The first step in an eviction is to give the tenant notice of their violation of the lease, whether it be for nonpayment of rent or violation of a covenant of the lease (e.g., trash all over, illegal activity or too many occupants). It is important to have a proper form of notice provided by a knowledgeable source with up-to-date information.
After the proper notice has been served on the tenant, and the notice term has expired (their time is up), then you need to file a complaint with the correct court. One the Complaint is filed and the Summons issued by the Court Clerk, then it needs to be served by a registered process server. You can have your best friend or his buddy serve it if they are over 18 years old and not a party to the action, but would it really be worth it if they didn't properly serve the tenant and then the tenant filed a Motion to Quash the Service of the Summons? Also, a registered process server will be willing to appear in court for you if he/she is needed. Would your friend or his buddy do that?
When it's time for a response to be due (either 5 or 15 days after service either personally on the tenant(s) or by substituted service), then you call the court to see what the tenant has done. If they have filed an answer, then you set the case for trial and get ready to go to court. If they haven't done anything, then you prepare your default papers and file them with the court. At that time, the court enters the default, gives you a judgment for possession only and issues your Writ of Execution.
The next trip is to the Sheriff. The Sheriff will need Sheriff Instructions, money and the issued Writ of Execution. The Sheriff then will post a Notice to Vacate on the door of the tenant within two business days of receipt of your papers, and that Notice to Vacate will give the tenant approximately six days to get out. If the tenant doesn't get out by the vacate date, then the Landlord will call the Sheriff for his scheduled lockout date, which will only be given to the Landlord or the Landlord's attorney or legal aid, regarding the time the Sheriff is scheduled to be at the property for the lockout. You will need to appear at the property to meet the Sheriff at the door for the lockout. At that time, you'll let the Sheriff in, he'll escort the tenants out if necessary, and you'll change the locks right then and there. The Sheriff will then give you a Writ of Possession to prove that FINALLY YOU ARE THE OWNER AND IN POSSESSION OF YOUR PROPERTY AGAIN!
As you can see, it is a long and arduous task to get possession back once you have given it away. Also, if at any time you slip up and don't dot your i's or cross your t's, the court will slap you hard and possibly make you start over.
Like I said, I'm here to make all this simple because I know how. What shall we discuss on our next blog> How about tenant's rights after foreclosure? Stay tuned . . .