Getting a Tenant Out: What Needs To Be Done?

The process of getting a tenant out of a rental unit must always be done through a formal court process, known as eviction (referred to as “summary process” in court). Any attempt to get rid of a tenant without court involvement (commonly known as a “self-help eviction) is highly problematic and will get a landlord into enormous trouble.

Here, I’ll discuss the process of getting a tenant out of a rental apartment, following an eviction proceeding.

Obtaining an Execution for Possession

The goal in every eviction case is to obtain possession of the rental unit. To do so, a landlord must get an execution for possession, which is the court document that allows for the removal of a tenant from the rental property.

A landlord can generally obtain an execution for possession in two ways.

First, a landlord can enter into an agreement with a tenant for possession of the rental unit, where the landlord is allowed to obtain the execution by a given deadline. Such options are generally the best for landlords and tenants, as it allows both parties to reach an amicable resolution to the matter.

A landlord can similarly obtain an execution for possession after trial if the court agrees that the landlord is entitled to possession of the rental unit. If the landlord succeeds in such a case, and the tenant does not appeal, the landlord will obtain the execution.

Levying an Execution for Possession

The process of using the execution to obtain possession of the rental unit is commonly known as levying the execution. To do so, the landlord must have the original execution from the court. A landlord must levy the execution no later than ninety days after the court has issued it.

Practical Implications

A landlord is strictly prohibited from moving a tenant out on their own. Rather, a landlord must use a constable or sheriff for this process. The constable or sheriff, in turn, must use a bonded moving company for the removal of the tenant’s possessions from the rental unit and store such items in an approved storage location.

This process is not cheap. In my experience, levying an execution can easily cost between $3,000 – $5,000.

For this reason, landlords (and tenants) should always aim to avoid this end of the eviction process, whenever possible. This experience isn’t pleasant for either party, and both sides are always better avoiding it altogether.

If you need assistance with a legal matter, contact me for a consultation.