40-Day Stay of Eviction (California Code of Civil Procedure section 918)

In this post, I’m going to discuss something that often arises in a California residential Landlord-Tenant case where the tenant has lost at trial — can the tenant get extra time to move? If you’re a tenant who has lost his eviction case, the general process from the landlord’s side is to (1) get the court to issue a writ of possession, (2) deliver said writ to the county sheriff’s civil division for service, and (3) the sheriff serves the writ. Steps (1) and (2) can take place within one or two business days of the eviction trial. If the landlord is particularly quick, it might be the same day as the trial. (3) usually is what most people recognize as the sheriff coming to the rental property and taping up a sign on the door saying that the tenant has 5 calendar days to move. The timing of step (3) can vary. In my experience, some sheriff civil divisions are not open every day. Others are open only part of a weekday. On top of that, each division may have set schedules for service (e.g. only serving Monday and Wednesdays). Check with the sheriff’s civil division in your case to find out for certain what their schedule is. Let’s assume that 5 calendar days elapses between the time the tenant loses at the eviction trial and the time the sheriff posts a notice on the tenant’s door to move out. The notice specifies another 5 days within which the tenant has to move. What happens if the tenant needs more than these 10 days? The answer is a Stay of Eviction...