Texas Evictions Lawyer
As a landlord in Texas, you and your tenant have a responsibility to each other. You take care of the property, while the tenant agrees to make their rent payments on time. Should they fail to pay, you have the right to evict them. However, there are several steps you need to take first.
At White & Mejias, we offer eviction services to landlords, property owners, apartment complexes, and property management companies across Texas. We understand the urgent difficulties that underscore eviction cases and are committed to handling them as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Why Hire White & Mejias For Your Eviction Requirements?
Evictions are often complex and time-sensitive matters. Choosing White & Mejias for your eviction requirements provides you with several compelling advantages:
- Exclusive Landlord Representation: Our practice is exclusively dedicated to representing landlords and property managers. We do not represent tenants, ensuring that our focus is entirely aligned with your interests.
- Statewide Reach: We service all 254 counties throughout Texas. Our extensive experience across the state allows us to navigate local laws and regulations with precision, no matter where your property is located.
- Personalized Approach: At White & Mejias, we understand that no two eviction cases are identical. We take the time to understand your unique situation and craft strategies tailored to your specific needs and goals.
- Quick and Efficient Resolution: Our managing partners have practiced in more than 50 counties and acquired valuable insights into the quickest and most effective ways to handle eviction cases depending on the judge, precinct, and county. We aim to resolve matters promptly, saving you time and stress.
- Avoiding Cookie-Cutter Solutions: Unlike impersonal service companies, we don’t leave you stranded if your case doesn’t fit a one-size-fits-all model. We are prepared to handle even the most challenging eviction scenarios.
- Special Pricing for Property Managers: Our firm offers special eviction fees for property managers. Please visit our Fees and Prices page to learn more.
By hiring White & Mejias for your eviction requirements, you are partnering with seasoned attorneys dedicated to your success. Your property deserves the best legal representation and we are here to provide it.
Most Common Reasons to Evict
The decision to evict a tenant is usually driven by specific circumstances that undermine the relationship between the landlord and tenant. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common reasons:
- Nonpayment Of Rent: Nonpayment of rent is perhaps the most straightforward reason for eviction. Rent is typically due at a specified time each month, and failure to pay it constitutes a breach of the rental agreement. If a tenant consistently fails to pay rent on time or stops paying altogether, a landlord may have no choice but to initiate eviction proceedings.
- Lease Violation: Leases include various terms and conditions that tenants agree to abide by, such as no smoking, no pets, or limits on the number of occupants. If a tenant repeatedly or egregiously violates these terms, the landlord may seek eviction.
- Holding Over Past a Rental Term: If a tenant continues to occupy a property after the lease term has expired without the landlord’s consent, it is known as “holding over.” Whether the lease was for a fixed term or month-to-month, the tenant must vacate the property when the term ends or negotiate a renewal. Failure to do so can lead to eviction.
- Roommate or Unwanted Houseguest: Sometimes tenants allow roommates or house guests to stay without the landlord’s consent, leading to overcrowding or violations of the lease. If these additional occupants become problematic or remain on the property without the primary tenant’s presence, the landlord may seek to evict them.
- Post-Foreclosure: When a property goes through foreclosure, the new owner (often a bank or financial institution) may seek to evict any existing tenants.
Working with experienced eviction lawyers like those at White & Mejias can help ensure that the eviction process is handled correctly and in accordance with the law. Let us protect your rights and interests as a property owner.
How Do I Legally Evict a Tenant?
In Texas, the eviction process begins with the issuance of a Notice To Vacate. This notice must include certain information, including the reason for eviction. Unless the lease agreement says otherwise, you must give the tenant at least three days to move out. Once the notice is delivered, you must wait for the prescribed time to expire before taking any further action. (Prematurely filing a lawsuit could lead to a judge dismissing the case.)
Should the tenant refuse to leave after proper notice, you must file a lawsuit known as a Petition for Forcible Detainer at the local court. After the court sets a date, the tenant needs to be served with a copy of the petition. The precinct’s local constable will be the one actually serving the tenant with the petition and lawsuit paperwork. Both parties then present their case at the subsequent hearing. If you demonstrate a superior right to the property, the judge will grant you possession, giving the tenant five days to vacate, appeal, or remain without appealing.
If the tenant fails to appear, a default judgment may be awarded to you. Should the tenant remain without appealing after five days, a Writ of Possession can be requested. Once this writ is issued, the tenant has 24 hours to vacate. Failure to comply can lead to physical removal by authorities, with the landlord responsible for moving belongings to the street or curb. Some counties may offer moving assistance, but rules can vary. Just because the writ of possession notice is posted does not mean the constable will be scheduling the lock out the very next day. Most counties are around a 1-2 week waiting period to actually get the writ of possession and move out scheduled. You will want to be sure you have movers and a locksmith ready on the day of the move out to make things most effective with the constable’s office.
What if My Tenant Appeals the Eviction?
In Texas, a tenant has five days after the judgment to file an appeal. This initiates a “trial de novo,” meaning the case is tried again as if the original trial never happened. It doesn’t matter what happened at the Justice Court. The case is heard over again in front of a higher judge for a new decision to be made. If the eviction was due to nonpayment of rent, the tenant is usually required to deposit an amount equal to one month’s rent into the court’s registry within five days of filing the appeal.
The case will be sent to the county court in the same county where the suit was filed. Both you and the tenant will need to appear before the judge to present your cases once again. You are generally required to file a notice of hearing, exhibit list, and a few other documents to be successful at the appeal. If the tenant does not make the required payment into the court registry, you may obtain a Writ of Possession to regain control of the property, but the appeal hearing will still proceed.This is a temporary mechanism that allows you to gain possession of the property while the appeal is pending. Please keep in mind that your tenant appealed so at this point you do NOT have a judgment against them for ANYTHING.
During the hearing, the county court judge will evaluate the case and determine whether the original ruling was correct. This decision could affirm or overturn the original judgment, depending on the evidence and arguments presented.
An appeal doesn’t necessarily mean the tenant will win, but it does mean that the eviction process can become more involved and time-consuming. Hiring an eviction lawyer in The Woodlands will help you respond more effectively and give you the best chance of reclaiming your property more quickly. Tenant attorneys generally can win when landlord’s do not have attorneys at this stage by winning on a technicality. Don’t let that be you! Call us today.
Can I Change the Locks or Shut Off Utilities to Force a Tenant to Leave?
In Texas, changing the locks or shutting off utilities to force a tenant to leave is generally considered illegal. We would NEVER recommend doing this. These actions, which are also known as a lockout or self-help eviction, can be taken only under very specific circumstances and must comply with certain legal procedures.
Shutting off utilities like water, electricity, or gas as a method to force a tenant to vacate the property is typically illegal under Texas law. In most cases, it’s advisable to follow the legal eviction process through the courts rather than attempting a lockout or utility shutoff.
Get a free consultation with a Texas Evictions Lawyer today.
Whether you’re facing a simple non-payment situation or dealing with a more complex legal challenge, you need experienced, dedicated legal representation to protect your interests and properties. White & Mejias offers the skilled guidance and quick resolution that you need in these critical situations.
With our team by your side, you can confidently move through the eviction process, knowing that your case is handled with precision and care. We are committed to providing superior service to landlords, property owners, and management companies across the state of Texas. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, call (713) 818-7116 or contact us online today.