When a landlord brings an eviction action, whether it is a non-payment action or a hold-over, and is successful, he or she will be awarded a landlord-tenant judgment. A landlord-tenant judgment is a judgment of possession. In other words, it awards the landlord possession of the premises. It can also include a monetary judgment for back rent. All judgments are enforced by the county sheriff.
A successful landlord will also be awarded a warrant of eviction. A warrant of eviction is an order to the county sheriff to physically remove the tenant from the premises and restore possession to the landlord. The sheriff will execute the warrant of eviction by first serving a seventy-two-hour notice on the tenant, which tells the tenant he or she has three days to leave voluntarily or the sheriff may return and physically remove them. If the tenant fails to comply with the seventy-two-hour notice, the sheriff will return and physically remove the tenant and his or her belongings and will put the landlord back in possession of the premises.
The landlord-tenant judgment and warrant of eviction are the relief a landlord seeks in his or her petition. But these papers are not given to the landlord automatically. When a landlord is awarded this relief by the landlord-tenant judge, the landlord must then submit a request to the clerk of the court to have the judgment and warrant prepared and given to the judge to sign. After the judge signs them, he or she returns the judgment and warrant to the clerk, who will then mail them to the landlord. From that point, the court is no longer involved and it is up to the landlord to contact the sheriff to have the judgment enforced and the warrant executed.
Landlord-tenant law is complex and you should always use the services of an experienced landlord-tenant attorney when trying to evict someone. Your landlord-tenant attorney will take care of everything related to the judgment and warrant for you, i.e., he or she will draft a proposed judgment and warrant, submit them to the court, and will make sure you have a proper judgment and warrant of eviction suitable for the sheriff to act on. Your landlord-tenant attorney will also make sure you have proper and precise instructions on where you must go and what you must do to have your judgment enforced and your warrant executed, and will guide you through the process.