Court eviction for problematic tenants - Is it worth it?

Asked by Mc, Houston, TX Wed Apr 9, 2008

I have a holdover tenant who has been staying at my rental property for 3 weeks now without paying any rent. What are the process of eviction? Can I claim for the unpaid rent and damages incur due to the holdover tenant? Does it worth the effort?

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Bruce Lynn, Agent, Coppell, TX
Wed Apr 9, 2008
How else are you going to get them out? I am not an attorney, but here is a very quick overview of the process. Process is typically pretty simple. First you have to give them notice to vacate in the appropriate method tied to your lease and/or the JP court. Typically you can post a 3 day notice on the back of the door or give it to them in person. Some people like to mail it return receipt, but this takes longer and is not required. Some people give a notice PAY or QUIT, but many JPs are moving to wanting you to give the tenant UNCONDITIONAL notice.....that means QUIT only---VACATE only not Pay or Quit. Once the three days has passed , you go to the JP court that has jurisdiction. Typically they'll want you to fill out a pretty simple form about the property your name, the tenant's name etc. and pay your court fee and service fees. They'll serve the tenant with notice of the eviction hearing. This again is typically pretty quick something like 5-10 days. Then you go to court. Even if they are out you still go to court. Typcially tenant does not show up. If they don't you should win with only a couple of questions by the judge. If they show up then the judge will typically ask why they are there and if they have paid rent. When they say no they haven't paid, the judge will then ask you a couple of qq and find in your favor. In the eviction I think you can only get unpaid rent and court costs. If you want damages then you have to go to small claims court in another case. If you want to act quickly during the case you should ask judge if you can post bond for immediate possession (something like $1000). Some JPs have a form for this some don't. If you do this you can get the property back as fast as 24-48hrs. The court has to serve the tenant the eviction and normally will give them 24hrs to get out. If they're not out then you can go with the constable to force them out. Typically you need movers to clear the house and the constable will inventory the contents. If you don't file the bond, then you may have to wait several more days before you can get posession...maybe 5-6 days instead of 24-48hrs. You'll probably be shocked at how fast the trail goes...I think my last one lasted about 1-2mins. If you can't take off work to go to JP court to file and attend the case there are sometimes eviction services around that can do it for you. I think here in the Dallas area they only charge about $100 to do this, plus your court costs. Good luck. I don't think the law requires it, but JP may ask you for a copy of the vacate notice, a copy of the lease, and proof of payments made or not made. I'm not sure how you prove they didn't make payments (although I think I have a solution). If you can have all of these it can help your case, but I think the law only requires the sworn statement of the landlord.
Web Reference:
2 votes
James Gordon…, Agent, Hamilton, OH
Wed Apr 9, 2008
Mc if you don't file for eviction you will never get them out. For the specific actions you need to follow go down to the clerks office where you would file and ask them for the steps to follow. They can not give you legal advice but be nice and they will tell you where to get the proper forms and if you are kind to them they may doulbl check it to make sure that they are filled out right.
Do not try to set these people out without going through a legal eviction as you will be in the wrong and if they sue it will cost you a whloe lot more than lost rent and legal fees which you can sue them for.
I have only done 1 eviction where I got the money that I was awarded but I had to garnish wages to get get that. By the way do you have their original lease you are going to need that and the application would be nice to have as that should have the tenants SS number on it.
Web Reference:
1 vote
Ken Manfredi, Agent, Houston, TX
Mon Feb 25, 2013
First I would send an immediate 30 day notice of cancellation. Let them know that you intend to terminate their lease. Most leases require a 30 day notice by either party.

Second if you have a valid lease and there is an amount specified for the tenant to pay, you need to send a three day notice to vacate or cure. It should be clear that the notice is for non payment of rent. If they do not respond you will have to go to your local court and start the eviction process.

I am not an attorney and can not give any legal advice but eviction and damages are two different courts. Please consult your attorney for that part. I can tell you that Ive never collected past rent and fees.

Good LUCK!
0 votes
Mike Matthews, Other Pro, Houston, TX
Sat Feb 23, 2013
No you can not collect any unpaid rent. You must send a 40 day notice of posssion to the troubled tenent, that explains the you bought the home and on what date. Send a copy of the deed with it. Let them know they have 30 days to vacate the home or you will begin an eviction suit against them.
0 votes
Doug Ison, Both Buyer And Seller, Houston, TX
Sat Jan 17, 2009
I do evictions as a business and there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have had several tenants pay back rent as high is $8000.00 and one recently paid $3250.00. Although you do have those that will take you through the system, don't just give in and pay them. There are good attorneys out there, but a service like ours is much cheaper and many times more affective. Because most people don't want the eviction on the records plus you will get a judgment against them as well. Many times the judgment is worthless because these people don't have real property and will probably never have it. Send the 3 Day and be willing to negotiate. If they owe a lot get what you can and then the next time they are late, don't wait start right away.
0 votes
Janelle Wilt…, Agent, Marysville, WA
Wed Apr 9, 2008
So let me offer you a little different perspective on this... we recently evicted one of our tenants and it ended up costing us $8000 in attorny's fees and lost rent. If I had it to do all over again I would tell the tenant to move and upon them leaving the property in good shape I would pay them $500 (or even $1000). Here's why. So you issue the eviction notice, they don't leave, you get a court order, judge says they have to leave, in the mean time they are trashing the place causing thousands of dollars in damage. Then the day comes where the sherrif is supposed to escort them off the premises... they can file bankruptcy and the process starts all over with bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy homestead law says you can't take away "their home"... EVEN THOUGH IT IS YOUR HOME! It will cost you TONS of money and TONS of time and TONS of damage to the place. Get them out with as little pain as possible... even if it means PAYING them to leave. Believe me, you will be glad you did. If you file to evict it will be a minimum of a 30 day process. Who knows what kind of damage will be done in that time. Let them know your intentions... they can leave the easy way with some cash in their pocket or the hard way by having them physically removed. Get them out and get it re-rented. That is the best way to minimize your loss. Once they are out... you can file to personally lein them for the lost rent. If they file bankruptcy you will get absolutely nothing! Just be aware that tenants are becoming saavy of the eviction process. They know how long they have an how to jump through the hoops to buy themselves more time. I don't mean to be so negative about it but I know a lot of agents with rentals and my experience is not an isolated event... it is happening more frequently than any of us would like. GOOD LUCK!
0 votes
Paul B. Perez, , Austin, TX
Wed Apr 9, 2008
Don't forget to run a check in the military database. The JP in my area requires this along with a signed affidavit. Bruce covered the rest. You can go through this or tell the tenant that you will pay them a $100 bucks to get out! In regard to the worth, let me put it this way; would you rather pay the eviction cost or cover your tenants rent until they feel like paying rent?
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Wed Apr 9, 2008
I am a Dallas real estate agent and a Dallas real estate investor have evicted tenant. See you property as a business. Do a landlord lien HOWEVER it also depends on how the lease agreement is authored.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Janine Love, Agent, The Woodlands, TX
Wed Apr 9, 2008
I think the simple answer is YES. This is the only way to get them out. Hand them a 3 Day Notice to Pay Or Quit. Include the full months rent & late charges. When the 3 days are up, you can file with the court system. Make sure to include ALL charges owed (rent, court costs & late fees up to the day of filing). You should get a tentative court date the date of filing. The tenants should be served within a few days to a week. Court dates normally take approx. 3 weeks. Make sure you check occpancy prior to going, and make sure to go to court. even if they are out. Normally tenants don't show at the court hearing, so you will win the judgement by default. If they do show, they will normally be told they have 6 days to move or the Constables will do a lockout. You can get a writ of execution/judgement after the 6 days and it will should go on their credit report. A Real Estate Attorney can help you with any legal questions you might have, but our company used to do evictions for our landlords (we haven't had to do it in quite some time - knock on wood). Hope this helps.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more