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Landlord And Rental Property Problems

Eviction Process in Texas

 

Being a landlord can be rewarding and a pain in the rear. Things go wrong: pipes burst, ovens break, tenants throw wild parties—and the list goes on. As a landlord, you expect some of these things to pop up.

After all, homes need maintenance from time to time.

One of the toughest situation you’ll face is having to collect rent from a tenant who has to stop paying because they are having financial problems. It is one thing if they fall behind and pay late, but it’s an entirely different story if month after month goes by and your tenants still aren’t’ paying rent on time. If you carry a mortgage on the property or count on the cash flow for other expenses, this can really put you in a bind as a landlord.

What Are Your Options?

Sometimes, the only solution is to evict your tenants for nonpayment of rent. If your tenant has broken the lease agreement for non-payment and has stopped communicating with you, it’s time to take legal action to protect yourself and your property.

Evicting a tenant can be stressful for you and your tenant. It requires a commitment of additional time, and money from you to remove a non-paying tenant from your property.

If you have to evict a tenant, your budget should also include making repairs and prepping the house for a new tenant.

And of course, the big question is “do you need to hire a lawyer to evict your tenant?” And the answer is, it depends.

If you’re not comfortable with terms like “Notice to Quit” or “Notice to Cure or Vacate,” you might want to think about hiring an attorney. If you’ve never done an eviction before, it might be a good idea to get legal advice on the process before you miss a step and have your case rejected in court because you didn’t understand the law.

Texas Eviction Process

First, let’s start with why you might want to evict a tenant, after all, you signed a lease agreement with them to rent your property.

Some of the most common reasons to evict a tenant are:

  • Not paying rent
  • People living in the property who are not on the lease
  • Pets that are forbidden by the lease
  • Tenant caused property damage

If you find yourself in this situation, you can then proceed to terminate the lease agreement with cause, but first, you must serve the tenant with a three-day notice to vacate. After three days, if the tenant does not move out, and don’t expect them too, then you can file an eviction lawsuit with your local JP court.

What if you want to evict a tenant and you don’t have “cause”?

Let’s say your tenant has been in your property for a couple of years and in that time you have never raised the rents. Your tenants are borderline renters, and you know you could do better and increase your rents with new tenants.

If your tenants are in a month-to-month contract which frequently happens to small landlords because the checks keeping coming in the mail and neither party wants to rock the boat, then you can terminate the lease after you give your tenant a thirty-day notice. Your notice must clearly state the move out date.

If you have a fix term lease agreement with your tenant, you’ll have to wait until the end of the term before you can request that the tenant move out.

Sometimes Tenants Just Don’t Want To Move-Or Be Nice

To be fair, sometimes’s tenants just don’t have another place readily available to move into by the end of the move-out date. Legally, the tenant is considered a hold-over tenant, which is exactly what it sound like, they didn’t move out before or during the notice period.

If you are in this situation, you’ll have to serve the tenant a three-day notice to vacate your property after which you can then file an eviction lawsuit with the JP court in your area. Be prepare; tenants will often fight back in court to defend themselves against an eviction. It’s not because they want to continue to live in a property where the landlord wants them gone, it’s because they want more time before they have to move, and getting a judge to rule in their favor buys them that extra time.

It May Be Your Property But Never Behave–As If It’s Your Home

It can be frustrating to watch a tenant thumb their nose at you, so prepare yourself now by understanding the process and not putting yourself in danger. Even after you win the eviction lawsuit and or a forcible entry and detainer suit, you must wait for the court to set a date to move the tenant out with the assistance of an officer, usually a sheriff.

When the officer or sheriff shows up to evict the tenants, and if the tenants have not made plans to vacate the property, it is your responsibility to have men on hand to help you move the tenant’s property out of your unit to the curb. Generally, officers will give you two or three hours to get the job done. It’s not pretty.

Experienced landlords, or those who use property management companies, will often move forward with eviction proceedings without hiring an attorney. However, if you’re a novice landlord, or if this is the first time you’ve had to evict a tenant for failure to pay their rent, we advise you to consult with an attorney.

Landlord-tenant law can be highly nuanced, and you want to be sure to protect yourself before heading into the courtroom. It might cost you a dollars upfront, but you’ll gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing the eviction was handled correctly.

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