What happens in a California eviction case after the landlord receives a judgment awarding possession of the property?


David PiotrowskiI am frequently asked by clients what happens after the landlord receives a judgment for possession of the property. This blog post will explain the process to regain possession of your property after receiving a judgment for possession. This post will not discuss collecting on a money judgment (for example, to collect unpaid rent).

After the landlord “wins” the case and receives a judgment awarding possession of the property, the landlord does not automatically and immediately regain possession of the rental unit. The landlord must take further steps to regain actual possession of the rental unit. Here is an outline of what needs to be done.

  • Once the judgment for possession of the property is awarded to the landlord, the landlord must wait for the judgment to be entered into the court system.
  • After the judgment awarding possession is entered into the court system, the landlord can pay a fee and apply for a Writ of Possession from the court. The landlord may be able to wait for the court clerk to process this Writ immediately, or the landlord may have to wait and come back to the court later to receive the signed Writ of Possession.
  • The landlord should take the Writ of Possession to the proper sheriff office with the required number of copies.
  • The sheriff will require a payment. Once payment is received, the sheriff will process the Writ of Possession and post a 5 day notice on the property.
  • After the 5 day period elapses, the sheriff will set a “lock-out” date. The landlord will be notified of the date and time of the lock-out, but the tenant will not.
  • The landlord will need to be present to meet the sheriff at the rental unit at the scheduled lock-out time.
  • The lock-out is when legal possession returns to the owner of the house. The landlord should immediately change the locks at this time.

The amount of time it takes for the actual lock-out to occur depends on many factors. Landlords can expect an average of 2-4 weeks between the time of receiving a judgment awarding possession of the property and the time of the actual lock-out.

Read David Piotrowski’s “Landlord Best Practices and Eviction Overview” book. If you need help with an evictioncontact us today.

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