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Appealing an Eviction - What
Rights Do I Have? Tips on Searching
by: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (New Orleans
office)

Q. What If I Lose My Eviction Trial?


A. You have the right to appeal to a higher court.
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Make sure you read the instructions for appealing an
eviction judgment from the kind of court that ruled in Find Legal Help On Evictions
your eviction case. The way you appeal can be
different, depending on whether you were in a justice
of the peace court, a city court or a parish court. Related Resources

Housing Justice Network (Separate


Website)

Practical Advice on Housing Law


(Separate Website)
Q. What Does An Appeal Do? By: American Bar Association

Flood and Fire Victims' Rights as


A. A "suspensive appeal" stops the eviction until the
appeal is decided by the higher court. It can take Tenants
several weeks to a year for the appeal to be decided. By: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (New
Orleans office)
During this kind of appeal, you get to stay in your
apartment.
more...
You are not allowed to take a suspensive appeal unless
you filed a written notarized (verified) answer to the
eviction before the eviction trial. Your answer must
have raised what is called an "affirmative defense."

To take a suspensive appeal, you must post an appeal


bond within 24 hours of the court's eviction judgment.

If you can't take a "suspensive" appeal, you can still


appeal. But this other kind of appeal won't stop the
landlord from evicting you.

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Q. How Do I Appeal An Eviction?

A. To appeal, you must file a written appeal and an


appeal bond within 24 hours of the eviction judgment.
Where you file and what you file depends on which
court first decided your case.

If you were evicted by a justice of the peace, your


appeal is to the parish court or, if there is no parish
court, to the district court. This is generally done by
filing a law suit for "trial de novo" in the parish or
district court. Sometimes this is called a "petition for
suspensive appeal by trial de novo." The parish or
district judge will hold a new trial, hear the evidence
and legal argument, and decide whether you should be
evicted. You may make new arguments and bring new
evidence for the new trial.

If you were evicted by a city, parish, or district court,


you must file a "Motion for Suspensive Appeal" with
that court. The appeal will be based on the transcript
of your trial and will be heard by a panel of three (3)
judges of the court of appeal. You do not get a new
trial with the court of appeal. But you must show that
the lower court made a mistake about the law or a
clear mistake about the facts. To do this, you must
write a written brief explaining why the lower court's
decision should be reversed.

Q. How Much Does An Appeal Cost?

A. For any suspensive appeal, remember that you also


have to post an appeal bond.

The other costs depend on which kind of court hears


your appeal.

The cost to appeal a judgment from a justice of the


peace court will be the filing fee of the parish or
district court that hears the appeal. The fee can be
hundreds of dollars, so be sure to call the clerk of
court ahead of time to find out. You may also have to
pay for subpoenas of witnesses.

An appeal to a court of appeal will require payment of


its filing fee and the cost of the transcript of the trial in
the lower court. Again, you should call the clerk of
court for the court of appeal you are filing in to find
out the amount of the fee you have to pay to file your
appeal. The cost of the transcript depends on how long
your trial was. The clerk of court will send you an
estimate of the costs of the transcript. Expect the
transcript to cost more than $100.

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Q. What If I Can't Pay The Appeal Costs?

A. If you can't pay the appeal costs, you may ask the
court (generally the parish, city or district court) for
an order to let you appeal in forma pauperis. The court
should grant your in forma pauperis application if your
income is below 125% of federal poverty guidelines.

You must complete the in forma pauperis


affidavits and have a notary notarize your signature
and the signature of your witness. There is more
information about in forma pauperis requests on a
separate LawHelp question and answer page.

An in forma pauperis order will excuse you from


prepaying court costs. But the order will not excuse
you from the requirement of posting a "suspensive"
appeal bond. You still have to post the appeal bond on
time for your "suspensive" appeal.

If you do not pay the costs of appeal or get an in


forma pauperis order, your appeal will be dismissed.

Q. What Is An Appeal Bond?

A. An appeal bond is set by the court to protect the


landlord during your appeal. Generally, the amount of
the appeal bond will depend on your monthly rental
and how long the appeal takes.

An appeal bond generally may be a cash bond or may


be a "surety bond." A surety bond includes an affidavit
signed by you and a friend or relative that says you
are indebted to the landlord for any damages he
suffers because of your appeal. There are strict rules
about how a surety bond is done, so be sure to check
the rules before trying to use this kind of bond. The
clerk of court may have a form for this kind of bond.

Sometimes the court will allow another kind of


bond, such as one to let you pay the monthly rent to
the court (to hold for the landlord). Courts sometimes
use this last kind of bond for low-income tenants.

Q. How Do I Get An Appeal Bond?

A. If you want to use an affidavit, commonly called


"surety bond" or "appeal bond", check with the court
clerk's office. They often have surety or appeal bond
forms for the public's use.

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If you are asking for an alternative bond where you


pay the rent to the court's registry every month, you
should file a written motion asking the court for such
an arrangement.

You must ask the appropriate court to set the appeal


bond.

If you are appealing from a parish or city court


judgment, you ask that court to set the appeal bond.
Generally, these bonds are higher because the appeals
take several months.

If you are appealing from a justice of the peace court,


you generally ask the higher court, either the parish or
district court, to set the appeal bond. Generally, these
bonds are lower since the appeal can be heard in
several weeks.

Remember you must file your suspensive appeal bond


within 24 hours of the original eviction judgment in
order to stop the eviction. Be sure to keep proof that
you filed the bond on time.

Q. What Are My Rights During the Appeal?

A. Both the landlord and tenant must perform their duties


during the appeal. You, the tenant, must continue to
pay rent and the landlord must continue to provide
you with basic services. The landlord cannot lock you
out or turn off your utilities during the appeal.

Many landlords will refuse to accept your rent during


an appeal. To be on the safe side, you should offer to
pay the rent as it becomes due. If the landlord won't
accept your rent, you should document his refusal in
writing. It may be wise to ask the court to accept your
rent payments each month. If you miss a rent
payment, the landlord could file a new eviction despite
your appeal.

A landlord may try to evict you for the same lease


violation that the appeals court is reviewing. The
landlord can't do this legally. Still, you must protect
your rights by defending against any new eviction suit
over the same lease violation as the case on appeal.

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Q. Where Can I Get More Information On Appeals?

A. Check the court rules for the appeals court that will
hear your appeal. These rules may be available on
that court's web page.

The Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal web page


has a Pro Se Manual that provides information for
persons who represent themselves in appeals. Click
here to see the manual.

To find out more about how to appeal an eviction


judgment, see these LawHelp resources below. You
can also find these items under "Self Help," on
the Housing "Evictions" page of this site. Be sure you
know what kind of court your eviction case was in.

Click here to see "Appealing a Justice of the Peace


Eviction Judgment."

Click here to see "Appealing a City or Parish Court


Eviction Judgment."

Q. Are There Any Other Ways to Stop an Eviction?

A. If you can't appeal or don't want to appeal, you may


be able to ask the trial judge for a new trial, but this
might not keep your landlord from evicting you.

WARNING A motion for new trial does not stop an


eviction. It does NOT extend the time for filing a
suspensive appeal (which must be filed within 24
hours of the judgment). If you choose to file a motion
for new trial, do so right away and ask the judge to
give you a written order that stays the eviction until
the judge decides your motion.

Asking for a new trial is done by filing a motion for


new trial with the judge who heard your case. The
motion must state why the judgment is contrary to the
law or evidence or state other good cause for a new
trial.

If your case was decided by a justice of peace, you


must file your motion within 7 days of the notice of
judgment. If your case was decided by a city or parish
court, you must file your motion within 3 days of the
judgment or notice of judgment if notice is required.
Again, filing a motion for new trial, on its own, does
not stop the landlord from enforcing the judgment to
evict you.

Last Reviewed On: 10/12/10

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and are not intended to state or imply that we sponsor or are affiliated or associated with the
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a client of the attorney, your e-mail may NOT be protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Moreover, unless it is encrypted, e-mail can be intercepted by persons other than the recipient.
Deadlines are extremely important in most legal matters. You may lose important legal rights if
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