How does the WRIT of Possession work for Harris County and Texas

man-carrying-boxI have actually noticed a pattern in the last months of a growing number of renters choosing not to leave a landlord’s rental home even after the property owner has acquired a judgment of eviction versus the tenant and then need for a Writ of Possession (“writ”). As a result of this trend increasingly more landlords are being forced to go through the procedure of having the writ executed. The execution of the writ is the procedure where the Constable gets rid of the non-vacating renter out of the house and returns ownership of the home to the property owner.

WRIT Background Details:

Many eviction claims have 3 reasons for action or claims. The first cause of action is for return of the rental home. This is typically described as the “eviction” part in Harris County. The 2nd and 3rd reasons for action pertain to the cash that the tenant might owe the property owner. The 2nd cause refers to the past due rent that might be owed and the 3rd cause describes any claims for physical damages to the house and/or holdover damages. Together the 2nd and 3rd causes of action are typically referred to as the “Judgment.”.

tenants-give-fraudulent-checkThis post will concentrate on the First reason for action normally, and particularly, on what a property owner should do s/he has been granted a judgment of eviction and received a WRIT of Possession however the tenant continues to reside in the unit.

A property owner usually acquires a judgment of eviction to get the WRIT in one of three methods. Initially, the renter cannot show for court and the landlord is approved a default judgment. Second, the occupant appears in court and contests the expulsion therefore requiring an eviction trial to an appeal judge. Presuming the property manager shows his/her case, the landlord gets a judgment of eviction and is given a WRIT. Third, the occupant appears in court and confesses that they are in breach of the lease and the court commissioner or judge grants a judgment of eviction against the tenant based on his/her admission and the court grants the eviction to issue a writ.

Many property managers incorrectly think that after they obtain a judgment of eviction and a writ that they can then change the locks and toss out the tenants personal property if the tenant cannot leave. Please do not do this. If the renter fails to leave the unit, even after there has actually been a judgment and a writ provided, the only legal way to get rid of the tenant is to employ the Constable and to have the writ performed If a landlord tries to unlawfully force out an occupant (likewise described as a “self-help” expulsion) the property owner is opening himself/herself up to either civil or criminal liability, or both. The renter can take legal action against the proprietor that took part in a self-help eviction for double damages and lawyer costs. While it may appear “unreasonable” to need the landlord to expend more money and time after they have already acquired a judgment of eviction against a non paying occupant, that is what the law requires.

The Writ of Ownership:.

In addition to getting a judgement of eviction comes the issuance of a Writ of Possession (writ). A writ is a document that orders the Constable to force out the tenant and anybody else that has occupancy of the rental. The writ also consists of added info that will aid the Constable in executing the writ, such as the name and address and phone number of the property manager, the proprietor’s attorney, and the defendant/tenant.

In Harris County the court does not give you a writ. Rather the court provides you an Authorization for Writ. The landlord must then take that Authorization to the Clerk of Courts and pay a fee in order to acquire the real writ. The landlord or agent should then complete the writ and it is then offered to the Constable.

A writ is only legitimate for 30 days. If a property owner does not obtain the writ for the Constable within the 30 day period the writ will end and the landlord will need to start the entire eviction process over again in order to get rid of an occupant that is still living in the home. Yes, you heard me right. If the landlord lets the writ end, the proprietor will need to serve the occupant with a brand-new notice, acquire a brand-new summons and have it submitted and served on the occupant, appear in court again and so on and so on. Do not let the writ expire! New landlords (or proprietors with no previous eviction experience) must not let a renter dupe them into not submitting the writ with the Constable within the One Month period. Occupants may tell you that they simply require 10 more days, then another 5 days, and after that 3 more days and they will be out, and so on and so on. If all those additional days amount to 30 – the property manager has only himself/herself to blame.

Executing The Writ:.

In Harris County, only the Constable can legitimately execute the writ. Before the Constable will do this nevertheless the property manager should work with individuals to move the belonging out of the house, a minimum of 3 males. The landlord has to have the movers at the house when the constable arrives.

When the property manager has actually engaged the services of a moving business the proprietor will need to meet the Constable at your house along the following products:.

  1. The Movers.
  2. A Locksmith.
  3. Keys to the building to obtain in your house.

By law, once the writ has actually been assigned to the Constable, the Constable should perform the writ within the next 10 days Due to the large quantity of evictions in Harris County, it normally takes the Constable the full 10 days. Then the Harris County Constable will deliver to the renter a 24 Hr notice the day before the prepared eviction to give them one last chance to leave on their own.

Before the tenant’s personal property is moved out, and if the renter is still living in the house, the Constable will direct the tenant– and other residing in the house, out of the property to make sure the unit is secure. If the occupant refuses to leave the unit, they  will be arrested for Disorderly Conduct. It ought to be noted that the Constable can make the renter leave the specific rental property however can not make the occupant leave area.

If the tenant still has personal effects in the rental when the Constable shows up to carry out the writ, the Constable will then take a video of all the tenant’s personal property that is of value prior to it being taken out of your home and put on the curb or where ever the Constable deems fit.

It is necessary that the landlord or his agent can be present during the eviction process to respond to any concerns that the Constable may have and to supervise the moving company and the locksmith professional. I have become aware of one instance where a tenant told the Constable that the refrigerator and stove in the system were availabled by the renter and were his. This was not the reality. The property manager was not present throughout the expulsion however to refute the tenant (or to produce the rental arrangement to the Constable which would have revealed that the proprietor supplied a fridge and range together with the rental) and the home appliances were taken out and the occupant took them.

Let Houston Evictions handle the WRIT for you so that you do not have any of these problem nor will you need to arrange all the labor that enters into the expulsion.

Find out more on our home page of Houston Evictions