Court ordered Eviction - what do I do if they will not vacate?

18 Replies

I went to court earlier this week and the judgment was made against my tenant for non-payment of rent.  I have a court order in hand that the tenant must vacate by 4pm tomorrow.  The tenant has  been served the same papers by the court. 

I have notified the tenant that I will be there at 4pm to change the locks.

What do I do if the tenant does not leave by 4pm? 

Arrive with the sheriff at eviction.  

Ditto to what Brett stated. Drive by a few hours before to check if the tenant has already left. If not, don't show up empty handed, come with a sheriff to enforce the eviction, protect your interests, and your personal safety.

You can have the nice Sheriff escort them out of the property. Indianapolis is very landlord friendly. If you don't have a property manager that understands the landlord/tenancy laws, you'll want to familiarize yourself with them, for instance, if they leave their furniture and belongings, there are laws that dictate what you can do or not do. Be careful not to run afoul of the laws.

As an officer, please drive by first and see if it looks like they left. I hate it when people call for something and I drop the other stuff I was doing to go there and find out I'm not needed for anything. Also, don't call and say "I'll be there in 20 minutes, can you have someone meet me?" A lot can happen in 20 minutes in police work. Go to the street, park a few down if you need to in order to avoid a confrontation. Then call and ask for assistance. If you call ahead, it may take you a ton of time longer for someone to respond because they will inevitably run across something else to tie them up on purpose rather than go to your call. I've seen it done a ton of times. And make sure you have the papers with you. Police do absolutely nothing without an order in hand.

This is just a reminder why screening tenants early on is KEY!

@Dan Perrott
If the tenants are still there, then you will need to call small claims court in the township it was filed. You will want to schedule a forced move. You will not be able to get the constable to come out same day. The force move typically is scheduled 1-3 weeks out (depends on the courts schedule). They will give you a date. They will also tell you to schedule with a moving company. You have to use the company they approve. The cost is roughly $650 and you will have to pay it. You will also need to have a locksmith with you to open the door.

You will want to keep a close eye on prop. If they move before the force move date, then you can cancel the force move. If they move and you don't cancel, then the moving company will charge a dry run in the amount of $250.

Good luck...forced moves can really suck. You can add the cost of the move to the damage hearing if you requested one.

This is just for Indianapolis. Feel free to give me a call if you have further questions.

13 years as an officer and I have never heard of that. Maybe that's a city thing. I work in Fishers so i have never heard about that. If someone has a court order saying that someone is supposed to vacate by a certain day and time, we will go tell them to get out right then and watch them do it. 

Wow lots of spot on information.  Great posts.  In my state you get a writ of restitution that orders them out.  Sheriff literally takes them and their personal items and puts them in the street.  Usually will not get to that.

It is interesting to see how different process is state by state or even county or city.

In GA you do not get eviction right away. 3 day notice, no answer or rent paid then file eviction with court. They mail letter to landlord and sheriff attempts to serve notice papers.

Tenants is given 7 days to file a response. If no response filed on court date landlord can get eviction granted right away and you pay 20 bucks for a writ. File is transferred to Marshalls and when your case is assigned they call and give a date they will come out. You either use the eviction crew on the list or have your own people there to put the stuff on the curb. The Marshalls just keep the peace here and they touch nothing.

90% of the time the tenant is gone way before this happens.    

In my area once you have been granted possession and all the additional paperwork has been filed . Sherriff  has 30 days to serve tenant (usually less) calls landlord/owner/property manager and notifies you of the day & time of eviction . Show up a bit early,  park a few doors down to avoid confrontation, wait for Sherriff. When Sherriff arrives enter premises to check for tenants & personal belongings & damage, change locks/secure the windows. If tenant still have personal belongings in the property they have an additional 24 hours to contact owner/property manager to retrieve items , after 24 hours all items must go on the curb.

You can screen a tenant from here to the end of time, if tenant falls on hard times/life events there is nothing you can do to prevent it, just be on top with your paperwork/documentation so you don't lose too much time or money.

For evictions in Texas, it is similar to what everyone else is saying. After the hearing, if the tenant fails to vacate the property after the expiration of 5 days from the day of judgment was entered which is required by law, on the 6th day the landlord may request a writ of possession. A writ of possession allows the constable to oversee the move-out of the defendant(s) from the leased premises, and insure no breach of peace is violated. The writ of possession is a separate filing fee and is not included in an uncontested eviction.

@Dan Perrott  

 I see that you have received several well intending replies however please understand that eviction laws are state specific and even certain nuances are specific to your court.  Call them and find out the exact steps and proceed as early as the rules allow.  Especially during the holiday season delaying a day could mean several weeks as judges often take time off which could delay your possession of the property !

I often communicate with the tenant directly by what ever mode I deem "safe" with the "O shucks" conversation of how awful it could be if their stuff ends up at the curb(Texas) and how bad we would both feel if that happens.  If I think they might have any legal trouble I throw in " that I think the sheriff has to ID and run checks on anyone at the property" !

@Dale Hensley  

I'm referring to Marion County.....not sure about other counties in Indianapolis.  I have heard that Hamilton County does it differently and somewhat easier for the landlord.

Originally posted by @Andrea M. :

You can screen a tenant from here to the end of time, if tenant falls on hard times/life events there is nothing you can do to prevent it, just be on top with your paperwork/documentation so you don't lose too much time or money.

Absolutely right. Good tenants understand they can no longer afford to stay and don't make things worse for themselves by dragging it out through the whole process. Most tenants don't want to be evicted. Those that have been through it before, don't care. That's a part of screening you can control in advance - don't rent to those who have been evicted.

You can also call the utility company once or twice a week to see if services have been shut off. As the owner of record, they will tell you if service has been canceled or transferred; they won't tell you where. If the power is off, likely the tenants are gone. Give them proper notice to enter, either by phone or posted notice on the door, and then see if they're gone.

If the unit is empty and utilities are off, it's considered abandoned, and you have the legal right (in NJ and FL) to secure your property by changing the locks.

Thanks everyone for the input.  It went well today.  Unknown to me, the tenant moved out yesterday.  He met me at the property today to hand over the keys and garage remote.

The property is dirty but in good shape. 

@John K.   The tenant was well screened and had over 5x rent.  He lost his job and was never able to catch up with the new job.  Sometimes the tenant falls on hard times.

@Andrea M. @Aly L    I agree that cutting off the tenant for non-payment sooner is better. It's not my role to save them.  I did find out that the tenant had the water turned off at the beginning of December.  It seems like it was worse financially than what I was seeing.  All in all it should be an easy turnover.

I am now taking the opportunity to complete flooring upgrades to be ready for January 1st.  I know that finding a renter in Indianapolis is a little more difficult in January but I wasn't getting paid anyways.

Good news @Dan Perrott , glad it was a much better result than you expected. Hope the new year brings you a great tenant!


As Ashley mentioned above, in Marion County, you will need to request a force move-out and coordinate it with the Constable of the Small Claims Court in the township in which you filed the Notice of Claim of Real Estate Possession (Eviction). 

When you contact the Constable of the specific Small Claims Court to request the force move-out, you can actually use "any" moving company. However, the preferred moving company with the small claims township courts is "Republic Moving". If you use Republic Moving, the force move-out is scheduled faster and given higher priority since the Court and Constable work with them so closely as the "preferred" vendor, per se.

Once you schedule the force move-out with the Constable and the moving company, you need to contact the Clerk of the Court and request the property be "red tagged". This is an added step in the process. The Constable then goes out to the property and posts an additional notice. If the property isn't "red tagged," then the moving company can't proceed forward with the move out process. Don't forget this step. If you do, this will delay the entire process. 

Of course, none of this can be done if you haven't purchased the Writ for $13.00 from the Court. This must be done and served by the Constable at the property before the force move-out process can even begin. So immediately get the Writ from the Court.  

Tomorrow, December 19, 2014, is the last day that any move-outs are scheduled in all of the small claims township courts. The Constables in all courts will be off for the holiday schedule. 

After the beginning of the year, the entire eviction process will be slower than normal with all of the new elected judges. I have already started to the see the backlog in a number of the courts over the past month, as many of the new judges are not familiar with the process. Please keep this in mind if you are expecting something to happen fast…which, of course, this seldom happens in the legal industry.

If you have specific questions as to the eviction and damage hearing process, feel free to contact me. As a real estate attorney, I file 100s of evictions a year for my landlord clients.


Can some one tell me what I need a red tag for and what it does

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