What is the Next Step for a Landlord after Obtaining a Judgment for Possession?

As a conscientious and understanding landlord you gave your tenant every last chance that was possible. You tried to work with them informally and then you sent formal letters or notices detailing their noncompliant acts and asking them to stop. Without any other option and even though it gave you no pleasure to do so, you filed a lawsuit against the tenant to regain possession of your premises. Then, even in the courthouse on your day of trial you were more than willing to meet with a mediator and attempt to bridge the gap and work things out. But, the tenant wanted to play hardball and, hence, the landlord-tenant matter proceeded to trial.

At trial, your attorney presented your case by providing photos, letters, contracts and other documents that showed the acts that gave rise to the eviction complaint. You even had a few tenants who were willing to appear in court as witnesses on your behalf. Each of the witnesses backed up your claims. Faced with overwhelming evidence in favor of the landlord’s position, the court issued judgment for possession.

However, this judgement for possession does not automatically remove the tenant from the premises. Additional legal steps must be taken before the landlord will have his or her situation resolved. Uncertainty or mistakes made during this process can invite a countersuit or result in having to start again from the beginning of the process.  The experienced landlord-tenant attorneys of the Jayson Law Group are dedicated to assisting landlords with difficult legal issues.

What is the next step for a landlord after obtaining judgment against a tenant?

Landlords may be surprised to find that obtaining a judgment for possession from a judge does not entitle them to immediate possession and control of the covered premises. Rather, the landlord must then engage in another legal process to actually remove the tenant from the premises. That is, once the judgment for possession has been obtained, the landlord must – generally within 30 days — file an application with the Clerk of the Special Civil Part to obtain a warrant of removal. A warrant of removal costs $35 and is also subject to mileage fees per the mileage traveled by the Special Civil Part officer. If the officer must return to the property or location additional times, additional mileage fees will apply.

A warrant of removal cannot be issued until at least three days have elapsed since the judgement for possession was ordered. The actual day where the parties appeared in court is not included in this count. Once the warrant for removal is issued, the Special Civil Part Officer is require to allow all residential tenants 3 business days to remove all personal property and individuals from the premises. It is essential to note that weekends and holidays are also not included in this accounting for time so landlords must be sure that they do not take action before it is ripe. However, commercial tenants are not entitled to the three-day move out period. In the case of commercial tenants, the Special Civil Part officer may serve the warrant for removal and evict simultaneously.

If a tenant refuses to vacate the premises after the three day move-out period has elapsed, the landlord must contact the Special Civil Part officer to arrange a lock-out or eviction. The landlord will pay a reasonable fee not to exceed $50 for these services along with covering the officer’s mileage. However, the tenant may attempt to convince the court to permit them to stay despite the judgment against them. In other words the tenant may request a hardship stay, request an Order for Orderly Removal, and attempt to vacate the underlying possession judgment, or take other action that will delay their removal from the premises. In situations like these, an experienced and strategic lawyer can make the difference between having to retain a problem tenant for up to another 6 months and an efficient solution to the problem.

Landlords, Rely on the Jayson Law Group

The Jayson Law Group is committed to protecting the rights of landlords throughout New Jersey. We can respond to litigation filed by a tenant or file an action on to protect your business and its assets. To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation call 908-768-3633 or contact us online today.

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