What is a Warrant of Possession?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 29 January 2020
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A warrant of possession is a court order that is typically used in eviction proceedings. It is granted to the owner of a property to facilitate the removal of a tenant and his belongings from the property in question. Warrants of possession are usually used in cases in which a person has been told to vacate the premises in accordance with legal eviction procedures but failed to do so. In such a case, the property owner may request a warrant of possession from the court and have the sheriff or other law enforcement official serve it.

A warrant of possession applies to tangible property, but it is most often used in eviction proceedings. In most cases, a property owner must follow legal procedures before an eviction gets to this point, however. This usually includes notifying the tenant of the intention to evict him and providing a specific date on which to vacate the property. If the tenant leaves the premises as requested, a property owner may not need to seek this type of order.


A property owner or his agent typically seeks a this type of warrant when a tenant fails to turn over possession of the property despite the fact that the owner or agent has followed legal procedures for evicting him. In such a case, a property owner or the owner’s agent must request a warrant of possession from the appropriate court in his jurisdiction. In the event that the court decides to grant this order, law enforcement authorities typically get involved and serve the warrant on the tenant.

Once the warrant of possession has been served, a tenant usually has only a short amount of time to vacate the premises. The amount of time allotted depends on the jurisdiction in question. In some places, a person is given several days to vacate the premises after the warrant is served. Some jurisdictions, however, only allow tenants 24 hours to leave the property.

If a person ignores the warrant and remains on the property after the deadline for vacating it, a law enforcement officer typically takes steps to physically remove the tenant from the property along with his belongings. He may also secure the doors of the property to ensure that the tenant cannot return to the property without breaking into it. In some jurisdictions, however, the owner secures the property with the officer present.


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