Too often landlords do not realize how simple it is to evict a tenant when payment of rent has not occurred. If you’re a landlord or property manager, you don’t have to hire an expensive attorney to evict a tenant for you – just put the “How To” steps below into practice and see how you can deal with your evictions simply and quickly yourself.
13 Simple Steps To A DIY Legal Tenant Eviction
1. Once you’ve discovered a client to be delinquent in paying their rent, first fill out a “Notice to Vacate” form and mail it to the tenant. Hand delivery or posting on the inside of their front door is also an option. Do NOT post on the exterior of their door as this can get you into trouble. So really, the simplest option is to mail it, either regular or certified mail.
2. The tenant has 4 days (when mailed) or 1 day (when hand-delivered) after receiving the notice to either pay their due rent or leave the property, and if they do not do so you can file a formal petition for eviction for non-payment of rent.
3. You can use the site linked here to find out what precinct your home is located in: http://www.courts.state.tx.us/courts/jpmaps.asp, then go to your County’s Justice of the Peace website and select the precinct in which you home is located.
4. Search for the “Petition for Eviction Based on Non-payment of Rent” form and fill it out completely.
5. You will have to fill out a Military Affidavit stating whether or not the tenant being evicted is a member of the armed forces. If you’re not sure, check on this military site: https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/scra/
6. To confirm you have everything needed to file, call the Justice of the Peace office clerk and walk through the info you have.
7. Head to the Justice of the Peace office and file the paperwork with the clerk. Note: There will be a filing fee and charge for each tenant that signed the lease. Filing fees are usually between $100-$125 and each additional tenant is usually between $70-$100 more.
8. You will be given a preliminary court date, as well as a receipt for the filed eviction form. To make sure the court date remains the same, call the office to confirm the date as it approaches. A delay might be due to the fact that the court has to serve the tenant with eviction paperwork and if they are not able to get a hold of the tenant to do so, they may have to reschedule the court date. Typically you will have to wait from 2-4 weeks from the date you filed the eviction form until the actual court date.
9. Here are the items you will need when you head to the court:
- Fully signed lease agreement.
- Copy of notice to vacate you sent to tenant.
- Tenant ledger for past due rent.
- Management contract if you are an agent acting on behalf of a Landlord.
- Evidence that tenant is not in the military
10. Remember to show up early to make sure you have everything you need and it’s all organized before your name is called. It might take some time for your name to be called, but even so promptness is important so that your case is represented well in court. If your name is called and you are absent, a default judgment will be issued in favor of the tenant and you will have to start the entire eviction process over again.
11. The judge will call your name and ask what you are seeking. What you will tell the judge is that you are seeking First – Possession of the rental property and Second – Past due rent plus court costs. Please be aware that if you accept any rent from the tenant after the eviction is filed, you will need a written agreement between you and the tenant stating that even though you accepted past due rent from the tenant, you are still expecting them to vacate the premises. If you accept rent for future periods or do not have a written agreement, the Judge will often dismiss the eviction because you accepted rental payments after filing the eviction. The Judge will also ask to see a copy of the lease showing the monthly rental rate.
12. Once the Judge has issued a judgment in favor of the Landlord, the Judge will inform the tenant that they have 5 days to work something out with the Landlord or vacate the property.
Please note: The court will only award you PAST due rent amounts and court costs. They will not award late fees or other fees. It is important to keep this in mind in the future when collecting rent. You always want to attribute cash payment from tenant to late fees and other past due amounts first so that RENT is the only balance left if you ever have to file an eviction.
13. Now that the tenant has been ordered by the court to pay the rent or vacate, they have 5 days to do so. If they do not fulfill this command, head back to the Justice of the Peace court and file a “Writ of Possession,” a form which will result in a deputy going to your property and forcing the tenant out with their belongings.
Finally, if you have any questions about this process, don’t hesitate to contact Green Residential today.
Feel Free To Contact Green Residential For Eviction Assistance
If you are still feeling uneasy about handling the process yourself, you are welcome to contact Green Residential to assist you. Green Residential provides full service property management & leasing for an affordable rate in order to keep your property profitable. We perform thorough background checks (credit, criminal, rental history, employment history) for any tenant we place in a home to avoid having to go through the eviction process which costs time and money. We’re standing by, ready to help you with the eviction process when you call, so don’t hesitate to contact us.