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U.S. Marshals Service

District of Columbia, Superior Court - Evictions Process

New process began August 13, 2018

The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) is responsible for executing evictions (writs of restitution) issued by DC Superior Court judges, a responsibility unique to the USMS within the District of Columbia. In other jurisdictions, evictions are generally carried out by the local sheriff’s office or other local law enforcement agency. In order to bring it in line with other urban jurisdictions, the USMS has updated its procedures and adopted significant changes to modernize evictions to ensure that they are carried out in a safe, compassionate, and professional manner while also efficiently carrying out the court’s orders.
 
Important changes
  • Eviction notices to tenants will include the scheduled eviction date.
  • Tenants will have a minimum of two weeks’ notice of the eviction date.
  • Tenants’ personal property will no longer be removed and placed on public streets.
Filing
  • Writs are filed in Landlord and Tenants Court (L&T).
  • L&T then forwards the writ to the U.S. Marshals office for scheduling of the eviction.
  • Issued writs have a life of 75 calendar days.
Scheduling of evictions
  • The USMS will make 3 attempts to schedule evictions by telephone. After the 3rd failed attempt, WRITS will be canceled and returned to L&T Court.
  • Once scheduled, eviction notices will be sent to the tenant at the address on the writ via first class mail with the scheduled date of eviction and other relevant information. (Previously, evictions could occur any time within 75 day lifespan of the court order.)
  • No evictions are scheduled on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or on judicial training days.
Tenant responsibilities
  • Satisfy the judgement or vacate the premises before the date of the eviction in order to avoid eviction.
  • Once the USMS arrives to execute the eviction, tenants must obey orders from the deputies and will have only a few minutes to collect valuables, medication, etc., before being asked to step out of the premises.
  • You should remove all property before the eviction date if possible. Once the eviction occurs, you will lose access to the property without the permission of the property owner.
Landlord responsibilities
  • Be available by phone to discuss the date of eviction with the USMS.
  • Landlord must not utilize “USMS Notice” as notice for tenant since it does not meet the of D.C. Legislative legal requirements.
  • Once the eviction date arrives, the landlord must have a working key or locksmith who can gain entry to the property within 10 minutes.
  • Landlords will need to know the purge amount necessary to stop the eviction, if applicable.
Weather Delays
  • The USMS will not complete the eviction when precipitation is falling or when the temperature is forecasted to fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit that day.
  • In such situations, the USMS will make contact with the tenants if they are present and discuss the anticipated delay for the eviction.
  • The property will be prominently posted with a notice that an eviction is in progress and that the eviction will be completed on the next available date on which the temperature and precipitation permit.
  • USMS personnel will attempt to contact landlord and management on the day of the eviction to discuss availability.
 
Frequently Asked Questions
 

Landlord Questions

 
Must I take the first available date the USMS offers me?

No. You are not required to take the first date we the USMS is available. However, you must select a date that is available and that is within 67 days of the issue date of the writ. If you select a later date and the eviction cannot be completed within the 75 day life of the order for any reason, you may be required to refile and pay new fees.

Can scheduled evictions be rescheduled?

No. Once the eviction is scheduled it cannot be rescheduled due to the fact that notification has already been made to the tenant.

I am at the premises at the time assigned to me and the deputies are not here? What should I do?

Many evictions are scheduled each day and the time required to complete each eviction varies. Contact the USMS at (202) 616-8633 for an updated arrival time.

What are my notice and storage responsibilities to the tenant?

The USMS does not establish or enforce storage or notice requirements. Requirements established by D.C. Legislation can be found at the D.C. Council website.

 

Tenant Questions
 
Can I avoid this eviction?

Yes. You may avoid eviction by resolving the case with your landlord or by vacating the premises before the Marshals arrive?
How much time will I have once the Marshals arrive?

Many evictions are scheduled each day and they must be completed quickly once the Marshals arrive. You will only be granted a few minutes to gather valuables once the Marshals arrive. Do not expect to have time to pack belongings, search for items, or make arrangements at that time.

What time will the Marshals be at my property on the day of the eviction?

The Marshals may arrive any time between 9am and 5pm on the scheduled date. In order to assure that you are not evicted, you must resolve the case or vacate the premises before 9am on the scheduled date. Tentative eviction times are determined the day before the scheduled eviction, however, eviction times are subject to frequent changes throughout the scheduled day. DO NOT ASSUME THAT AN EVICTION WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE TENTATIVELY SCHEDULED TIME.

Will my property be removed and placed on the street?

No. The Marshals Service no longer orders property to be placed on the public street. You should remove all of your property BEFORE the scheduled eviction date in order to ensure that you do not lose access to it. The Marshals Service does not have any role in property recovery once the eviction has been carried out.

What will happen if I do not comply with the order to vacate issued by the Marshal?

U.S. Marshals are federal law enforcement officers and District of Columbia Peace Officers and you must obey their lawful orders. Failure to comply with the orders of a Marshal during an eviction can result in arrest and prosecution. You must vacate before the scheduled evictions date or the Marshals Service will order you to leave when they arrive. Marshals may force entry during an eviction if necessary.
 
General Questions
 
Are evictions carried out sooner under the new process?

No. During the first 6 weeks of the new process, writs were carried out an average of 30.7 days after they were issued. This is approximately the same amount of time as evictions carried out in the summer of 2017.

Has the new process been successful?

Yes. Very few problems have been encountered with the new process. A post eviction survey of the landlords in more than 200 completed evictions uncovered few post eviction problems and a 100% preference for the new process over the previous practice.
 
For more information
 
Scheduling and Execution – U.S. Marshals Service
Email – DCevictions@usdoj.gov
Telephone (202) 616-8633

Court Process – DC Superior Court Landlord & Tenant Branch

Website – www.dccourts.gov/services/civil-matters/landlord-tenant 
Live chat available on website
Telephone (202) 879-4879

Tenant Services – Office of the Tenant Advocate

Website – www.ota.dc.gov 
Telephone (202) 719-6560

D.C. Legislation

http://dccouncil.us/legislation

U.S. Marshals Service
Publication #22, Writs of Restitution (Evictions)
 
 


  
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