There are some parts of being a landlord that nobody wants to go through. However, sometimes circumstances demand it. While leasing your Houston property, you may come up against the unpleasant need to evict a tenant. Eviction is a last resort, but is necessary in certain unfortunate situations.
In most cases, there are other ways of resolving problems between landlords and tenants. If you have at some point in your life been a tenant, the thought of evicting someone can seem harsh. However, if you have a particularly bad tenant or a tenant who can’t pay his or her rent, Houston property management guidelines recommend you protect yourself by going through the eviction process.
Even with best landlord practices, sometimes there is no alternative to eviction. Eviction isn’t personal; it’s just part of the business of being a landlord. You deserve to receive your rent money on time, and you also should have tenants that respect the terms of the lease they signed. But sometimes eviction is necessary. The process doesn’t have to be drawn out or stressful if you follow these Houston property management tips:
Learn Texas eviction laws.
Knowing the Landlord and Tenant Act is the first step to legally evicting a tenant. Most states follow the procedures in this act when handling eviction cases. If you have to go through the process of evicting a tenant, it’s important to understand the eviction laws in your area. Laws vary from state to state, and there are Texas-specific laws in addition to the guidelines in the Landlord and Tenant Act.
In Texas, if a tenant refuses to leave upon the landlord’s request, the landlord has to file an eviction case with the court. In this case, you have to prove the tenant violated the terms of the lease or refused to leave after the terms of the lease lawfully expired. Though you own the rented property, a tenant can’t be forced to leave before a court ruling determines the eviction is legal. The most common reason for evicting a tenant is the tenant fails to pay rent on time or at all. Other reasons include abandonment, damage to property, or illegal activity by the tenant.
Try to reason with your tenant.
Nobody wants to go through an eviction through any process. Before trying to evict your tenant, attempt to set up a meeting with him or her in a public place to discuss the situation. Don’t be overbearing, but do be stern. Explain to your tenant you need him or her to follow the terms of the lease. Explain that a lease is a business agreement and part of your livelihood. Tell him or her that you can’t be understanding of failed rent payments in the future. Often, this stern conversation is enough to make a problem tenant shape up.
Ask the tenant to leave.
Sometimes, however, asking nicely isn’t enough to solve your problem. Some tenants aren’t trying to cause a problem for you, but simply can’t pay their rent. In these cases, you need to evict. Before getting into the legal side, ask your tenant to vacate. Formal eviction proceedings aren’t always necessary. In some cases, tenants will vacate the property upon request to avoid being caught up in messy court proceedings, particularly since being legally evicted can make it difficult to rent in the future. Be polite in your request – it is very possible they will move out when you ask.
Give written notice.
In many cases, you must give your tenant written notice before you can begin filing for legal eviction. Houston property management scripts offer legal language for an eviction notice: “right to occupancy is being terminated.” This notice to vacate must state in plain language your intention to evict the tenant. The notice should include the date the notice is given to the tenant, as well as the reason for eviction. You may or may not give the tenant time to rectify the problem. These written notices typically give the tenant 3, 30, or 60 days to vacate or fix the problem, depending on your preference.
File an eviction suit.
If your tenant doesn’t vacate or fix the problem in the 3-, 30-, or 60-day window, you must formally file your eviction case. Do not file before the amount of time indicated on the eviction notice is up, or you won’t have a legal eviction case. You will need proof that you have given the tenant this window. You and the tenant will be appointed a day to appear in court.
Attend the hearing.
You must have the proper documents before appearing in court. This may include bounced checks, lease agreements, a copy of the notice to vacate, and proof of the date of receipt of this notice. If your tenant does not appear on this hearing date, the eviction suit will be ruled in your favor. In any case where the ruling is in your favor, the tenant has 5 days to appeal the decision. If they do not appeal or lose the appeal, the tenant will have 5 days to vacate.
Evict the tenant.
Hopefully, your tenant will leave on their own within the court decided timeframe. If they do not, you have the right to remove their possessions and escort them from the premises under the supervision of a law officer.
Collect past due rent.
In most eviction cases, your tenant owes you money in the form of past-due rent. You have the right to claim this money according to Houston property management guidelines and local laws. A judge will decide whether or not the tenant owes you rent. If he or she does, the tenant will receive a court order to pay you. In some cases, this court order will be presented to the tenant’s employer. The employer is then required to garnish the tenant’s wages so you receive compensation.
Eviction is not a pleasant process for any landlord, but following these Houston property management tips will help the process go as smoothly and quickly as possible so you can find a new tenant.
Green Residential can help any Houston landlord get through the process of eviction.