What happens after an unlawful detainer (eviction) trial?

After an unlawful detainer trial where the jury renders a verdict for the landlord, the tenant has still some options to retain possession of her home. The jury verdict must be entered on a form as a judgement against the tenant and for the landlord. The judgement is then filed with the Superior Court. It details who obtains possession of the tenant’s home. If the landlord prevailed at the unlawful detainer trial, then the judgement would state that the landlord is entitled to possession and itemize how much back rent is owed by the tenant as damages. A writ is then issued and taken to the sheriff for eviction of the tenant.

There are certain actions the court can take after the verdict. Upon request of the losing party, the court can issue a stay of execution. This is a discretionary step by the court that stops any judgement or order from being filed by the prevailing party in the unlawful detainer. Another action that can be taken is a motion for a new trial. A court order granting a new trial does away with the verdict from the previous case as if the case had never been tried. The court might also grant relief from forfeiture based on hardship reasons presented by the tenant. Finally, a losing party has the right to appeal the verdict to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court. The Appellate Division is composed of three Superior Court judges. All of the options described above have short deadlines in which the tenant can act after the unlawful detainer trial.

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Mary Catherine Wiederhold

Tenant Attorney
1458 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

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