What Does Writ of Possession Mean?

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A writ of possession is a court order granting tangible property back to the possession of a landlord. Usually a dwelling, the writ is delivered by a sheriff and requires a tenant to vacate within a short amount of time.


The motion for ordering the writ of possession is granted after the landlord wins an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. Circumstances may include non-payment of rent or breach of lease. The writ must be filed within a certain amount of time, depending upon state laws. After the landlord files, the writ of possession is served by the sheriff.


The sheriff posts the writ of possession order on the front door of the dwelling, ordering the tenant to remove all persons and belongings within a short time frame. Once the time frame expires, the sheriff is then authorized to physically remove all persons from the dwelling. This is known as Execution of Writ. Depending upon the state, the tenant may file an Emergency Motion to Stay Writ of Possession within the time frame to ask for a court hearing.

Time Frames

In Florida and Texas, tenants must remove persons and belongings within 24 hours of being served the writ of possession. California allows tenants five days to remove all items, and belongings may be stored by the landlord for a small fee if agreed upon. Tenants in Georgia have seven days to remove all persons and belongings.

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