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Tenant Options after Losing an Eviction Lawsuit

If the court rules against you and allows the landlord to regain physical possession of the property, you’ll have three options to choose from to put this part of your life to rest…

Three Options for a Tenant after Losing an Eviction Case:

  • Move Out
    Just because you lost your case doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow your normal vacating procedures. If you choose to move out, don’t leave any of your personal property behind. Be sure you clean the unit and perform an inspection of the property and document its condition with a camera or camcorder. The last thing you need is to have your landlord accuse you of damaging the unit or appliances. And finally, give a forwarding address to the landlord.
  • Appeal
    As mentioned before, you will have a brief window of time to file an appeal. If you really feel you’ve been ruled against unjustly and want to appeal the court’s eviction ruling, it would be in your best interest to consult an attorney or a legal aid attorney if you’re a lower income tenant. Typically, you’ll have five days (not just business days) to file an appeal. Depending on the requirements of the court, you may be asked to post an appeal bond guaranteeing a certain amount of money to be paid (ultimately to the landlord), because you will cause the landlord to forgo collecting any rent for an additional period of time. If you win your case and posted a cash bond, your money will be returned to you. If you lose, the money will be used to pay court costs, landlord attorney’s fees and the landlord. Any remaining funds will then be returned to you.
  • Do Nothing and Be Forcibly Removed
    If you choose not to move out or appeal, the landlord will request a Writ of Possession (a court order directing the sheriff to give back to the landlord rightful possession of the rental property). The writ cannot be issued until at least five days (or whatever the appeal timeframe may be) after the court issues a judgment from the eviction hearing. Upon being notified about the Writ of Possession, the sheriff will post a 24-hour notice on the rental property’s door, instructing you that they will be back to remove you and any other remaining occupants from the property. This will also include all of your personal possessions.

At anytime during the eviction process (although rare), you can try negotiating with your landlord to settle any past due rent or legal fees – but don’t count on it. Not many landlords are willing to take another chance on someone who has caused them this much grief.

However, if the landlord seems to be receptive to an offer, make sure you get it in writing. There are a few landlords out there that will try to grab a little more money from you and then still proceed with the eviction. Unfortunately, there’s very little room for oral agreements in today’s society…