The Sheriff does not remove the tenant’s possessions

ilevistateI received the following question from a reader of this blog:

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?

Veteran landlords will remember that some time ago, the Cook County Sheriff used to actually remove the tenant’s possessions.  The Sheriff no longer performs this task and drops that task on the Plaintiff in an eviction case. They only remove the persons listed on the eviction order.  Here is the Sheriff’s press release from back in 2007 when the policy changed.

press release-Cook County Sheriff’s Office

Of course, the Sheriff cautions that landlords should give tenants the opportunity to get their possessions out of the premises.  In fact, many Sheriff officers will stay at the premises to supervise the tenant removing their personal property if the tenant immediately goes about removing it.  I usually advise my clients to wait a minimum of 24 hours before disturbing the tenant’s belongings, but certain facts may dictate that I advise my clients to wait longer or to notify tenants that they have a certain time to come and get their property.  (remember, this is not legal advice – each situation is different and you should contact an attorney for advice before taking action!)  Unfortunately, we don’t have all that much further guidance on the procedure and the Sheriff’s policy leads to more questions (how does bailment law come into play? how do landlords know that the property actually belongs to the tenant? etc.) than answers.

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