Unlawful Detainer Stay of Execution Due to Hardship Under CCP 918 in California


In California, a landlord who wins an unlawful detainer case (eviction) and receives a judgment for possession of the rental property has the right to seek enforcement of the judgment through execution on a Writ of Possession. If a landlord acts swifly, and depending on current court and sheriff processing times, the time from obtaining a judgment for possession against the tenant and actually having the sheriff perform the lockout can take about 2-3 weeks on average…


…your tenant files with the court a motion for an unlawful detainer stay of execution due to hardship under California Code of Civil Procedure 918(a), and the court grants the tenant’s motion.

CCP 918(a) simply says the following:

…the trial court may stay the enforcement of any judgment or order.

What this means in the California unlawful detainer setting is that a court has the discretion, but not the obligation, to delay the lockout even after the landlord has received a judgment for possession of the property, if the tenant can convince the court that there would be extreme hardship if the lockout was not delayed. This would be in the form of a tenant declaration stating facts relating to the hardship.

An eviction stay of execution due to hardship under CCP 918 in California may be granted if the tenant satisfies the court that extreme hardship would occur but for the temporary delay. A landlord should oppose the  motion and specify why the stay would be prejudicial and harmful to the landlord.

If a landlord receives a notice regarding a court hearing for a stay of execution due to hardship under CCP 918, oftentimes this will be in the form of an “ex parte” motion and the landlord will only receive notice the day before the hearing. This notice may be nothing more than a telephone call notifying the landlord of the date and time of the hearing. If a landlord receives notice of such a hearing for a stay of execution due to hardship under CCP 918, the landlord should act immediately and hire an attorney to assist. A good landlord attorney will often agree to a short stay of one week in exchange for an agreement that the tenant will not seek any further stays or delays in the case.

Furthermore, a landlord attorney should request that if a stay of execution due to hardship under CCP 918 is granted, the tenant ought to be ordered to pay rent during the stay period (but not on payment of all back rent owed).

Read David Piotrowski’s “Landlord Best Practices and Eviction Overview” book. If you need help with an eviction in Southern California, contact us today. Also, be sure to check out our reviews! We look forward to serving you. We offer a free consultation on most cases. Your swift action is important, especially when you receive notice that your tenant will be requesting a stay of execution due to hardship under California CCP 918.

Note: There are other methods of delaying execution on a judgment in addition to the tenant’s motion for a stay of execution due to hardship. Those topics will be covered in other blog articles.

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