How to Make an Eviction Appeal

George Simons

October 19, 2021

You can challenge an eviction.

Summary: Are you being evicted? Learn how to make an eviction appeal and win with the right defense.

If you were served with an eviction notice by a landlord, it is extremely important for you to attain a clear rationale as to why your landlord decided to evict you. Attaining this information is important since it could work in your favor when they attempt to appeal the eviction date.

A landlord is legally obligated to provide a tenant with written notice of your eviction date. This written notice should also include information about the motivations supporting the decision to move forward with an eviction. You may have grounds to appeal the eviction if your landlord fails to provide written notice and only verbally advises a tenant to leave the premises. This would constitute a violation of the law.

In many instances, landlords opt to proceed with evicting tenants for failure to pay rent. If you find yourself in this situation, you have the chance to remedy the issue and avoid eviction is to simply pay the amount of rent money owed. You should remit payment within five days after receiving notice of the eviction. Though, it is important to note that the money owed needs to be paid to the court clerk handling the eviction case, not your landlord.

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Procedural aspects of challenging an eviction

If you want to challenge an eviction, there are two procedural filings to consider:

  • File motion for reconsideration and ask that the eviction decision be re-examined
  • File a formal appeal contesting the basis for the decision

If you are wondering whether it makes more sense to file a motion for reconsideration or an appeal, the decision needs to be based on your unique circumstances. In some eviction cases, it may be worthwhile to file a motion for reconsideration so more scrutiny is applied to the eviction decision. Though, if you do not believe this motion will prove fruitful, you can opt for filing an appeal. It is also worth noting that even if you file a motion for reconsideration, you still retain the right to file an appeal.

Filing a motion for reconsideration

Some of the most common reasons that support filing a motion for reconsideration include:

  • Note that you cannot file an appeal on any decision that the judge makes on your case. If you cannot file the appeal, you still can request that the judge reconsider their decision.
  • Some decisions may not be appealed, but the judge who decided the case can change her mind.
  • Other decisions cannot get appealed until the case has concluded. You may want to check if the judge will change their mind before the case is over.
  • It could be preferable to file a motion for reconsideration even if you decide to file an appeal; it can be difficult to do an appeal if you didn't hire a lawyer.
  • A motion for reconsideration is less expensive to file if you're not eligible to have the fees waived by the court.
  • A motion for reconsideration is often decided faster than an appeal.

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Filing an eviction appeal

Some of the reasons that weigh in favor of filing an appeal include:

  • Filing an appeal should be considered if you fail to meet the deadline to file the motion for reconsideration.
  • Filing an appeal is worthwhile if the decision to proceed with the eviction was not made properly, or failed to properly weigh specific evidence indicating that the landlord violated the law, or failed to provide you with sufficient notice of the eviction.

In terms of the grounds for filing an eviction appeal, you may be in a situation where you believe that you are being evicted erroneously with no actual evidence that you violated the terms of the lease. In this scenario, you can appeal the eviction by asserting that the landlord is engaging in retaliation.

For example, if there have been past instances where you may have expressed differing viewpoints with your landlord and suddenly receive an eviction notice. In this scenario, this may qualify as a retaliatory act. With retaliation cases, the alleged incident leading to the eviction must have occurred within a specific time frame before you received the notice of eviction.

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Why you need to file your eviction appeal promptly

When it comes to filing an eviction appeal, you generally need to make a decision sooner rather than later. Many states require an appeal to be filed within just a few days after the initial decision to evict. For example, in Texas, a tenant only has five days after the eviction decision to file an appeal.

When you file the notice to appeal, you need to pay an appeal bond, which will be noted in the judgment. If you do not give the judge notice within five days, the landlord can get a writ of possession after five days. At that point, the sheriff will post on your home that you have a few days to move out, then he will come back and move you and your possessions out.

It's important to ensure that if you want to file an appeal that you do so quickly and have all the evidence you need to make a strong case. If you don't, it's unlikely that your appeal will succeed. If you cannot afford to pay the filing fees for the motion of reconsideration or appeal, there are some options:

  • You can file an application to proceed with the case without paying costs, fees, or security.
  • If you got permission to file the appeal or motion of reconsideration without paying, you can do so without paying any fee.

Generally, you can fight eviction by filing an appeal, but it is important to understand that the appeal process is complex and the proverbial decks are stacked against you. Public data indicates that only a small percentage of evictions are reversed on appeal. Nevertheless, every case is different, so it is still worthwhile to go through the appeal process.

The best way to prevail in an eviction appeal is to have as much documentation as possible that indicates the landlord failed to follow proper protocol during the eviction process.

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