An eviction case is a lawsuit brought to recover possession of real property, often by a landlord against a tenant. A claim for rent may be joined with an eviction case if the amount of rent due and unpaid is not more than $20,000, excluding statutory interest and court costs but including attorney fees, if any.
When filing an eviction lawsuit, if there are any additional questions that are not addressed below, please consult an attorney.
- (1) Eviction suits are accepted by the court Monday thru Friday between 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
- (2) Prior to filing an eviction suit, the plaintiff must have given the tenant a written legal notice to vacate:
- (A) If the tenant is not in default, the plaintiff must give the tenant a rental periods notice of termination or follow the written lease contract. (i.e. if they pay by the month, one month)
- (B) If the tenant is in default, or their notice of termination has expired, the plaintiff must give the tenant at least three (3) days notice to vacate in writing or if the plaintiff has a written lease, the notice specified in the lease. If the plaintiff is seeking attorney's fees, an eleven (11) day notice is required and the plaintiff must state the intent to seek these fees, unless a shorter notice is required in a written lease. See special Section for manufactured home communities.
- (C) This notice must be delivered in person to anyone who is at least 16 years old residing a the premises. The notice may also be affixed to the inside of the main doorway, or be mailed by regular, certified, or registered mail to the premises in question. If the dwelling has no mail box and has a keyless bolting device, alarm system, or dangerous animal that prevents entry to leave a notice to vacate inside the door, the plaintiff may securely affix the notice on the outside of the main entry door. If the plaintiff mails the notice, allow five (5) days for delivery.
- (D) Notice to vacate must be just that; it cannot include any offer to extend time if rents are "paid up" prior to the deadline. However, if before the notice to vacate is given, the plaintiff has already given the tenant a written notice or reminder that rent is due and unpaid, the plaintiff may include in the notice to vacate a demand that the tenant pay the delinquent rent or vacate by the date and time specified in the notice or suit will be filed in the court.
- (E) The notice must state that if the tenant does not vacate within four (4), the plaintiff can file suit and the court may enter a judgment for costs and unpaid rent. The notice must also state the reasons for eviction as laid out in Property Code Section 92.058(b)(c) and describe the premises in question. (Click Here for a Sample Form). If the plaintiff uses their own form, it must comply with Property Code Section 92.058(b)(c).
- (3) The eviction suit must be filed in the precinct where the property is located.
- (4) Attorneys are not required for a trial, but each party may have an attorney present. A jury may be requested up to three (3) days before the date the hearing is scheduled. The jury fee is $22.00 paid for by the party requesting.
- (5) The complaint may be filed after the notice to vacate has been delivered to the tenant and required notice has run. Fill the form out in every detail as we will not accept incomplete complaints:
- (A) Make sure the tenant's name and address is correct; driver license numbers and dates of birth are helpful.
- (B) A good address is important. The street address and legal description of the property should be included.
- (C) If back rent, court costs, and/or attorney's fees are being requested, this must be stated on the complaint. The total must be less than $20,000.00 (exclusive of court costs) when filed.
- (6) Filing fees are payable with a cashier's check or money order. NO personal checks.
- (7) A hearing will be scheduled about seven (7) days after the eviction is filed, both parties must appear. If the tenant fails to appear a judgment may still be awarded if the case warrants eviction.
- (8) Postponements are discouraged; however, if needed the hearing can be postponed up to seven (7) days with good cause.
- (9) At the hearing, the decision will be made as to who is entitled to possession of property, set damages and attorney's fees.
- (10) The court may issue a judgment which may include possession, costs, damages for rent, and attorney's fees.
- (11) Manufactured Home Communities
- (A) If a parcel is four or more lots offered for lease for installing owner occupied manufactured homes including RV's, the eviction procedures in Texas Property Code chapter 94 must be followed. If unfamiliar with chapter 94 Texas Property Code, legal advice from an attorney may be necessary.
- (B) Notice: A written notice to pay in full or vacate must be given to the tenant ten (10) days prior, unless stated otherwise in a lease agreement. This notice is similar to the one described in item (2d) above.
- (C) Filing: A petition may be filed after the notice has been delivered and the required time has passed. Note: if the tenant has disclosed the name and address of a lien holder as required by Texas Property Code 94.054, the lien holder must be notified of the proceedings with three (3) days of filing the eviction suit.
- (D) Post judgment remedies follow general rules for other evictions with a few exceptions.
- (12) Post Judgment Remedies:
- (A) Writ of Possession. May be obtained six (6) days after judgment is rendered. It gives the constable authority to deliver possession of the property to the entitled party:
- (1) It instructs the tenant(s) to move immediately and,
- (2) To move or allow to be moved, all personal property of the tenant(s); to a location outside the residence.
- (3) The constable will post notice of this action prior to it actually taking place.
- (B) Writ of Re-Entry. Available to a tenant who shows "probable cause" that he/she has been wrongfully denied use of rented property.
- (1) Requires a sworn complaint.
- (2) Requires service by a constable.
- (13) The losing party has five (5) days to appeal.
- (14) As in any case, this court will render its decision according to the law, the facts and what it deems fair to all parties involved.
- (15) The court will answer any procedural questions that are asked, but CANNOT give legal advice. Rules of evidence apply as in higher courts.
- (16) The laws are clear on tenant/landlord relationships. If there is not an understanding of the rights, consult an attorney. Acquiring and reading a copy of the current Texas Property Code 94 may also be helpful.
- (17) Fee Schedule:
|Filing||$ 46.00||$ 100.00 *||$ 146.00|
|Jury Fee||$ 22.00||NA||$ 22.00|
|Writ of Possession||$ 5.00||$ 150.00||$ 155.00|
|Writ of Re-Entry||$ 5.00||$ 150.00||$ 155.00|
|Abstract of Judgment||$ 5.00||NA||$ 5.00|
|*First Listed Defendant - $100.00; Each Additional Defendant On the|
|Same Cause Number - $25.00 Each|
|**First 2 Hours Per Deputy- $150.00; After Initial 2 Hours Per Deputy|
|$35.00 per Hour|