Property management in Texas presents a unique set of challenges, and if anyone ever told you that it was easy, then they were being disingenuous. Property management companies must deal with plumbing and electrical issues, storm damage, and infestations by rodents, insects, and other pests, just to name a few of the issues that might arise. One of the most difficult of situations, though, is when you’re trying to evict some troublesome tenants and they’re reluctant to leave. Let’s explore this issue in a little more depth so that you can understand some of the complexities if you encounter this situation with one of your properties.
The Basics of Eviction in Texas
Every state has regulations governing evictions. In Texas, the court system has the final word on them, and a process has been set up which attempts to be fair to both landlords and tenants so that neither one nor the other is mistreated.
To start with, it should be acknowledged that the courts are inclined to take a pro-tenant stance. You might feel that the law is unquestionably going to be on your side if the tenant has not paid their rent for months, and they show no willingness to vacate the property.
However, if you don’t follow the state’s best practices as it relates to the eviction process or you make a glaring mistake with your paperwork then it’s entirely possible that the tenant will win the court ruling. A judge might decide to throw the case out, or they might make you start over, a process that can be as frustrating as it is time-consuming.
For Texas Evictions, a Late Notice is the First Step
If you want a tenant out, the first thing you’ll need to do is send them a late notice. Your legal protection is going to be the lease. If your lease does not state explicitly when the rent is due each month, how much it is, and what the penalties are going to be for late payment, then you have only yourself to blame if you have trouble evicting a bothersome tenant down the line. That’s one of the best reasons to hire a property management company: it’s because they have expertise in drawing up leasing documents that you might not possess.
The Three-Day Notice to Pay or Vacate
Next up will come the Three-Day Notice to Pay or Vacate. This is a step up in the process because it lets the tenant know in no uncertain terms that they are on the clock. This notice can be posted on the door, or it can be sent by certified mail.
If you post it, make sure that you have documentation of your actions. Take a picture or a cell phone video, and provide some narration as you do it. The more evidence you have that you followed the eviction laws to the letter, the better off you will be in court. Make doubly sure that the date is on the notice and that it is not missing any of the required information.
Avoid Confrontations with the Tennant, Texas Landlords
If you run into the tenant when you are posting either the first notice or this second one then you should be unfailingly polite in addressing them. Don’t yell or make threatening remarks about the rent that’s owed, and never under any circumstances get physical. If the tenant does something to goad you on, extricate yourself from the situation in a hurry. Also, take note if there are any witnesses to the tenant’s action. They might come in handy later if there is a long, drawn-out court battle.
Filing the Eviction in a Texas Court
If the tenant has ignored the Three-Day Notice to Pay or Vacate, then you are within your legal rights to make them appear in court. This is a rarity, however. Most tenants don’t want to go through a court date, and they’ll prefer to pay the money that’s due instead. However, somewhat surprisingly, certain tenants enjoy being litigious. They relish the opportunity to appear in court to argue in front of a judge. If you have a tenant like this, then a court date might be unavoidable. That’s when all of your documentation is going to come into play.
The Hearing Date
When you go to court and do the eviction filing, then you will receive a hearing date. How soon it will be depends on how backed up the court system is at that moment. The court will then send out a notification, compelling the tenant to appear on the appointed date. If the tenant fails to show up on the date stated, then you should be able to win your case with no further problems.
If the tenant shows up, then each one of you will present your side of the story, along with any material evidence that you have collected. Be sure that before you appear in court you have a full understanding of what to expect. If you were meticulous about the way you went through the process, then there is a good chance that you will win. Then you can evict your tenant, and you can get some new residents for your property hopefully within a matter of weeks.
Why You Need a Property Management Company for Your Texas Property
It is precisely because of situations like this that so many Texas property owners feel like they need our landlord rescue services. We know how to draft legal documents that are airtight and don’t have any ambiguous language when it comes to what will happen when a tenant is consistently late with their monthly payments. We’re also excellent with tenant communication, so you don’t have to ever talk to one of your tenants yourself. That can save you many potential headaches.
It’s true that you have to pay a property management company, but if you ever have to go through the whole eviction process yourself, then it’s highly likely it’s not something you’ll ever want to do again. If you’re in this position, then contact Pyramis. We can dramatically simplify the property rental process for you with our extensive list of management services, and we have lots of satisfied clients who will verify this.