Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Eviction Process

The Eviction Process is complex, but the Austin Tenants' Council has an excellent detailed description of the process.  Here is a brief overview of the process that begins if the tenant does not move out after the landlord delivers a written Notice to Vacate to the tenant.

The landlord will file an eviction suit at the local Justice of the Peace court, after which the court clerk will give the eviction citation to the constable.  The constable is required to attempt to deliver the citation to the tenant twice at their home.  If the constable is unable to hand deliver the citation to the tenant, they may place it under the door or attach it to the front door and mail a copy. 

The Citation will include instructions and the date of when the eviction trial is to be held.  If you fail to show up for the trial, the landlord gets a default judgment against the tenant.  The court is required to send the tenant a written notice within two days of the entry of the judgment.

If you do go to court, both you and your landlord will be given the opportunity to present your cases.  The judge will make a decision and if they side with the landlord, the tenant has five days to vacate the apartment or appeal the decision.  If the judge decides in favor of the tenant, the landlord also has five days to file an appeal.  When you file an appeal, you have to pay an appeal bond or file a Pauper's Affidavit if you do not have the funds for an appeal bond.  The appeal process is very complicated, so if that is something you are interested in, the Austin Tenants' Council recommends you contact an attorney.

If a tenant doesn't leave the apartment or appeal, the landlord has to ask the judge for a Writ of Possession, a court order telling the constable or sheriff that the landlord is now in possession of the rental unit.  The landlord can now, under the supervision of the constable or sheriff, remove the tenant, occupants and all belongings from the unit.

Eviction is something no future landlord wants to see on your rental history, so you should do your best to avoid it at all costs.  But if you do have an eviction on your record, Apartment Specialists can work with you to try and find a new eviction friendly apartment where landlords are more likely to overlook an eviction.