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1st time Leasor....Tenant moved out over night Recovery of Premises

Discussion in 'Eviction, Recovery of Premises' started by alicia55, Oct 15, 2013.

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  1. alicia55

    alicia55 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am a first time landlord of a small home in Carrollton Tx. Rented a home out for a 6 month term. I allowed the tenant to pay security deposit over 3 months (my first mistake). Of course only 2/3 was paid. Tenant paid 2 months rent of a 6 month lease. Found out when I drove by to fix the toilet they broke they had literally moved out over night. They also had a pet, which was specified in the original agreement that no pets were allowed. Basically I know that I am out the deposit and pet issue. I would like to know how to proceed. They have not given notice and when I called they had "family issues" and had to relocate asap. Havent and don't plan on getting October rent. The lease states they must give a 60 day notice to vacate. We have worked with them on everything so I am shocked they didn't just discuss the issue. We wouldn't even know they moved out had we not gone to fix toilet. Basically I need to know what I can do as far as small claims or what not to get the 2 months rent they owe. It's already up to re-lease, but since they had a puppy there is a lot of work that has to be done to repair the place. They paid 2 months rent of a 6 mo lease, and never paid the full deposit (which I am not interested in pursuing) Please help!!!
    Thanks!!
     
  2. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    If you want to pursue, small claims court would be the way to go. You can sue in SCC without a lawyer. If you need to know the procedure, do a google search of small claims court in your county.
     
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You can bring a claim for unpaid rent and rent due on the entire lease.
    I won't bother mentioning the deposit, as they are no longer tenants.
    However, you can sue for damages, beyond NORMAL wear and tear, to the rental property.
    Such a lawsuit is normally brought in the JP Court presiding over the precinct and place where the property is located.
    However, in ALL small claims lawsuits in Texas, the defendant has the right to be sued in the JP Court presiding over the place, and precinct in the county where he or she resides currently.

    I've given a website for Carrollton JP Courts.

    http://dentoncounty.com/dept/main.asp?Dept=42&Link=171

    The information is instructional, because you'll be wise to locate the defendant and bring this lawsuit in the county, place, and precinct he/she currently reside.

    Now, here's the bad news.
    These creeps are deadbeats.
    Even if you prevail in your lawsuit and get a judgment for $8,000; they'll NEVER pay you.
    Heck, they couldn't pay monthly rent.

    Pursuing small claims actions are frustrating in Texas, unless you sue a well healed defendant.
    These deadbeats are bums.
    All you'll reap is more frustration, delays, and spending good money to chase bad.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, many people just want to show the bums.
    Remember, they can thwart you and you could find yourself traveling to El Paso or Beaumont for examples to pursue these matters.
    If I were in your position, I'd let it go.

    If you rent again, make sure you get ALL monies due and owed BEFORE you give possession to your prospective tenant.
    Being a small property landlord is very risky.
    If you can't pay the note without having a tenant, rethink being a landlord.
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    In Texas, a small claims defendant has the right to demand that a lawsuit be brought in county before the JP Court that presides over the precinct and place of his/her current residency.

    That can complicate the small claims plaintiff.

    Bottom line, if the defendant moved from Dallas to El Paso, you'd be forced to sue him in El Paso, not Dallas, or the JP Court where you live, or where he formerly lived.
     
  5. fredrikklaw

    fredrikklaw Moderator

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    No Small Claims Court!

    ALICIA55:

    The proper way to proceed in this situation is NOT through the Small Claims Court. This is a Landlord-Tennant dispute and as such should be litigated in the right court room which has original jurisdiction over such cases. Therefore the proper venue to proceed in this case would be the F.E.D. (Forcible Entry and Detainer) Department of your County Trial Court; also known as the Unlawful Detainer in other states.

    In other words, you are going to the Big House with proper judges presiding as opposed to Commissioners and Judge pro tem who oversee proceedings in Small Claims Courts. Because not only will you be suing the tenant for money damages arising from violation/breach of the lease, you will also have to sue for repossession of the property which only happens when the judge declares the lease forfeited and reverts to you the right of possession and reentry.
    With reverting (reversion) and repossession being the operative words here.

    Because even though the tenant has abandoned the lease and property and has moved on to pasture new, you still cannot, and should not feel at liberty to enter the rental property until a judge declares a lease forfeiture and gives back to you the right of possession.

    WARNING-BE AWARE: Enter the rental unit before obtaining a favorable judgment, and well, you would be committing breaking and entering and criminal trespass; remove any of the tenant’s personal property and you would be entering the realms of burglary and theft.

    So, you may kick off the proceedings by first downloading and printing the appropriate form. Then complete, file and serve defendant who will have only 5 days to answer the complaint, after which time the case will be set for trial within 20 days. Yes, a mere 20 days. And once you prevail at trial, you will have judgment recorded in your favor on basis of which you motion the court for a Writ of Possession and that would be the end of it.

    You can then take joy in entering and repossessing the property.

    fredrikklaw
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    In Texas, the court of landlord-tenant disputes is also our small claims court, Justice of the Peace.

    Unlike California, we have no specific landlord-tenant courts.

    http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PR/htm/PR.24.htm

    Appellate issues are then addressed at our County Courts.


    These are courts that sit below our District Trial Courts.

    County Courts hear most misdemeanors, and are courts of record.




    Eviction process in Texas

    An eviction in Texas, referred to as “forcible entry and detainer,” is a judicial process by which an owner recovers possession of real property and, if appropriate, a judgment for unpaid rent, attorney’s fees (if any), and court costs against a tenant or occupant. Evictions are governed by Section 24.01 of the Texas Property Code. They are appropriate if there exists a landlord-tenant relationship (with or without a written lease) or if a person is occupying real property without authority to do so.

    Evictions are conducted in Justice Courts that are located in various precincts around Texas counties. J.P. Courts have exclusive, original jurisdiction over possession of real property and the authority to decide cases involving damages up to $10,000.

    A landlord’s objective is usually to gain a writ of possession and a judgment. However, because collecting judgments against residential tenants can be quite difficult in Texas (because of the extensive list of property exempt from execution under the “homestead laws”), the residential landlord may occasionally choose to be content with a judgment for possession only. Further, because the process can be lengthy (upwards of 2 months in certain circumstances), a landlord and tenant may choose to negotiate a resolution during the eviction proceedings.





    Appealing an adverse judgment

    Within five calendar days of judgment, the tenant may (with or without good reason) appeal to the local county court at law. The appeal results in the file being packed up and sent to the county courthouse where it will be heard de novo (as a new case). The justice of the peace will set a cash appeal bond which may be three times the monthly rent. However, the cash bond may be waived if the tenant files an affidavit stating that he or she cannot afford it. The content of the "pauper’s bond" or "pauper’s affidavit" is now prescribed by statute and is considerably more complex than it used to be.

    Once a pauper’s affidavit is filed, the landlord has the right to request a hearing and contest the affidavit, alleging that the tenant does in fact have sufficient resources for the bond. The tenant can be questioned on the subject of his or her assets and income. It is generally pointless to go through this exercise, however, since pauper’s bonds are almost always approved by justices of the peace, and the file is then turned over to county court.

    If the tenant does not appeal within five days, the judgment of the justice court becomes final and the landlord may proceed to the enforcement phase by obtaining and serving a writ of possession. This requires going to the county clerk’s office and paying a nominal fee. The constable then serves the writ, but first usually posts a notice on the tenant’s door allowing 48 hours to move out. After that, the constable may show up with a truck, forcibly evict the tenant, and put the tenant's possessions in storage where charges accrue at the tenant’s expense.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
  7. alicia55

    alicia55 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    OK that being said...We realized they moved out when we were going to go fix a toilet problem they called with a few days prior. Obv when we entered the place was vacant. They had backed up the plumbing and we have had plumbing issues for the past week and people coming and going to repair the problems. We have been in there daily, so I guess we have already taken back possession. Would the best option at this point be just forget about it and move on? After we do the repairs we are going to get someone else in there to rent. We haven't legally taken possession back (which I didn't realize you had to do when the place was vacated and not paid for) and they still owe us money. Would it be best to just forget about it...but it sounds like we need to get them "officially outta there" before we do anything further?! I know what you are thinking...but we really didn't think that renting out a home was going to be so difficult.
    Thanks for all of the very helpful responses!!! Much appreciated
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    No one can tell you what to do.

    What I've observed is that when people try to short circuit the process, the deadbeat mysteriously appears and says they were ILLEGALLY evicted by THE LANDLORD's actions.

    In fact, that claim may have some merit at this point.

    I suggest you do what the law requires to protect yourselves from the greedy actions of a deadbeat leach.
     

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