How to Drag Out an Eviction

George Simons

October 14, 2021

Stand up for yourself and fight that eviction.

Summary: Is your landlord trying to evict you? Find out how to drag out an eviction until you can make other living arrangements or even win your case.

If the court orders an eviction, the judge on the case will sign the order that directs the sheriff to have you removed from the property. However, before the law enforcement officer can enforce the order, there are things that you can do to drag out the eviction.

For example, you can file various documents with the court:

  • Ask the judge to delay your eviction so you can have more time to get out of the property.
  • Ask the judge to cancel the eviction because of a legal reason that it should not have been granted.
  • Appeal the order for eviction to a higher court.

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File a motion to stay the eviction order

Depending on the state, you can file a motion to stay the eviction order for a certain period, up to 10 days in some states.

A tenant can file a motion to stay any time after they've been served with an eviction notice. But many tenants don't file the stay until they receive the order for eviction, which is what the sheriff will post on the residence.

Note that most courts cannot stay an eviction order for more than 10 days, but this depends on the state. Most courts only let you file one motion to stay an eviction. Also, most courts will not let you file the stay if you've already had a court hearing with the judge.

To file a motion to stay or delay the eviction, these are the basic requirements:

  • You should file a motion to stay or delay the summary eviction form with the proper court.
  • If that court did not always grant a fee waiver, you may be able to get one.

When you file a motion to delay the eviction, the eviction is put on hold until the judge has time to review the motion, which usually happens in one or two business days. When the judge reviews the motion, there are a few options he can choose:

  • Delay the stay motion so that the case goes forward
  • Grant the stay motion to give you more time to move
  • Set a future hearing on the motion. This is where the landlord and tenant appear with the judge and he or she will make a decision.

Before the court reviews this situation and makes a decision, you should watch the case carefully by looking it up online to assess the status of the proceedings.

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File a motion to cancel the eviction order

If you file a motion to set aside the eviction, you are asking the court to cancel it. But you cannot do this without providing valid reasons for the request. Some of the reasons that you can assert include:

  • You were not served with the proper eviction notices
  • You have a reason for excusable neglect on your part that you can document
  • Misrepresentation or fraud on the part of the landlord
  • Evidence that you just discover
  • The eviction order is void for some reason

When you file a motion to have the eviction canceled, the court may set a hearing. Unless the judge grants this motion and sets the eviction aside, the order is still valid and will be enforced, unless the court decides to change this.

If the motion to cancel the eviction is denied, you can appeal the eviction order to a higher court.

Appeal the eviction order

If you think that the court made a mistake in granting the eviction, you can appeal to the district court in your area.

Note that you only have about 10 days, depending on the state, to file the documents with the court to appeal. When the law says 10 days, it means business days that don't include holidays or weekends.

When the eviction is appealed to a higher court, the clerk for the original case will send it to the district court. When the appeal is heard, the district court does not consider new evidence or listen to the entire case again. The higher court will go over the record on appeal to look if a legal error occurred that led to the case being declined.

To help in their decision, the district court might issue another order that sets the current case for an oral argument. The court may say that both sides must submit legal briefs.

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In the end, the higher court can cancel, confirm or modify the original court order, or even set a new trial.

You also can file a motion to seal an eviction case. In this situation, you are asking the court to hide or seal that a case exists from the general public. Some tenants could want to seal the case so landlords cannot use the eviction history against them in the future. Some of the legal reasons that an eviction case can be sealed include:

  • The tenant and the landlord have an agreement to cancel the eviction and seal the file.
  • The eviction order needs to be set aside according to another law in the state or country.
  • Sealing the case is in the interest of justice, and those interests are not less than the public's right to know about the eviction.

The court will consider if there are circumstances beyond your control that caused the eviction to happen. It also will look at various extenuating circumstances when the order was granted. And, the court will review the amount of time that has gone by since the order was granted and when the motion to seal was requested.

The most important thing to remember about eviction is that all states provide some avenues to delay an eviction. The thing to do is to take advantage of as many of them as you can. If you read up on the law in your state, you can almost certainly delay the eviction for months. In some cases, you may be able to have the eviction order rescinded. But it takes a good amount of work and research to know what to do.

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