Eviction Process Guide

Tips for Preparing Your Answer

  • File a written "verified answer" to the Rule for Possession with the Clerk's office (or the justice of the peace) before the trial begins. A "verified answer" must state your defenses and must include a notarized affidavit by you swearing that the statements in your answer are true. Your answer should also deny any incorrect statements made by the landlord in his Rule for Possession.

  • If possible, your answer should include a defense that would give you the right to stay in your apartment even if the landlord's claims were true. The judge's equitable discretion not to cancel the lease should be listed in your answer.

  • Find out in advance if there are any court costs to file your answer. Many justice of the peace courts do not charge tenants court fees for their answers. However, parish and city courts generally charge tenants for an answer to an eviction.

  • If you cannot afford the costs, ask the court to allow you to file your answer for free. To do so, you must file a notarized Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. You will also need to get a friend or relative to sign an affidavit saying that you cannot afford the court costs and attach proof of your income.

  • It is important to file an answer before the court if you want to be able to appeal your eviction and stay in your home during the appeal. You can still appeal if you don’t file an answer, but you will have to move during the appeal.

  • To stop your eviction, you must also go to the trial and present your defenses.  Be on time for your trial. And have your witnesses and papers that support your defense with you.

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