Evictions Lawyer

If you own rental property, you may need to evict your tenants for non-payment of rent, violations of the lease or holding over past the lease term.  In Texas, evictions are referred to as “forcible entry and detainer” actions.  Whether residential or commercial, every forcible entry and detainer action is filed in the Justice of the Peace Court covering the precinct where your property is located. For evictions issues, please contact us at: (972) 705-9911

Before you can initiate a forcible entry and detainer action, you must give your tenant a notice to vacate the premises.  The length of notice depends on the lease provisions.  Some leases require the giving of thirty-day notice to vacation.  Other leases are silent as to the length of notice.  Typically, residential tenants must be given three days’ notice to vacate the premises before a forcible entry and detainer action can be filed.  Unless the tenant has a dangerous animal on the premises or has somehow barricaded the front door, the notice must be posted on the inside of the front door of the leased premises.  The notice typically gives the tenant a deadline to vacate the premises and sets out the reason for the eviction—i.e., non-payment of rent, violation of a lease term, etc.

If the tenant fails to vacate the premises by the deadline set out in the notice (or, if the tenant has already vacated the premises, but left personal belongings behind), you may file a forcible entry and detainer action.  Once you file the eviction action, the Clerk for the Justice of the Peace will issue a citation and notice of the eviction hearing.  Both are typically served on the tenant by the Constable.  The eviction hearing takes place six to ten days after you file the forcible entry and detainer action.  If the tenant is nowhere to be found, upon request, the Court will issue an order for substituted service, which will allow for the notice of eviction hearing to be posted on the front door of the residence.

At the hearing, you, as the landlord, will need to prove that you own the residence and the reasons for the eviction.  A forcible entry and detainer action may be combined with an action for unpaid rent.  The tenant, if he or she attends the hearing, will have an opportunity to dispute the reason for the eviction.  At the end of the hearing, the Judge will issue a ruling either granting or denying the forcible entry and detainer.  If the Judge “evicts” the tenant, the tenant has five days to vacate the premises.  On the sixth day after the Judge signs the order for possession, if the tenant refuses to vacate the premises (or remove his or her personal belongings from the premises), you can then apply for a Writ of Possession.  This is once again served by the Constable.  The Writ of Possession gives the tenant an additional twenty-four hours to vacate the premises (although most Constables give the tenant forty-eight hours).  At the expiration of this notice period, the Constable will make arrangements with you to take possession of the premises.  Typically, you will need to arrange for your own movers and your own locksmith to gain entry into the house and to then change the locks.  The Constable does not move furniture.  You are responsible for arranging your own manpower to remove furniture from the house, which is then usually placed on the curb, or removed to a warehouse (if you hire bonded movers).  The Constable will, however, escort the tenant from the house.  Once everything has been moved out of the house and the premises secured, the Constable will “execute” the Writ by filling out the back and returning it to the Clerk of the Justice of the Peace for filing.  

From giving the tenant notice to taking possession of the premises usually takes between three to five weeks, assuming there are no hiccups in the process.

Once the tenant has been evicted, and you have obtained a judgment for unpaid rent, you may wish to attempt and collect your judgment.  To that end, please visit the Judgment Collection section on this website.

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