Why Would a Sheriff Come to My House with Papers?

George Simons

October 14, 2021

You can win your case if you make the right defense.

Summary: Has your local sheriff come to your house with papers because your landlord is trying to evict you? Find out what options what you have to beat them in court.

If you have had a sheriff come to your house with legal documents, it usually means that your landlord is trying to evict you. Below is more information about how to deal with this issue.

When a landlord prevails in an eviction, the judge signs an order that lets the sheriff ensure that you leave the property. You also are required to remove all of your possessions from the house. There will be a deadline in the paperwork that states when you have to move and when all your possessions must be out.

After the sheriff posts a Writ of Resolution on the property, you usually need to have three days to move out, but this can vary by state. Sometimes, you could have more than three days but it rarely is more than a week or 10 days. The writ should state the exact deadline, which ends at 11:59 pm that day. However, you won't usually see the sheriff evicting you in the middle of the night.

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Can you stop the sheriff from evicting you?

Legal options in this situation depend on where the eviction lawsuit is. Some of these options are tough without an attorney, so it's recommended to get legal help when you can. If you had an eviction hearing that went against you, the sheriff probably brought the legal documents or posted them on the property because you lost. You may wonder if you can appeal this ruling and stop the eviction.

Whether you can or not depends on what occurred at the hearing. It also matters if you were evicted because you owe money or another reason. If you have been evicted because you owe the landlord money, you might be able to reinstate your lease and stay in the home if you can pay back what you owe. Usually, you'll need to do a motion to reinstate with this court to stay in the property.

Also, you may be able to get another motion and ask for payments so you can pay it back over a few months. Some of this is hard to do on your own, but you can usually find an attorney to do it for a reasonable fee.

If you're able to pay off what you owe at once, you may want the judge to reinstate your lease. So, you'll need to get the money to pay what you owe to the landlord. This may include back rent, late fees, court costs, and possibly attorney's fees.

If you have all the money that is in the judgment, you should talk to the landlord and say that you want to reinstate your lease. After you have paid back your landlord you should file the motion to reinstate at the local courthouse. Ask the clerk to set up a hearing about this motion.

If you go to this hearing and the judge approves your motion, you can stop the sheriff from coming to your house to evict you. But you have to make sure that you pay rent on time each month, or you may have paid everything back plus fees for nothing.

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Other options you have to stop eviction

If you are being evicted because you owe rent and you can get caught up in three months, you may want to ask for a payment plan. This is usually called a Motion to Stay The Writ Of Restitution and For a Payment Plan. If you want to qualify for a payment plan, you'll need to explain to the judge why you fell behind. Some things that you may need to discuss with the judge include:

  • Why you couldn't pay rent on time
  • Why you couldn't pay the installments
  • How soon you can pay back what you owe
  • What payment plan may work best for you
  • Whether you couldn't pay rent before
  • Whether you are an otherwise good tenant or cause other problems
  • How difficult things will be if you're evicted; whether you have dependent children may be considered

Also, the judge could ask about how much money you make, what you have in the bank, and other things of interest about your life. You may need to pay over three months, and he or she will set a tough schedule on when payments are due.

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What to do if you're evicted for other lease violations

If you are being evicted because you didn't follow other lease rules or you overstayed, you cannot reinstate the least.

Also, note there are times when you went to a hearing but you may feel as if you didn't get enough time to explain everything. Or you didn't have all the evidence that you needed at the time. Some tenants want to appeal the case and have a new hearing to avoid having the sheriff evict them.

You can ask for a new hearing in most states, but these motions aren't usually granted. It also can be tough to do this without legal representation. And just because you file the motion doesn't mean it will stop the sheriff from evicting you.

Note that the judge could decide that you're just filing the motions to delay the eviction. If that happens, you'll probably lose the case and you'll owe more money. And the sheriff will still enforce the eviction. So it's wise to be careful with this option.

If you didn't attend the eviction hearing because you didn't know there was a lawsuit, you may be able to file a request with the court called a motion to stay and vacate. This is an option for people who have a good reason that they didn't go to the hearing. You also need to have a good defense for the lawsuit. If you don't have a defense outside of you can't afford to pay, it may not be a smart option. You could wind up owing more money that you cannot afford.

If you are not going back to court but need additional time to move, you still can talk to your landlord to give you more time, even if the sheriff has posted a notice to vacate.

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