In Texas, if you’re served with a “Notice to Quit,” it’s essential to take action immediately. This document shows that the person or company who owns your mortgage has started the eviction process. If you don’t take legal action and refuse to leave, you can face charges for a “Forcible Detainer.” This charge means that law enforcement forcibly removes you from your home!

However, there is hope! Depending on your situation, you may be able to fight your eviction successfully. Let’s look at the steps you need to take to protect your home and rights.

What is a Forcible Detainer in Texas?

If you are a homeowner in Texas, it’s essential to know about forcible detainers. A forcible detainer happens when you stay in your home after you receive a Notice to Quit. 

In other words, if you refuse to leave your home after receiving notice that your mortgage lender has started the eviction process, you can be charged with forcible detainer.

Not only is this a crime, but it can also lead to law enforcement coming to your home and removing you by force! This happening is a worst-case scenario that no one wants to face. That’s why, if you receive a Notice to Quit, you must take action immediately and find legal help.

Depending on your situation, you may be able to successfully fight your eviction with help from a Texas real estate foreclosure attorney.

What are my Rights as a Homeowner in Texas?

When fighting your eviction, you must know your rights as a homeowner in Texas. First and foremost, you should know you have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, there are programs that can help you get legal assistance.

You also have the right to challenge the eviction in court. If you have a valid defense against the eviction, such as not being behind on your mortgage payments, you may successfully fight the eviction.

It’s important to note that even if you have a valid defense, it’s still best to seek legal help.

The Eviction Process in Texas

The county constable’s office issues eviction notices with a set court date for an eviction hearing. After the judge renders a decision, the former owner has a limited time to depart or appeal it.

If the former owner is still in residence after the given number of days, the constable will affix a “Notice to Quit” to the front door giving even less time for you to depart.

The constable can remove occupants and place their belongings outside the home physically. If this happens, you can face criminal charges for a “forcible detainer.”

The Texas foreclosure eviction process can last a short time, taking less than two months from your first notice until law enforcement enforces eviction.

Make an Appeal Against Eviction

In TX, there is a mandatory five-day appeal period after the hearing. You can appeal to the court to rehear your side of the story during this time. If you lose at the hearing and want to appeal, an attorney can help you win the next round if you have a case.

Consult a lawyer to find out what laws may apply in your situation if you have not already done so.

The Process

According to Texas Law, it takes approximately three weeks for eviction to happen.

  •  3 days from notice to vacate to the filing of the suit
  •  8-10 days to serve the citation -The law requires the defendant have at least six days but no more than 10 days notice before the hearing.
  •  5 days to appeal the suit following the hearing required by law.
  •  2 days -Constable is required by law to post a 24 hour vacate notice on the Writ of Possession
  • 20-23 days is the minimum time to evict someone in any County in Texas. Any eviction suit is also subject to appeal to the County Courts

How to Respond to a Notice to Quit

In Texas, you should take it seriously if you receive a notice to quit or a forcible detainer notice. These documents are legal notice that your lender intends to file suit against you or remove you from the home. 

If you have any questions about the notices or the eviction process, you can contact an experienced real estate attorney.

The Importance of Legal Assistance

The problem is that most of us understand the importance of legal documentation. However, we don’t know what this legal jargon means in real life.

Just FYI: All large banks have attorneys on staff to throw complicated legal language at you and make you feel so perplexed that you just give up and let the bank foreclose.

Legalese has grown so complicated that it’s almost impossible to understand without the aid of a legal professional. There is a reason law school lasts for 3 years! Rather than attempting to figure it all out overnight, seek legal advice.

Many firms in the Houston area are willing to do a free consultation to help you understand your rights and options as a homeowner. Get a lawyer in your corner by looking for foreclosure and eviction defense attorneys.

Other Ways to Fight an Eviction

Call the Lender or Bank and Ask for Forbearance

After receiving notice of delinquency from your lender or bank, a good next step would be to call the bank and ask for a forbearance. Forbearance is a special agreement between you and the lender to delay the foreclosure on a home and is part of your homeowner options in Houston.

Typically, banks and lenders do not want to foreclose on a home because they lose money during the process. If you can show that there is a way for you reasonably to pay the mortgage within the next several months, many institutions are willing to delay a foreclosure. Use this time to look for extra work, put in for overtime at your current job, or look for a new job.

What About Cash for Keys Programs?

If fighting a legal battle isn’t something you want to do just yet, another option is to look into the Cash for Keys program. Cash for Keys is a program that helps both banks and homeowners facing foreclosure and eviction. You’re essentially selling your home back to the bank, lender, or HOA, in exchange for money and release from your mortgage obligation.

Here is how it works: as a homeowner, you can approach your lender and agree upon a mutual date when you will vacate the home. As a way to help you relocate to a new home and cover the cost of moving, the bank or lending institution will give you an agreed-upon amount of cash, contingent upon you moving out on that date. Hence, cash for keys. Of course, hiring a lawyer to negotiate cash for keys will ensure that you’re not taken advantage of in this process.

Going through a foreclosure can be a difficult and life-altering experience. If you cannot put up a legal fight against your lender, ask them to give you a Cash for Keys option.

We Can Help

At Facing Foreclosure Texas, we work hard to ensure that you understand all of your alternatives as a homeowner. We can help put you on the road to stability whether you negotiate with the bank, seek legal assistance, or participate in Houston’s Cash for Keys program. Contact us today to get started finding your way.