Talking about the eviction process in Texas might seem negative and depressing but as landlords, we need to think about evictions and know how to handle them. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself at a big loss. Today we’re discussing what not to do, how to manage the process, and some of the costs associated with evictions.
What Not to Do During Evictions
What you really need to watch out for is what not to do. You can’t go and change the locks because your tenant is late paying rent. You don’t want to shut off the power or disable a functioning part of the property. Don’t take the front door off. You’ll get into more trouble than it’s worth and doing these things will violate the law. Don’t do anything rash. Know your local and state laws when you’re evicting.
The Eviction Process
You can file an eviction for any breach of the lease, but the most common reason for eviction is nonpayment of rent. So if the tenant is late, you need to start with the proper notices. When you post a notice, it has to be done at the property and in specific locations. At Austin Landmark, we use a 24 Hour Notice to Vacate. This is a strongly worded letter that tells the tenants they are delinquent and have 24 hours to vacate before an eviction is filed. After that notice is posted, wait the 24 hours and then file the eviction in court. Get the right precinct because there are many different precincts around the counties. If you get it wrong, they will kick it back and the process will be delayed, which means more time and more money loss.
General Eviction Costs
Typically, the cost for the eviction hearing is $150 per person. If you have multiple tenants, it’s going to cost you more money. In Texas, your property manager can represent you in court when you’re evicting for non-payment of rent. If you’re evicting for too many parties or unauthorized dogs, your Austin property management company cannot do it for you. In those cases, you must represent yourself or hire an attorney.
Preparing for Court
When you’re getting ready for court, make sure you have copies of necessary documents for the tenant, the court, and yourself. That includes the lease, the tenant ledger, and other documents such as your 24-hour notice. Everything is pretty cut and dry. Proving the tenant didn’t pay rent is easy, and we almost always win and get possession of the property warded back to us. At that point, the tenant will have five days to move out. If that doesn’t happen, notify the court and get a Writ of Possession. That’s where the court assigns a sheriff’s deputy to meet you at the property on a specified date to oversee the peaceful removal of tenant property. The sheriff oversees the physical removal of tenant property from the house. Everything is put on the street for 24 hours, and then you come back the next day to remove them.
Hiring an attorney to manage the eviction for you can cost you the equivalent of a full year of property management fees. Avoid attorneys and evictions when you can. Make sure your tenants are properly screened, and talk with your property manager about whether the tenants are guaranteed You’ll also want to know if they will represent you in court. We do all these things, so ask those good questions.
If you have any questions about the eviction process, please contact us at Austin Landmark Property Services.