The eviction process will generally take at least two months from the time you are given notice to the time a court order is issued. Some evictions last much longer. Your landlord must carefully follow the eviction procedure — if a landlord takes steps on his or her own to get rid of a tenant, it can be considered an illegal eviction and the landlord may be sued by the tenant.
Step 1: Notice
- Your landlord must give you written notice of the need for you to vacate the premises.
- The amount of time required depends on the grounds for eviction (see Reasons for Eviction).
Step 2: Summons and complaint
- If you have not left the premises by the end of the notice period, your landlord can then file suit against you in the superior court of the county where the property is located.
- The court papers, called a summons and complaint, are then delivered to you by a sheriff or constable.
- Once you have received the summons and complaint, you have 21 days to respond with a written answer to the court.
Step 3: Court order
- If you fail to answer the summons and complaint, the judge can award the landlord a writ of possession, which entitles the landlord take possession of the rental no less than 14 days after the writ is issued.
- If you do answer the summons and complaint, the matter will go before a judge unless you come to a written agreement with your landlord that is filed with the court clerk.
- If the judge finds for your landlord, a writ of possession is then issued to him or her to take control of the premises.
- A sheriff serves the writ of possession on you, and if necessary can physically remove you and your belongings from the premises.