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Old 10-28-2008, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Sugar Land, TX
4 posts, read 25,012 times
Reputation: 18

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what should a landlord do to collect back rent from a tenant, i've heard from numerous "experts" that it is hard to get anything back once they are evicted, and do i have to go to court to evict the tenant once the contract is ended and a 30 days notice has been sent, can i just call the police and say they have no right to be there?

thanks for any help.

Last edited by BstYet2Be; 10-28-2008 at 09:46 PM.. Reason: moved from the Houston forum
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
4,753 posts, read 12,320,270 times
Reputation: 3224
I don't know the answer but I heard Mr. Landlord speak at a conference once and he was a terrific speaker. He seemed to know his stuff. On the Web site, you can ask questions to other landlords and they will answer.
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Old 10-28-2008, 09:58 PM
 
Location: Long Beach, CA
2,072 posts, read 11,076,774 times
Reputation: 1743
I don't know what your laws are in your State, but where I live you have to go through the courts.
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:04 PM
 
Location: NW Montana
6,258 posts, read 12,909,633 times
Reputation: 3429
Quote:
Originally Posted by puffmiao View Post
what should a landlord do to collect back rent from a tenant, i've heard from numerous "experts" that it is hard to get anything back once they are evicted, and do i have to go to court to evict the tenant once the contract is ended and a 30 days notice has been sent, can i just call the police and say they have no right to be there?

thanks for any help.
Read your rental agreement, you should understand what you agreed to with your tenant. The eviction process is only to return the property to the owner, it has nothing to do with monies due. That in accordance with your state laws has to be delt with in another manner such as small claims court. Call your local landlord association, they should be able to guide you. You will have to be exact with your proceedings or the judgement might go against you. Good Luck.
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Columbia MO
1,714 posts, read 1,863,785 times
Reputation: 2048
Yes, you have to go to court to evict. You cannot call the police and just have them do the eviction for you, and you cannot take self-help steps like taking the front door away. You can change the lock, but you will have to give the tenant the key to the new lock if he asks for it. Theoretically, you can sue them for back rent as part of the eviction process (called "forcible detainer" or "forcible entry and detainer"), and you may get a judgment against them. but it's traditionally very difficult to collect on that judgment, and scarcely worth the effort. I think it also takes longer. Basically, you should be cutting your losses and getting them out. Once started, the forcible detainer process, which is always filed in justice of the peace court, is pretty quick, maybe 3-5 weeks from filing suit to when the constable actually forcibly evicts them, if it comes to that. You'll have to give the tenant notice of the intent to evict-- I don't remember if it's possible to do that after filing the forcible detainer action in JP court or not. You'll also have to file suit in the JP court for the precinct where the property is located. If you don't know that or if you're not sure (and I would recommend this in any case), contact the county clerk's office or the JP court, give them the address, and ask which precinct it's in. You should also be able to get some assistance from the court clerk at the JP court. They probably have fill in the blank forms.

As to your question of evicting once the lease term is ended-- you still have to go to JP court to evict. By Texas law, a term lease automatically turns into a month-to-month lease unless the lease says otherwise, and it probably doesn't. Even if it does, it's not going to authorize self-help. You have to go through the forcible detainer process.

You really shouldn't be asking a random collection of strangers this question, if you need the rent money or care about the condition of your rental property-- that portion of your livelihood depends on your doing eviction right. I just happen to be surfing by, and yes, I am a lawyer licensed in Texas, although I haven't lived there in a decade.

Here's one more warning-- do this wrong, and you may find yourself on the wrong end of a judgment that, theoretically, could cost you your rental property. There are some hungry lawyers out there who make a living by represent people who they know can't pay their fees-- so they look for cases where they can file a juicy counterclaim against the landlord for breaking the law. You may want to contact some attorneys in the area who are board certified in real estate and see what they would charge. It's probably a lot, but it might be cheap insurance against having it all blow up in your face...which I have seen happen.

I'm wondering if there are more clueless landlords in the Houston area...maybe I need to move back and start giving seminars. I'm not picking on you, but for you to be ignorant of these laws is a ticking time bomb. If you do want to read up more on eviction and Texas landlord-tenant law in general, look for Texas-specific information. Most books on the subject are written for all 50 states, and simply leave a lot of Texas-specific stuff out.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Sugar Land, TX
4 posts, read 25,012 times
Reputation: 18
thanks cyrano, your post was very helpful, i guess i will go through forcible detainer then hand it over to a property management company.

and thanks to all the other posters,
go rockets tonight!
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