What Does a Warrant of Eviction Mean?
Tenants can't just be removed by anyone from a property they are inhabiting. They don't even need to be paying rent sometimes to be considered a tenant. Landlords or their agents are forced to go through the eviction process in order to remove them. This can be a lengthy 4-6 week process if every step is performed perfectly. The end result if the landlord or their agent wins, however, will be called a warrant of eviction. It is a court order that authorizes the physical removal of people and their property if necessary. Most jurisdictions allow for 3-5 business days to completely evacuate a property once the warrant is issued. Only a Sheriff's deputy or a specially designated law enforcement officer is allowed to put hands on a tenant who is refusing to move.
Warrants of Eviction Aren't Just For Rentals
Any time someone is living on a property illegally, a warrant of eviction can be sought by the rightful owner of the property. That might be a landlord, but it could be a bank that holds a mortgage as well. If the bank has filed for foreclosure and won [or any other entity owed a debt by the homeowner], if they do not move, then the eviction process must also be followed. Even if a warrant of eviction is enforced, you may be responsible for the tenant's property in some specific instances. If you are approaching the need for a full eviction, then research local landlord tenant laws to make sure you won't need to store property that isn't yours as you claim possession of your property once again.
Some Tenants Can Appeal the Warrant of Eviction
If the warrant of eviction is obtained through a default judgment, then it will be enforced unless the tenant has a legitimate excuse for missing the court date – such as not receiving a summons, a hospitalization, or other similar situation. Tenants that appear in court and lose may have the option to appeal, as do those who were forced to miss their court date. Appeals may extend for another 2-3 weeks and there are some instances when the initial ruling may be overturned. Most jurisdictions do not allow a landlord or property owner to try physically removing people. Even where they can, it is better to pursue the warrant of eviction so that you don't place yourself at risk while trying to reclaim the property that is rightfully yours.
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