As a landlord, the complex and ever-evolving landscape of property management can be challenging. However, when disputes with tenants arise and eviction becomes necessary, the legal process can be easier with the right expertise and guidance. That’s where eviction lawyers come into play. In this comprehensive guide, we will see the vital role of eviction lawyers for landlords.
An eviction lawyer works in your best interests, from assisting you throughout the eviction process to ensuring compliance with local laws to safeguarding your rights and investments.
Whether you’re a seasoned property owner or a novice landlord, understanding the critical functions of eviction lawyers can give you the confidence to protect your property and make informed decisions when faced with tenant eviction-related disputes.
Let’s explore the essential aspects of how eviction lawyers empower you on your landlord journey.
How Does the Eviction Process Work?
Specific laws and regulations govern the eviction process in Texas. Landlords and tenants need to understand their rights and responsibilities to ensure a smooth legal eviction process.
Here’s a general overview of how the eviction process typically works in Texas:
Notice to Vacate
Before initiating an eviction, landlords must give tenants a written “Notice to Vacate.” The type of notice and the amount of time given depends on the landlord/ tenant and the reason for eviction:
- Non-Payment of Rent: If a tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord must provide a three-day notice to vacate, giving the tenant three days to pay the overdue rent or move out.
- Violation of Lease Terms: For lease violations (other than non-payment of rent), the landlord must give the tenant a notice specifying the lease violation and providing an opportunity to remedy the issue. The notice period is typically 30 days, but it can be as short as three days for severe violations.
- Month-to-Month Tenancy Termination: For month-to-month tenancies, landlords must provide a 30-day notice to terminate the tenancy without specifying a reason.
- Causing property damage: When a tenant causes significant harm to the rental property beyond normal wear and tear, the landlord may pursue eviction to protect their investment.
- Engaging in illegal activities on the premises: If a tenant is involved in unlawful actions within the rental unit, the landlord has grounds for eviction to maintain a safe and lawful environment.
- Breaching health and safety codes: If a tenant fails to adhere to health and safety regulations, the landlord may initiate eviction proceedings to ensure compliance with the required standards.
- Remaining on the property after the lease expires: When a tenant continues to occupy the rental unit after the lease agreement has expired, the landlord can begin the eviction process to regain possession of the property.
- Failure to vacate after receiving proper eviction notice: If a tenant disregards a legally valid notice to vacate, the landlord may seek eviction through the appropriate legal channels to regain possession of the property.
Filing an Eviction Lawsuit
If the tenant does not comply with the notice to vacate, the landlord can proceed by filing an eviction lawsuit in the appropriate Justice of the Peace (JP) court. The court will issue a summons, and the tenant will have a few days to respond.
The court will schedule a hearing where both the landlord and the tenant can present their cases. If the tenant fails to appear, a default judgment may be issued in favor of the landlord.
Judgment and Writ of Possession
A possession judgment will be issued if the court rules in the landlord’s favor. The court will provide a few days for the tenant to vacate voluntarily.
Writ of Possession
If the tenant refuses or does not leave, the landlord can request a Writ of Possession, which allows law enforcement to remove the tenant and their belongings from the property physically.
It’s important to note that specific local laws and court procedures can affect the eviction process. Landlords should seek legal counsel or assistance from eviction lawyers to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.
Self-Help Evictions Illegal
Additionally, Texas law prohibits “self-help” evictions, such as changing locks, shutting off utilities, or forcibly removing tenants without court involvement. Engaging in wrongful evictions can lead to legal consequences for landlords.
Residential and Commercial Evictions Are Different
Commercial and residential evictions in Texas differ significantly due to distinct laws, regulations, and considerations for each property type.
Residential evictions typically involve properties leased for personal living spaces, such as apartments, houses, or condominiums. In contrast, commercial evictions pertain to rental properties used for business purposes, such as offices, retail spaces, or industrial units.
One key difference lies in the notice requirements. For residential evictions, landlords must provide specific notices depending on the reason for eviction, such as a three-day notice for non-payment of rent or a 30-day notice for lease violations.
On the other hand, commercial evictions usually require a three-day notice to vacate, regardless of the reason for eviction. Commercial leases often have fewer statutory protections compared to residential leases.
Moreover, the grounds for eviction differ between the two types of properties. Residential evictions usually focus on non-payment of rent, lease violations, or holdover tenancy (remaining on the property after the first lease or rental agreement expires). In contrast, commercial evictions may encompass broader reasons, including breaches of lease terms, failure to maintain the property or changes in business ownership.
Additionally, commercial leases often involve more complex and negotiated terms compared to standard residential leases. As a result, commercial evictions may involve intricate legal interpretations of lease agreements and tenant responsibilities.
Overall, understanding the distinctions between residential and commercial evictions is crucial for both landlords and tenants to ensure compliance with the law and protect their respective rights and interests throughout the eviction process in Texas.
Seeking legal counsel from experienced commercial eviction lawyers can be beneficial for navigating the intricacies of these different eviction scenarios effectively.
What Does an Eviction Lawyer Do For You?
An eviction lawyer assists landlords throughout eviction, offering valuable legal guidance, protection, and representation.
Here are some key tasks and responsibilities an eviction attorney fulfills for landlords:
Understanding Local Laws
Eviction laws vary significantly from state to state and even within different municipalities. An eviction lawyer is well-versed in your area’s specific eviction laws and regulations, ensuring that the eviction process complies with all legal requirements.
Reviewing Lease Agreements
An experienced eviction lawyer who can thoroughly review your lease agreements to identify any potential loopholes or clauses that may impact the eviction process. They can also ensure that your leases are legally sound and provide proper grounds for eviction.
Serving Proper Notices
Different eviction situations require specific notices, such as a notice to pay rent or vacate, to cure lease violations, or to terminate a tenancy. Your lawyer will ensure the appropriate notices are served correctly to start the eviction process.
Filing the Eviction Lawsuit
If the tenant fails to comply with the initial notice, an eviction lawyer will file the eviction lawsuit on your behalf. They will handle all the necessary paperwork and ensure the lawsuit is submitted correctly to the appropriate court.
Representing You in Court
During the eviction hearing, your lawyer will represent you and present your case before the judge. They will argue in your favor, providing evidence and legal arguments to support the eviction case.
Handling Tenant Defenses
Tenants may raise defenses during the eviction process. Their eviction attorneys may claim uninhabitable living conditions or other retaliations. Your eviction lawyer will address these defenses and protect your rights as a landlord.
In some cases, eviction lawyers may negotiate with tenants to settle without going to court. This can be a faster and less costly option for resolving disputes and evicting tenants.
Obtaining Writ of Possession
If the court rules in your favor, an eviction lawyer or law firm will help you obtain a Writ of Possession, allowing law enforcement to remove the tenant if they fail to vacate voluntarily physically.
Ensuring Compliance with Tenant Rights
While representing your interests as a landlord, an eviction lawyer will also ensure that the eviction process respects the tenant’s legal rights and follows due process. This helps minimize the risk of legal challenges or claims of illegal or wrongful eviction.
Overall, having an eviction lawyer by your side provides you with expert legal guidance, reduces the likelihood of costly mistakes, and maximizes the chances of a successful eviction process while protecting your rights and interests as a landlord.
Our Experienced Eviction Lawyers Can Help
At Jarrett Law, we understand landlords’ challenges when dealing with problematic tenants and navigating the complex eviction process. Our team of experienced eviction lawyers is dedicated to providing comprehensive legal support tailored to your specific needs. Whether your landlord-tenant matters are a struggle or you own residential or commercial properties, we have the expertise to assist you throughout every stage of the eviction process.
When you partner with us, we thoroughly review your case and lease agreements to ensure they comply with local and federal government laws and regulations. Our in-depth knowledge of eviction laws in Texas allows us to craft compelling and legally sound notices and eviction filings. We serve the necessary notices on your behalf and handle all the paperwork involved, relieving you of the administrative burden.
As your advocates, we represent you in court, presenting a compelling case to the judge and countering any potential tenant defenses. Our goal is to protect your interests and achieve a swift resolution to regain possession of your property. In situations where negotiation is possible, we will work to reach a settlement that best aligns with your objectives.
Moreover, we are committed to upholding the rights of both landlords and tenants throughout the eviction process. Our thorough understanding of tenant rights ensures that your eviction is conducted legally and ethically, mitigating the risk of potential legal challenges.
When you choose Jarrett Law office, you can have confidence in our dedication, professionalism, and track record of successful outcomes. Let our experienced eviction lawyers guide you through the eviction process, providing the support and representation you need to safeguard your property investments.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward a smoother eviction process.