ has been issued, it will be submitted to the sheriff.
The sheriff will post a notice on the door, giving the tenant 5 days to vacate. If the tenant does not vacate, then the sheriff will schedule a day/time to come to the property. The landlord will be notified of the day/time, but the tenant will not. The landlord will meet the sheriff at the scheduled time. When the sheriff arrives, the sheriff will remove the tenant if the tenant is still present. This process is known as the eviction sheriff lockout. At that time, the landlord will immediately want to change the locks. The tenant has no legal right to access the process after that time, without the permission of the landlord.