An eviction is the judicial process when a landlord may remove a tenant from the premises. Although many people commonly know the term eviction, some may be unfamiliar with the legal term in the Texas Property Code, a “forcible detainer” action. There are several causes for evictions such as (1) non-payment of rent, (2) holding over after the lease term has expired, (3) violation of the lease agreement or (4) foreclosure of a property. See our foreclosure series for more information on foreclosure eviction proceedings.
Evictions are governed by Chapter 24 of the Texas Property Code and Civil Procedure Rule 500. The process starts with providing the tenant with a proper notice to vacate. Under the Property Code, a landlord is required to give at least three days’ written notice before a landlord can file the forcible detainer suit. However, a written lease may provide for a shorter or longer period of time.
After the required prescribed time is met, the landlord will file an original petition for the forcible detainer action in the justice of the peace court within the precinct where the property is located. Then, the tenant will be served with notice and a trial date will be set by the court’s clerk. At the trial, the judge will make a determination as to which party has the superior right of possession to the property and the amount of damages, such as back rent, attorney’s fees, court costs, etc.
In the event the landlord receives judgment in their favor, the landlord may file a writ of possession with the court to proceed on regaining judicial access to the property. However, a tenant may appeal the eviction decision within a certain timeframe as ordered by the court. If the tenant successfully appeals the case, the case will be appealed de novo (meaning a new case) and will be sent to the county court. Then the whole process starts over. There are certain requirements a tenant must meet if they attempt to appeal the judgment such as paying a cash bond or filing a proper pauper’s affidavit.
Whether you are a seasoned landlord or a first timer, evictions may be stressful and time consuming. Additionally, each county may have their own requirements. Reach out to an experienced Texas residential eviction attorney at Texas Real Estate & Business Law Firm PLLC to provide you with the legal advice you need to accomplish your goals.
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