If a judgment in the Eviction Process(unlawful detainer lawsuit) is entered against you and becomes final (for example, if you do not appeal or if you lose on appeal), and you do not move out, the court will issue a writ of possession to the landlord.323 The landlord can deliver this legal document to the sheriff, who will then forcibly evict you from the rental unit if you don’t leave promptly.
Before evicting you, the sheriff will serve you with a copy of the writ of possession.324 The writ of possession instructs you that you must move out by the end of the fifth day after the writ is served on you, and that if you do not move out, the sheriff will remove you from the rental unit and place the landlord in possession of it.325 The cost of serving the writ of possession will be added to the other costs of the suit that the landlord will collect from you.
After you are served with the writ of possession, you have five days to move. If you have not moved by the end of the fifth day, the sheriff will return and physically remove you.326 If your belongings are still in the rental unit, the sheriff may either remove them or have them stored by the landlord, who can charge you reasonable storage fees. If you do not reclaim these belongings within 18 days, the landlord can mail you a notice to pick them up, and then can either sell them at auction or keep them (if their value is less than $300).327 If the sheriff forcibly evicts you, the sheriff’s cost will also be added to the judgment, which the landlord can collect from you.
323 Code of Civil Procedure Section 715.010.
324 Code of Civil Procedure Section 715.020.
325 Code of Civil Procedure Section 715.010(b)(2).
326 Code of Civil Procedure Section 715.020(c).
327 Code of Civil Procedure Sections 715.030, 1174(h); Civil Code Sections 1965, 1988. See the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Legal Guides LT-4, “How to Get Back Possessions You Have Left in a Rental Unit,” and LT-5, “Options for a Landlord: When a Tenant’s Personal Property has Been Left in the Rental Unit.” These Legal Guides are available on the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Web site, www.dca.ca.gov.