Get a Tenant to Move With a Writ of Possession

Court Ordered Move Out

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Sometimes, taking a tenant to court is the only way to get them to move out. If you win an eviction judgment against a tenant in court, you will be awarded a writ of possession. Learn how this order can force a tenant to move out of the rental.

Evicting a Tenant

Tenants will not always follow the terms of their lease agreement. When a tenant violates their lease and does not respond to a notice to quit the behavior, as a landlord, unfortunately, sometimes the only way to get a tenant to move out of their rental is to file to evict the tenant in court.

  • Nonpayment of Rent- This is the most common reason to evict a tenant. Paying rent is one of a tenant's most basic obligations. If the tenant does not pay the rent, the landlord has the right to get them to move.
  • Continually Paying Rent Late- In many states, consistently paying rent late is a reason you can file to evict a tenant. For rent to be considered late, the rent would have to be paid after any grace period that the state law requires or that the landlord has included in the lease. 
  • Damaging the Property- If a tenant causes significant damage to the property, you can file for an eviction. The court will examine the evidence to determine if this damage is in excess of normal wear and tear.
  • Disrupting the Peace of Other Tenants- Landlord have the right to evict tenants who are disrupting other tenants in the building. The landlord will usually have to serve the tenant with at least one notice to quit the behavior before being allowed to file for an eviction.
  • Using the Property for Illegal Purposes- Illegal use of the property is another valid reason for eviction. For example, if a tenant decides to run a hair salon out of their apartment, the landlord can file to get the tenant to move.

If you have a valid reason to evict the tenant, and the tenant has not responded to the notice to quit, you can file to evict the tenant in court. The court will set a date and send notice of the eviction proceedings to both landlord and tenant. If either party fails to appear in court, the other party will automatically win.

What Is a Writ of Possession?

A writ of possession is issued after a landlord wins an eviction case in court. A writ of possession can also be called a writ of eviction. This order allows a person or group to take possession of real property by forcing the person or group currently in possession of the property out. 

The court has ruled in favor of the landlord and the tenant no longer has the right to live in the rental property because he or she has violated the lease agreement. The tenant must move so that the landlord can rent out the rental unit again.

Example:

A writ of possession was issued after Chris won an eviction lawsuit against his tenant, Mary. Mary has three days to move out of the rental property. If she does not move, a writ of restitution will be ordered. 

Forcible Move With a Writ of Restitution

After a writ of possession has been issued, a tenant will usually have a certain number of days to move out of the rental property. If the tenant does not move out willingly, he or she will forcibly be removed from the premises.

The landlord can request a writ of restitution. The U.S. Marshall or Sheriff will post notice on the tenant's door, giving them a certain amount of time to remove their possessions and to vacate the property. The amount of time given will vary by state and city, however, 24 to 48 hours to vacate is common. If the tenant does not move out by the deadline, the sheriff or other law enforcement official will forcibly remove the tenant from the property and lock them out.

Screening Tenants to Avoid Eviction

Having a solid tenant screening process can help minimize the chances of tenant eviction.You need to ask the right questions and perform the right checks. There may be a fee to run a credit or background check, but this amount of money will be far less than all of the costs associated with placing the wrong tenant in the property and having to evict them.

You should ask tenant qualifying questions such as:

  • Expected Move-In Date
  • Number of People Living in the Apartment
  • Yearly Income
  • If They Have Any Rental Assistance, Such As Section 8
  • Whether They Have Any Pets

The checks you should run include:

  • A Background Check
  • A Credit Check
  • A Check to Verify Employment
  • Calling Former Landlords to Inquire About History of Evictions