How to Appeal an Eviction Date

Your landlord has just served you with an eviction notice giving you a specific date to appear in court. If you fail to appear, or if you lose your case, you will be forced to vacate your apartment, usually as soon as 72 hours after a judge has issued a decision. If you feel that an eviction is not warranted, you can appeal. You must prove in court that either you are not guilty of whatever lease violation your landlord is claiming or that you had a valid reason for not abiding by the terms of your lease.

Appear at the court specified in the Application for a Summons in Unlawful Detainer notice with which your landlord has served you. This notice, more commonly known as an eviction notice, will list the specific courthouse in which your eviction case will be heard. It will also list a date and time. Don't miss this hearing. If you do, your landlord will automatically win the case.

Develop a defence. For example, if you failed to pay your monthly rent for the last three months, you'll need to have a valid reason. Maybe it was the winter, and your landlord failed to fix the heat. Maybe your landlord refused to repair a leaking sink. Maybe your landlord failed to fix a broken front-door lock to the building, putting you at risk. Do not appear in court without a valid defence for why you broke the terms of your lease.

Bring evidence to support your case. If you claim that your apartment was not heated properly during the coldest days of the year, take a photo of the thermostat in your apartment showing how cold it was. If your landlord refused to repair a broken window, take a picture of that. Write down every time you had to call your landlord to request a repair that was never made. If you find language in the original lease you signed that contradicts the complaint your landlord is now filing against you, bring that paperwork. The more evidence you have, the better your chances of winning your case.

Present yourself professionally while in court. This means that you should dress in clean, conservative clothes. You should also prevent yourself from losing your temper. Emotional outbursts will not help you in court.

Don't resist eviction if you do lose your case. The judge will tell you exactly when you have to vacate the premises. If you stay longer, a sheriff's officer will escort you from the premises.

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About the Author

Don Rafner has been writing professionally since 1992, with work published in "The Washington Post," "Chicago Tribune," "Phoenix Magazine" and several trade magazines. He is also the managing editor of "Midwest Real Estate News." He specializes in writing about mortgage lending, personal finance, business and real-estate topics. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Illinois.

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