What happens after getting an order for possession?

moving day for evicted tenantsSo, 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.

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46 Responses to What happens after getting an order for possession?

  1. Dan Wong says:

    Do you think the landlord can keep the deposit after the sheriff evicts since the tenant has stayed in the rental for a few months after the order by the judge was entered without paying rent?

    • Richard Magnone says:

      There may be situations where a landlord has a right to retain some or all of a deposit after an eviction. However, a deposit in a residential lease is not something to be “forfeited” upon default and, of course, in municipalities like Evanston and Chicago, care must be taken in the manner in which a deposit is withheld. I can’t provide any blanket answer based on your facts.

  2. Penko says:

    Hi Richard,

    Do you know what’s the current time-frame for a Cook County eviction?
    I won against my tenant on Nov. 2nd. Her stay expired Nov. 23rd, but she has not left. I placed the order with the Sheriff on Nov. 26th, and they told me around 3 weeks. I am looking at the schedule daily, and it seems they are only doing evictions in the City and South suburbs.
    My property is in Glenview.


    • Richard Magnone says:

      It is impossible to know the exact timing. It depends on the current caseload of the Sheriff in general, the demand for evictions in a certain area, and when the request to evict was made. As you can probably tell from looking at the schedule, sometimes the Sheriff is in the city and sometimes the suburbs. There’s really no way to know where your case is on the Sheriff’s list. (For example, there could just be a high number of Des Plaines evictions pending and it might take the Sheriff a few turns through the cycle to get to it).

  3. Karen says:

    I know you don’t work with people like me ,but maybe you can answer a question for me anyway. I will be evicted from the home I lost due to foreclosure on the 1-3-13 is there anyway to get an extension

    • Richard Magnone says:

      Without knowing your facts, I really can’t help except to say that there are sometimes good and justified reasons to request an extension of a stay of eviction. You really need to consult with a tenant defense attorney on this one.

  4. Joan says:

    I am waiting for the sheriff to pay a visit and finalize this eviction. How long am I obligated to hold the former tenant’s belongings? Of course I will allow him to take everything that is his, but I need it all out as soon as possible.

    • Richard Magnone says:

      There is not much law on this issue, so you need to tread lightly. In most cases, the rule of thumb is 24 hours. That said, if the tenant has any property of significant value, you could find yourself with a suit against you for disposing of it. Best practices would dictate taking photos of the tenant’s “stuff” and working with the tenant to get the stuff out of there within a reasonable amount of time.

  5. Baron says:

    First, thank you for this website. I’ve gotten a lot of good info on here.

    Quick question. The order of possession was granted by the judge and the “stay” period for the tenant just expired. If the tenant is still not out, do I need to file the order with the sheriff or can I personally do this? And am I allowed to change the locks now? Thank you in advance.

    • Richard Magnone says:

      When the stay period expires, you must place the order for possession for execution with the Sheriff. A landlord may never engage in “self-help”! I recently wrote a post on this topic because landlords can be confused by all of the procedure surrounding the placement of the order.

  6. If the village police come and allow the alleged (although fraudulent because they f orged a signature on a supposed change in a trust document) owner of the property to change the lock and lock a person out, can the village police be sued for wrongful conveyance, trespass, aiding and abetting or something like that?

    • Richard Magnone says:

      Possibly. Your fact scenario sounds quite complex. You should contact a tenant’s rights attorney at once to preserve any rights you may have.

  7. lisa says:

    Hi i went to court on 2-7-13 the judgement amount was dismissed so we schedule a move out date 3-7-13 order of possesion .. so i moved out by 3-6-13 landlord said everything is fine leave keys on the counter.. when i checked my records there is a judgement amount of $3060 & order of possesion on my records… What steps will i have to do to remove off records… I live in chicago,il… My schedule day was 3-7-13 & i moved out a few days b4

  8. Kimber Allen says:

    As the tenant my order of possession was stayed until April 30th. I cant move into my new place until May 5th. In general is one week enough time for the sheriff to come out? Should I put my things in storage for 5 days? I dont want to come home to my things on the curb.

    • Richard Magnone says:

      When a judge grants an order for possession, the judge will commonly “stay” (meaning delay) the enforcement of the order until a certain date. After that date, the order can be delivered to the Sheriff for enforcement and the Sheriff can enforce at any time thereafter.

  9. Martin says:

    I am so confused with this order for possesion, the people have moved but have not given me a key, when can I enter the apartment? Also the security deposit, they have not paid rent in three months, do I get to keep deposit?

    • Richard Magnone says:

      All good questions. The turnover of possession is a question of fact and it can give landlords fits. Security deposits can be held for back rent and damage provided the lease allows for it and the state and local law is complied with including the interest rate laws. In Chicago and many other municipalities, security deposits are not forfeited as “penalty” as a result of a lease breach, but in many cases, a landlord can keep them.

      I don’t know any of your facts, so I can’t provide any specific answer.

  10. Richard Cooke says:

    We are a small condo with one deadbeat owner. We just got an order of possession along with a judgement and something to assign the rent. However the person living there doesn’t pay rent. What happens now? Our lawyer is evasive, telling us what happened but not explaining.

    • Richard Magnone says:

      Richard, because you are represented, I can’t really provide you with legal advice. My best suggestion is to talk to your current legal counsel and get advice from him or her.

  11. Zoe Oberfeld says:

    I won against my tenant on AUG. 2nd. Tenant stay expired Aug. 23rd, but they not left. I placed the order with the Sheriff on Aug. 2th, and they told me around 3 weeks and to check eviction schedule on line. On AUG.20th we called to Sheriff’s
    office and have been told that our case “on hold” due to new court on AUG 22nd
    filed by our tenant. The lease expires on AUG 31st. what we can expect?
    Thank you.

    • Richard Magnone says:

      I can’t say. I don’t know why there is a new court date or what the tenant filed.

  12. K. Martin says:

    This is a very helpful website, very insightful…

    Does the process work the same for condo owners?

    • Richard Magnone says:

      Are you talking about condominium association evictions for nonpayment of association dues or for landlord’s who own and rent out condominium units? If the latter, it is basically the same.

      • K. Martin says:

        Yes, I am referring to condominium association evictions for nonpayment of association dues. Thank you

        • Richard Magnone says:

          Typically, after an association takes over a parcel, they will rent out the unit to recover the back dues. The association stands in the shoes of a landlord for any rental and is bound by all the laws affecting landlords.

  13. Kirsty B says:

    If the judgement was for the plaintiff for a certain amount (landlord) and and order of possession was placed and I (tenant) paid within 30 days. Is that supposed to go against my credit and if it is on there how to get it removed?

  14. Aaron says:

    I am the landlord and my tenant has abandoned before the sheriff has given me an eviction date, can I change the locks or do I need to file another complaint before entering my property?

    • Richard Magnone says:

      Possession is a question of fact. If the tenant turned over possession, you can change the locks. If the tenant did not turn over possession, then the only lawful way to proceed is to evict.

      The facts in your message are sparse, so I don’t have enough there to provide any meaningful legal advice.

  15. Xavier says:

    If I am a landlord and the tenant pays me all of the rent plus rent for future months, does this automatically cancel the order for possession and reinstate the lease? The tenant I have remedied their judgment a week after the judge awarded possession and gave me the judgment. They also paid rent for January and will pay rent for February.

    • Richard Magnone says:

      A tenant could easily make a convincing argument that when you accepted rent in excess of what was owed, you reinstated the old or created a new tenancy. In fact, they’d have a pretty good argument that that was the case! This is that thing about cake and eating it – you got paid the judgment and you got more for future periods. I don’t know all of your facts based on what you posted, but I would be surprised if your eviction order held up. Obviously, this is not legal advice because I have not had the opportunity to know all of your facts.

  16. Tony says:


    The articles on your websight are very helpful, thanks for providing this valuable information to landlords.

    My question: I received an order of possession against my tenant, with a stay date coming up shortly. My tenant contacted me and wants to know if she can pay some money now (ironically) and stay longer since she is having difficulty finding a new apartment. I am concerned about 2 things:

    1. Exceeding the 120 day statute for enforcement. Does the 120 days start from the date I received the Order of Possession in court? Or from the date of the Stay of Eviction?

    2. If I accept any funds from the tenant (after Order of Possession has been established), does the tenant have any recourse to try to rescind the Order of Possession? I’d like to tread lightly to avoid the risk of having to start over again.

    Thank you!

    • Richard Magnone says:

      Well, I’m not sure I have enough information to give you a complete answer, but, in general, accepting funds in excess of the judgment owed would certainly provide a tenant with a great argument that a landlord reinstated a tenancy.

      As for the 120 day date, it begins running from the date the order for possession is entered.

      I agree – you should tread lightly and should get some legal advice from an attorney before acting.

  17. Ann says:

    I moved out of the apartment. Mother and brother stayed. Landlord has an oder of posession. The unknown occupants have seven days from January 30, 2014 to file a petition. How long will that be before the eviction.

  18. sandeep patel says:

    Does anyone know after the sheriff comes to evict the tenant from the apartment, the process for the tenant to remove their personal property? Does the landlord have to move it? Or does tenant have to move it?

  19. Julie says:

    My home was foreclosed on. My sheriff sale was confirmed Feb 7, 2014. The judge gave me a 30 day extension to move. I need to be out of the home by Apr 7, 2014 and am not sure that is possible. my only income is $1K a month child support.

    JPMorgan Chase bought back the home.

    What happens now? If I do not move by Apr 7, 2014 will Chase immediately move to evict me? And if so, how long will that take?

    I have heard about trying to rent back for a month or two, but if I only have $1K a month in income that doesn’t seem possible. I truly do not want to wait and be evicted, but do not know what to do.

    • Richard Magnone says:

      Julie, you need to contact a foreclosure defense or tenant’s rights attorney asap. We don’t handle these sorts of issues and you have a serious matter on your hands. Find out and protect your rights.

  20. Dawn Montesinos says:


    Our house was sold in October 2013, we received eviction papers in February 2014. Checking the evictions schedule it shows District # and Receipt # after speaking with the Plaintiffs attorney they would not release either. How do we find out our District #.

    • Richard Magnone says:

      The Sheriff’s number and Receipt number are for the >landlord<. When a landlord is granted an order for possession, the tenant is supposed to vacate the property. Tenants are not (and should not be) entitled to know the Sheriff's receipt number. They should vacate when ordered, not "just before the Sheriff comes out".

  21. Dawn says:

    Also we never received a confirmation of sale.

    • Richard Magnone says:

      This website deals with evictions from a residential landlord’s perspective. You should consult with a foreclosure defense attorney to know and protect your rights.

  22. Barry Laury says:

    I received an order of possession on 3-18 stayed until 4-1, on 4-2 I filed with the sheriff. On 4-8 I received a notice of motion dated 4-7 requesting a longer stay for more time, with a new court date of 5-7. My question is can I get this date moved up? and can the tenant file another motion if this one is denied?

    • Richard Magnone says:

      This is legal advice for which you should hire an attorney. Unfortunately, we don’t jump into cases after they have been filed.