Understanding the Eviction Process

September 9, 2016 | by Michael Wilt

Categories: Rental Housing
Tags: eviction, matthew desmond, texas tenant advisor, texaslawhelp.org

In his best-selling book Evicted released earlier this year, author and sociologist Matthew Desmond recounts the distressing stories of tenants struggling to pay rent and dealing with the consequences. Desmond notes that nationally, nearly one in eight low-income families was unable to pay all of its rent.

An eviction can have damaging effects on the well-being of a renter ranging from potential job loss to depression and poor health outcomes for mothers and their children. In this entry, we take a look at the eviction process in hopes that tenants will understand it and avoid it.

In Texas, the most common reason a landlord may evict a tenant is if rent is not paid in full when it's due. Damage to property and violating terms and conditions of the lease are also grounds for a legal eviction.

A landlord may not evict a tenant as retaliation for requesting mandatory repairs or if it's a form of discrimination that would violate Fair Housing laws.

A landlord must follow a series of steps if she or he decides to evict a tenant. These steps are summarized below based on detailied information from Texas Tenant Advisor and TexasLawHelp.org.

1. First, a landlord gives a tenant a Notice to Vacate either in person or by mail at the tenant's unit (there may be additional requirements depending on the type of rental property it is). This three-day notice signals a landlord's intent to evict. During this period, a tenant may attempt to reach an agreement with the landlord to correct violations of the lease and remain in the unit.

2. If no agreement is reached, the landlord must then file a Forcible Entry and Detainer lawsuit against the tenant in the Justice of the Peace Court. Once filed, the sheriff or constable will serve the tenant with court papers that tell the tenant when the court hearing is to consider the merits of the eviction.

3. A court hearing will occur between six and 10 days after a tenant receives the court papers. In most cases, a judge will make a ruling on the eviction, but a tenant may request a trial by jury. Either way, if the court rules against the tenant, the tenant has five days to appeal the decision or move out.

4. If a tenant remains in the unit after five days, a sheriff or constable will issue a Writ of Possession that allows the tenant's belongings to be forcibly removed from the property.

For more information on the eviction process and services to help Texans avoid evictions, please visit the below resources.

Texas Tenant Advisor

TexasLawHelp.org

Nolo.com - Eviction Notices for Nonpayment of Rent

Links to Eviction Prevention Assistance in Texas from December 11, 2015 On the House entry entitled, "The Benefits of Preventing Eviction"


On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.

Comments

Laura Ross

Hi Heather, the Texas Tenant Advisor provides further guidance about the eviction process and timeline: http://texastenant.org/eviction.html.

Laura Ross

Hi Veronica, the Texas Tenant Advisor provides further guidance about the eviction process and timeline: http://texastenant.org/eviction.html. If you feel your rights as a tenant have been violated, we recommend that you contact your local tenants council or legal aid services.

Heather

I have a question. I am a property manager of 12 years. I leased out a BRAND NEW apartment 3 months ago. While performing a 3 month inspection I discovered 8 large holes big enough you can’t cover them up with an 8X10 picture, 1 door punched in and another door ripped completely off of its hinges to the point it can not be repaired but has to be 100% replaced along with the door jam. Several other holes in the walls. This is a 400 squarefoot Efficency apartment. They have only been there 3 months and have caused thousands worth of damage. DO I HAVE THE RIGHTS TO EVICT THEM?

Veronica Jackson

Hello, I and my significant other have co-habitated for 8 years. I caught him cheating earlier this month and I am in the process of closing on my new home on 15 April. He posted a eviction notice he typed up on 19 March on my door stating i had to be out by 23 March.  I hired a attorney qhich sent him the letter telling him due to our informal marriage he couldn’t evict me. However I am moving out and i close on 15 April. Today March 29th i get a notice from the constable delivering me a court date for 12 April at 10am. Can i sue him for filing a frivolous eviction?

Laura Ross

Hi Monica, the Texas Tenant Advisor provides further guidance about the eviction process and timeline: http://texastenant.org/eviction.html. If your boyfriend feels his rights as a tenant have been violated, we recommend that he contact his local tenants council or legal aid services.

Monica

Hello my boyfriend got an eviction notice to move out but the problem is he was behind on rent so the lady of the apartments asked him to sign a paper saying hell have to pay the rest or get immediate eviction so he signed it and we got the money but be for putting down the money he got in trouble for having a dog in the apartment so the lady called him and told him he had 24 hours to get rid of the dog or she will call the dog pound to get him so he panic and didn’t want to lose the dog so he left he didn’t put down the payment used that money to get a room at a hotel for him and his dog instead well the lady kept charging him rent for about two months now that he went back to pick up some stuff he saw he had an eviction notice and a rent over pass of about 2,000 he doesn’t know whether to go to the court if it is worth it because he panicked and left but if he signed that paper why would she still be charging him ? May you please help answer these questions he’s on the break of being on the street .

Laura Ross

Hi Kevin, the Texas Tenant Advisor provides guidance on your rights when it comes to repairs (http://www.texastenant.org/repairs.html). If you feel your rights as a tenant have been violated, we recommend that you contact your local tenants council or legal aid services.

Laura Ross

Hi Antonio, the Texas Tenant Advisor provides further guidance about the eviction process and timeline: http://texastenant.org/eviction.html.

Laura Ross

Hi Mary Ann, Here is some guidance from the Texas Tenant Advisor that explains your rights when it comes to repairs (http://www.texastenant.org/repairs.html). If you feel your rights as a tenant have been violated, we recommend that you contact your local tenants council or legal aid services.

Kevin

Landlord trying to evict me because they don’t want to fix the septic system

Antonio BELLO

Today I was suppose to pay my rent in court but due to rain and sickness and Holliday’s I came up too short for my rent in Texas. How many days before a judge can send a Sherrington to vacate me ? Can I appeal this ? How long will it take before I get closed down? If I can appeal how much time do I have for I will be working tom in the rain or shine !

Mary Ann

I know someone can get an eviction die to non payment but what if you asked the management to clean your carpet and never made an effort. Then last month on a friday I came home with groceries to find my refrigerator not working and I called emergeny work order and management refused to fixed. So I lost all my food cause they refused to come the following day I had to wait til Monday.

Laura Ross

Hi Taylor, the Texas Tenant Advisor provides further guidance about the eviction process and timeline: http://texastenant.org/eviction.html.

Taylor Martin

I have been having difficulties with getting my rent paid on time but have paid each month with all the late fees nonetheless. This is month I am extremely late and have told management and have tried to make the arrangement to pay the rent in full with late fees here in a couple of days. In the months that I have been late they have worked with me and I’m thankful for their patience.  I’m late once again now wanting rent today or go they will file eviction, something I don’t need on my credit after just paying off 2 eviction debts. I’m really working hard to get my life back together after leaving my exhusband with no money no job. I could continue with my sob story but that is going to resolve my issue today. Just giving my side of what I’m dealing with.  My question is this, management did place a notice to vacate on my door but no where does it state I have 3 days to vacate. It reads I have one day and 4 days if it was mailed to me. Is this still grounds for them to file eviction? The notice was made out November 7th and date to vacate was on the 8th to vacate before midnight. We are now on the 16th and that’s only because I have been in communication with the manager in trying to get the rent sooner but haven’t been able until the given date I gave her originally. Hopefully they will accept my rent with all the late fees and this will continue to be my home.

kclaflin@tsahc.org

Hi Teresa,

Here’s some information about tenant rights during the eviction appeal process: http://texaslawhelp.org/resource/eviction-appeals-to-county-court

Teresa chavez

What happens if tenant decides to appeal the ruling to vacate the premises, how long does this process takes and how much extra time is allotted to the tenant to vacate

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