Legal Guide to Texas Evictions
Evictions in Texasmust be filed in the county and precinct where the property is located. There are basically four steps in the Texas Eviction process:
- Notice to Vacate
If a landlord alleges a tenant is not paying rent, the Landlord is required by law to give the tenant written notice to vacate the premises. This notice can be delivered to the tenant personally with a witness, by certified mail (return receipt requested) or by any other method allowed by law. Unless your lease specifically states otherwise, the law requires you to deliver the written notice, and then wait three days before filing your suit in Justice Court. This is a legal requirement which must be met and cannot be overlooked.
- Filing the Suit
You must file an original petition with the Court and pay court costs. These court costs pay for filing your suit, your court hearing, and for the Constable to serve the citation. The citation is the notice to the tenant that you are attempting to evict him or her.
- Going to Court
You must go to Court and prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. Simply filing a suit does not necessarily mean you will win your suit. You should bring all documents and other evidence with you to Court in a well organized fashion. At the hearing, you will have to present evidence to show that you are entitled to possession of the premises.
- Writ of Possession
If you have won your suit in Court, the mandatory five day appeal period has passed, and the other party is still in the premises, then you can file a Writ of Possession in Court. A Writ of Possession is a Court order to the Constable to place you in possession of the property. The Writ of Possession will cost you an additional court cost, and may be requested at the JP office where the judgment is. The Constable of your particular Precinct can answer your questions about this Writ.
From start to finish, it will takeapproximatelythree weeks to evict someone in Texas.
- 3 days from notice to vacate to filing of suit
- 8-10 days to serve the citation - yhe law requires the defendant to have six days notice before the hearing.
- 5 days to appeal the suit following the hearing required by law.
- 2 days - the Constable is required by law to post a 24 hour vacate notice on the Writ of Possession.
20-23 days is the minimum amount of time to evict someone in any County in Texas. It must also be noted that any eviction suit is subject to appeal to the County Courts-at-Law.
There is a remedy that can shorten the time period from 23 days to 10 days if you prevail in Court. This is known as a Bond for Immediate Possession and includes a Notice to Defendant of the Bond for Immediate Possession. By filing a bond for immediate possession, the eviction process could be shortened provided the defendant does not request a trial or post a counter bond.
In a Bond for Immediate Possession, you are putting up a bond for surety or cash. If you lose your suit, you could lose all or part of your bond. It must also be noted that any eviction suit judgment may be appealed to the County Courts-At-Law. However, if the defendant requests a trial or files a counter bond, the length of time involved in a Bond for Immediate Possession will be about the same as in a normal Eviction suit.