When you're embroiled in Landlord Tenant litigation, it's extremely dangerous to miss a court appearance: doing so could easily cost you your apartment. That being said, there are instances in which tenants miss a court date for valid reasons a judge will accept as grounds to change a default ruling. One is that you never received the papers, because you were not properly served. Another acceptable cause for missing the date or "defaulting" may be illness. If you're facing eviction because you missed a court date, in addition to an explanation, you will need to have a solid defense in order to halt the eviction process. Examples of defenses are needing repairs, having paid at least part of the rent, that the rent in the landlord's papers is improper under your lease or rent regulations, etc. Your explanation and defenses need to be filed with the court in an affidavit, which sets forth the reasons you are asking the Court to stop the landlord from evicting you, and requests a hearing. The judge may then issue and an Order to Show Cause granting it.