Blogs by PROD: What is a Writ of Possession
Do you want access to this blog on “Blogs by PROD: What is a Writ of Possession”? Join our Facebook group “Legal Educational Material, Programs, and Community Support Group” if you want to see this blog, get legal answers, and much more. https://www.facebook.com/groups/660588451199619
IntroA writ of possession is an order from the Court to assist a property owner with recovering possession of their property, real estate or even personal. This blog will primarily focus on its use in the context of eviction proceedings, otherwise known as an unlawful detainer. Please note that this writing will be specific to California so it will not necessarily be 100% applicable in every state.
Writ of PossessionOne of these writs of possession are most commonly issued after a judgment is entered in favor of the property owner in an unlawful detainer action and the subject occupant refuses to leave. The step of having to resort to a writ of possession is something that may come up only later into the process. At that time you would have already gone through the steps of sending/receiving a Notice to Quit (request to leave the property), a formal complaint/case has been filed with the court, and the court has given a judgement in favor of the landlord, ie. eviction. For many tenants, the process never reaches this stage because they agree/comply with leaving the property earlier.
Essentially, the purpose of a writ of possession is to enforce an unlawful detainer judgment for possession. At the point, the court has already ordered the tenant to leave so by staying they are in violation of court order, i.e. engaging in illegal activity and are in contempt of court. In that situation, the property owner (or their attorney) can download the applicable court form from online and submit a written application to the Court to request that it issue the writ of possession. This ensures compliance with all of the statutory requirements because the writ basically gives the levying officer authority to take the necessary steps to lock out the unlawful occupant. The levying officer is usually the sheriff for the county where the property is located.
Once the writ is issued, the landlord or property owner will send the writ of possession and instructions to the levying officer to take the necessary steps to evict the current occupant. These steps include among them levying the writ of possession by serving a copy of the writ on the occupants and then physically locking out the occupants if they do not leave. The writ expires 180 days after its issuance date.
Once served with this final notice, tenants have five days to vacate the premises. At this point, it is very inadvisable to continue to linger on the property. If this is your situation, you should begin packing and be prepared to leave by the deadline. This way you can make best use of the time and get all your belongings out. If you fail to do so, you will be locked out on the deadline regardless. There is also usually a statutory period of time after the lockout to recover personal possessions, though this may result in the occupant incurring storage charges from the landlord.