Here’s a general outline of how matters proceed after you have obtained a eviction judgment.
At the eviction hearing, the judge orders the tenant to vacate the rental unit but it is up to the landlord to make sure the tenant actually does vacate the unit. No one from the court is going to follow up and make sure the tenant vacates the rental unit. The landlord has to be proactive and monitor his property and take other steps to enforce the eviction against the tenant.
In some courts, the landlord has to apply for a writ of restitution (also known as a red tag) after the eviction hearing. After the landlord has applied for and paid for the red tag, the bailiff will go and post the red tag on the tenant’s door. The bailiff will not do anything until the landlord applies and pays for the red tag. So if you get an eviction judgment and fail to timely apply and pay for the red tag, you may have to go through the entire eviction process again.
The red tag tells the tenant that he/she has a certain amount of time to leave the premises (usually 5-7 days after the red tag is posted). If the tenant does not move out within that time period, the landlord can have the tenant and the tenant’s belongings set out on the curb. The red tag and the threat of losing his/her belongings are generally strong motivation for the tenant to voluntarily leave the premises.
No one wants their belongings set out next to the street.
In some counties, the landlord does not have to apply and pay for a red tag. The cost of the red tag is included in the ling fee. The court (usually through the bailiff) will serve the tenant with the red tag and things will proceed as outlined out above.
Once the red tag is posted, the clock starts ticking for the tenant. The tenant generally has 5-7 days to get out at that point. The day of posting, weekends and holidays count towards the 5-7 day total. In Franklin County, the tenant has ve days to vacate after the posting of the red tag. In Zanesville, the tenant has seven days to vacate. Check with your county court to determine their specific time period.
When the red tag expires, the landlord needs to check the rental unit and determine if the tenant has vacated. Landlords always ask me – “How do I know if the tenant has vacated?” You have to use your common sense. If the tenant has left behind belongings that you would not classify as trash then the tenant has not vacated the unit. If the landlord determines that the tenant has not vacated, then the landlord needs to contact the attorney and let the attorney know that the tenant is still there. No one from the court is going to visit your property to see if the tenant has left. Your attorney is not going to drive by the property and determine if the tenant has moved out. The landlord must take measures to determine the status of the tenant.
If you are unsure as to whether the tenant has vacated the unit, then you should proceed with applying and paying for the set out. If you are certain the tenant has vacated, you do not need to apply and pay for a set out. You can take possession of the premises.
The attorney or the landlord would then apply and pay for a set out. A set out is where the bailiff meets the landlord and the landlord’s moving crew at the rental unit and removes the tenant and the tenant’s belongings from the premises. In counties where belongings are removed the rental unit, the court will usually require four people to show up at the set out and move the tenant out in about an hour or so. The bailiff will not help you move the belongings out. The bailiff is only there to keep the peace while the set out is conducted. No one from the court is going to move the tenant and the ten- ant’s belongings out of your rental unit. It is the landlord’s responsibility to do so.
Some counties in Ohio do not require the tenant’s belongings to be removed from the rental unit at the set out. The tenant is only removed and any belongings left behind are considered forfeited to the landlord. The landlord changes the locks and the tenant must negotiate with the landlord to get any belongings back.
If the landlord does not meet the bailiff with the necessary personnel (four people), the set out may be postponed or cancelled.
At the set out (scheduled with the court), the landlord should change the locks, reset the password on any alarm system, change the code on the garage door opener and take any other means necessary to secure the premises at this time. The landlord may even want to monitor the premises from time to time.
I’ve heard of tenants who break into the rental unit after the set out in order to take appliances and do damage to the premises.
Generally, a set out is not required as the vast majority of tenants leave within the ve to seven day red tag period. If a set out is required, the bailiff will only supervise the set out. The landlord has to provide a team of four people, boxes, and tarps (in the event of inclement weather) for the set out. The bailiff will supervise the removal of the tenant’s belongings, and the set out should take about an hour.
IT IS ILLEGAL FOR THE LANDLORD TO REMOVE THE TENANT’S BELONGINGS, CHANGE THE LOCKS, RE- MOVE THE TENANT, SHUT OFF POWER, ETC., WITHOUT GOING THROUGH THE LEGAL PROCESS OUTLINED ABOVE.
The landlord must go through the court and get an eviction judgment, apply and pay for a red tag, ap- ply, pay for, and schedule a set out and only conduct a set out in the presence of the bailiff.
In Ohio, you have several deadlines to adhere to throughout the eviction process. You generally have thirty days from the date of the eviction judgment to enforce it. If you get an eviction judgment and fail to act on it in a timely manner, you may have to go through the entire eviction process again.
In some counties, you have ten days from the date the red tag is posted to apply and pay for a set out. If you fail to do so, you have to apply and pay for another red tag.
If you would like to proceed with the second cause of action for damages against the tenant, then you can do so only after you have taken an inventory of the damages at the rental unit. This inventory takes place at or after the set out. You cannot fully assess your damages until after the tenant has vacated the unit. A walk-through prior to the tenant leaving really serves no purpose in a damages calculation. You will need to obtain appropriate documentation to pursue your tenant for damages including photos, invoices and estimates. The landlord should also prepare an itemization of damages to be deducted against the security deposit at this time as well.