Skip Ribbon Commands Skip to main content
Help (new window)
Navigate Up
Legal Services of New Jersey

Apply Online for Legal Help

Housing
How to Put Off the Eviction Process If You Need More Time

Did you lose your eviction hearing? Do you need more time to find a new apartment? Do other circumstances make it necessary for you to ask for more time to move? The court might allow you to stay in your apartment if you tell the judge what you need and why you need it. The judge has complete discretion about deciding whether or not to approve your request for more time, so you should explain in detail how much time you need and why. If you do not owe rent, the judge will be more likely to approve your request for more time.

You should not stop preparing to move. The judge might deny your request on the spot, so you should be prepared for the worst. Make arrangements to store your belongings and find another place to stay temporarily.

How do I request more time?

To request more time in your apartment or house for any reason, you need to go to the clerk’s office in the Special Civil Part of the courthouse where your eviction hearing was held. Bring with you a copy of the warrant for removal. Tell them you want to apply to have your eviction “stayed” (or stopped). They will ask you to complete a form and, on the form, you will be able to list the reasons you need the stay.

Getting a Return Date

After you file the papers, the court will make a decision about what to do. Sometimes a decision is made on the day you file. Other times, you will get a “return date” (or hearing date) from the court telling you when the court will hear (consider) your application—when you and the landlord will return and appear before the judge. The judge will normally review your papers and sign an order that gives you a return date. The court will also tell you when and how you must give notice to the landlord.

What happens on the return date?

On the return date, you and the landlord will both appear. You will give your reasons why the relief that you are requesting should be granted. The landlord will give his/her reasons why the relief that you are requesting should be denied.

How much time should I request?

There are three types of stays you can request. With an order for orderly removal, you may get up to seven additional days in your apartment. With a hardship stay, you may get up to six months. And if the judge agrees to vacate the judgment, you will be able to stay indefinitely.

  1. Order for orderly removal
    A judge might approve your request for an order for orderly removal if you agree to move but just need a bit more time to do so. In most cases, a judge will not grant you more than seven additional days in your apartment or house if you owe back rent and are unable to make full payment.

  2. Requesting a hardship stay
    If seven days is not enough time for you to move, and being forced to do so immediately would pose a great hardship to you, you can request a hardship stay, which would give you up to an additional six months. If you owe money to your landlord, your request for a hardship stay will most likely be denied. If you have paid all past due amounts, or if your eviction was based on something other than non-payment of rent, you will have better luck getting a hardship stay. As with the order for orderly removal, you will need to provide an explanation to the court. Examples of hardship might be:
    • You are sick.
    • You are disabled.
    • You are elderly.
    • You have a new place but cannot move in right away.

  3. Requesting the judgment be vacated
    If you want the court to vacate (throw out) the judgment against you, you will need to explain why requiring you to leave your apartment is not legally justified. Examples of legal reasons for not leaving your apartment might be:
    • The landlord did not give you any notice of the problem before filing a complaint.
    • You never received a summons and complaint from your landlord.
    • You offered to pay all the money that you owed to your landlord on the date of the hearing, but he/she refused to accept it.
    • You did not appear in court because your landlord told you not to go to court.
    • You did not appear in court because you were sick.
    • You have new proof (you cannot resubmit evidence that has already been considered) showing that you should have won your eviction case.

    If you are successful in having the judgment vacated, it will be as if you were never evicted.

Note: Again, be aware that you may not win your application. For that reason, you should not stop preparing to move. Make arrangements to store your belongings and find another place to stay temporarily. It is always best to be prepared for the worst, just in case you are unsuccessful in your application to the court.

12/7/2016