Writs of Possession Under California Law

by Robin Mashal on Jun. 19, 2020

Lawsuit & Dispute Lawsuit & Dispute  Litigation Real Estate 

Summary: This article provides a summary of various writs issued by California law to assist with recovery of tangible property.

  1. Pre-Judgment Writ of Possession

    California law allows certain plaintiffs to apply to the court for a "writ of possession" (sometimes referred to as "writ of claim and delivery" or "writ of replevin"), to take possession of some tangible personal property before the case goes to trial. The basic requirements are that plaintiff has a right to immediately take possession of certain tangible personal property and this property is being wrongfully withheld by the defendant. A plaintiff who applies for this writ must prove to the court the "probable validity" of her claim. If the judge is satisfied with plaintiff's application, the plaintiff must post an undertaking (a civil bond) before the writ of possession is issued. A plaintiff may apply for a writ of possession by way of a noticed motion, or in proper circumstances by ex parte motion. This area of law is governed by Sections 512.010, et. seq., of the California Code of Civil Procedure.
  2. Judgment to Recover Personal Property

    A person who obtains a judgment for possession or sale of certain property, may apply for the a "writ of possession" to receive possession of that property or a "writ of sale" to have the property sold. If the judgment includes a money judgment, the writ must also specify the amount of money judgment and the amount of accrued interest on the date writ is issued. The writ will also specify whether the person has requested a notice of sale under the judgment. This area of law is governed by Sections 712.010, et. seq., of the California Code of Civil Procedure.
  3. Judgment to Recover Real Property

    A person who brings an action for the possession of a manufactured home, a mobilhome or a real property, may apply for the a "writ of possession" to receive possession of the real property. The most common example is when a landlord brings an unlawful detainer action to evict a tenant from a premises. Once the judgment is entered, the landlord will obtain a writ of possession and instruct the Sheriff to obtain the possession of the premises from the tenant. This area of law is governed by Section 1166a, and Sections 712.010 et. seq., of the California Code of Civil Procedure.

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