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How to File an Appeal

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

You have the right to file an appeal after a judge has decided in favor of your landlord in an eviction case. Appealing can buy you more time to find a new place to live. Appealing gives you the chance to have your case heard by a judge. Appealing opens the potential for a round of mediation with your landlord.



Where:

414 Grant St, Fl. 1, Pittsburgh, PA, 15219



When:

Their hours are 8:30 am - 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. Arrive by 3:30 pm Monday - Thursday or by noon on Fridays to give yourself time to complete the application before they close.


Things to Consider:

  • Childcare

    • Are family, friends, and older sibling, etc... available? You can bring your children to the MDJ Office and Housing Court Help Desk, but it might be easier for you to leave them with a sitter.

  • Transportation

  • Work Schedule

    • You will need to take time off to go downtown to file your appeal and to attend your arbitration hearing.


What to Bring With You

Disposition Letter - You can get this from your Magisterial District Judge's Office

Judgment Transcript - You can get this from your Magisterial District Judge's Office

Supersedeas Payment - 1 month of rent payment is necessary to file an appeal. Ask to apply for a low-income appeal, called In Forma Pauperis (IFP), and in that case you need to bring at least 1/3 month of rent to deposit in the escrow account. For example, if your rent is $850/mo, you need to bring $283.33 at the time you file your appeal. The remaining 2/3 of rent, (ex. $566.67) will be due 20 days later. You will then need to pay 1 month of rent again 10 days later, and again every thirty days thereafter until the appeal is resolved. This money will be held as your rent payment for the month in an escrow account. You will be obligated to pay your monthly rent into this account based on the schedule provided by the Department of Court Records (DCR) until the eviction appeal is resolved. Only pay rent into escrow while you are in the appeal process. Do not pay rent to your landlord! Paying rent directly to your landlord instead of into escrow will cause your appeal to be dismissed. Your escrow rent payment counts as your rent while you are in the appeal process.

AHSC Award Letter, or proof of rental assistance from any other program

Notice of Order of Possession (if applicable)

Filing fees: $145. If you complete the In Forma Pauperis (IFP) paperwork (described above) for a low-income appeal, this will waive the $145.

Next Steps


After you file your appeal, your landlord will be notified and will submit a legal complaint. You will receive the legal complaint in the mail 14-28 days after you file your appeal. When you receive the complaint you will need complete either the Notice of Intent to Appear or Answers to the Complaint* right away. Both forms are included in the mailer. You will then need to mail a copy to your landlord and return a copy to the Department of Court Records within 20 days of the date the Complaint was sent to you.


*Answers to the Complaint: The letter you receive from the court will provide you with an opportunity to answer to the complaints your landlord puts forward. For example, your landlord claims you didn't pay March and April rent, but you know you did. You are able to answer that you did pay those months and describe the proof that you did. Answering the complaint also gives you the opportunity to bring up other issues, such as your landlord illegally shutting off your water or electricity or utilities that do not work, your landlord entering your unit without notifying you in advance, holes to the outdoors in your ceiling or walls, locks that do not work, broken windows, roach or rodent infestations, etc...


This same letter will contain the date of your arbitration. It is very important you bring to your arbitration any and all records that can support your case. This includes:

  • Your lease

  • Rental payment receipts

  • Award letters from FEPP, ERAP, HSP, or any other rental assistance program you have worked with

  • Pictures or other evidence of any issues about the safety of your home

  • Documentation from the Department of Health showing that you have made a complaint or the outcome of an inspection

  • Screenshots (printed is ideal) of text messages or emails between you and your landlord that confirm your side of the story


Final Thoughts


This overview is as comprehensive and simple as we have managed to put together. If you have questions or need assistance, please

  • Call the Housing Court Help Desk at (412)-350-4462 (they are terrific and very kind and helpful)

  • Visit the Housing Stabilization Center at 415 7th Ave, Pittsburgh, PA, 15219 Monday - Thursday, 9:30am - 4:00pm to talk with one of our team members in person.


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