So, the landlord has served a notice, waited the notice period, filed a lawsuit, went to court, and had a trial. At the end of the trial, the court awarded the plaintiff-landlord an “order for possession”. The order for possession is a court order granting possession of the real estate that is the subject of the forcible entry and detainer lawsuit back to the landlord. It means the landlord “won” the case and is entitled to recover possession of his real property.
So, the landlord can set up a locksmith and start changing the locks? Not so fast. The eviction order is usually “stayed” for some period of time after it is entered. In most Cook County evictions, the stay period is about one or two weeks. Call the locksmith after the stay period has expired? Nope. Not yet. Not by a longshot.
After the stay period expires, the landlord may place the order for possession with the Sheriff of Cook County for enforcement. All eviction orders are filed at the Sheriff’s Eviction Office (for the first district, that’s in room 701 of the Richard J. Daley Center). Landlords placing an eviction for enforcement need to provide two certified copies and two additional copies of the Order for possession at the time of filing. Certified copies can be obtained from the clerk’s office on the sixth floor of the Daley Center. The Sheriff also requires landlords to fill out and sign an “informational form” at that time.
The Sheriff performs evictions based on the geographical location of the property where the eviction will take place and on the order of filing with the Sheriff. It is rare to know any more than a few days in advance when an eviction order will be enforced. Sometimes a Sheriff’s officer will call on the day of or day before or the day of the eviction. The Sheriff’s website lists the Sheriff’s eviction schedule.
Years ago, the Sheriff used to remove the tenant’s possessions to the curb. The Sheriff “streamlined” its procedures a few years back. Now, on the day of the eviction, the landlord must have a representative present outside of the property to “greet” the Sheriff and provide access to the property. The Sheriff will pull up in a patrol car and wait to be approached by the landlord’s greeter. The Sheriff will then remove all occupants from the premises but no longer removes their personal property. The landlord must give the tenant an opportunity to remove the property before removing it to the curb. The Sheriff will then post a “no trespassing” sign on the door. At this point, finally, a landlord can change the locks.