Once an agreement has been entered to rent a property to a tenant, then that becomes a contract whether verbal or written. At that point the tenant becomes the legal possessor of the property. Landlords are then not allowed to enter the property or dwelling without the permission of the tenant. Some contracts allow the landlord to enter once notice has been given. This is allowed unless the tenant refused to let the landlord in to inspect the residence. This becomes a breech of the contract and could lead to the eviction of the tenant. The landlord could be charged with breaking and entering or trespassing if they remain after being asked to leave by the tenants.
In order to evict a tenant the landlord must follow certain steps unless all parties come to an agreement and the tenants leave voluntarily. The steps are as follows:
- Give the tenants at least a 10 day vacate notice.
- Go to the Clerk’s office and file for a summary ejectment. You can check the Clerk’s website for the current fee amount.
- Come to your scheduled court date. This is a court hearing and you need to be prepared to defend or prove your case.
- If you win your case, there will be a 10 day appeal waiting period so that the tenants/ landlord can file the appeal.
- At the end of the 10 days, if no appeal is filed and the tenants have not left voluntarily, then the landlord must return to the Clerk’s office and pay the fee required to obtain a Writ of Possession. This is the court order that is delivered to the Sheriff to actually do the eviction.
- Once the order is received by the Sheriff’s office, the Sheriff must serve the order within a certain number of days. The Sheriff has some statutory obligations he must meet prior to the eviction, so our policy is the eviction is usually set on the last day.
- On the date and time of the eviction, the plaintiff must have someone meet the Sheriff at the residence. If no one shows up, the Sheriff will return the paper unserved.
- The plaintiff should come prepared to change the locks and be able to secure the residence.
- If personal property is left on the property, the landlord must either store the property at their expense off site for 7 days or leave it secured on the property for 7 days. The tenants have the right to request their property within the 7 day period. The landlord must make arrangements to allow the tenants to get their property. The tenants will not be allowed back in the property once the eviction is complete without the permission of the landlord or they could be charged with breaking and entering.
- At the end of the 7 days the landlord may dispose of the property as the law allows.
- If you have questions about this process, you will need to contact an attorney. The Sheriff’s Office cannot give legal advice.