The Eviction Process

The eviction process usually involves three phases:

  1. A notice is given to the tenant.

  2. If the tenant does not comply with the notice then litigation is started by hand-delivery of a complaint for unlawful detainer.

  3. The case is resolved through settlement or by entry of a judgment by the court.  Frequently this takes less than a month.

  4. If the landlord prevails, the court issues a "writ of restitution," which is an order to the sheriff to evict the tenant.  The court may additionally grant a money judgment.


The eviction process may terminate at any phase, depending upon the circumstances. For example, the tenant may comply with the notice by vacating the premises. Or, the parties may reach a settlement after the lawsuit has commenced, usually including an agreement by the tenant to vacate the premises and often including an arrangement regarding unpaid rent, court costs, and attorney's fees. The process may be resolved within two-to-six weeks or up to approximately four months, depending upon the type of the notice given and whether the tenant contests the lawsuit.


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