What are your options if you have been evicted by the courts

You have 3 options if the court rules against you:

  • Option #1 – Move out within 5 days, or negotiate
  • Option #2 – Appeal the judgment to county court
  • Option #3 – Do nothing and be forced to move out

Option #1 – Move out

If you choose to move out, do not leave any of your property in the rental unit. Make sure you clean the rental unit after you move out all of your belongings. Do a walk-through with the landlord and a witness. Take pictures or videotape to document the condition of the rental unit. Leave a forwarding address with the landlord (this just needs to be a place where you can receive mail; it can be a friend’s house). You can also attempt to negotiate for more time. If you do get some sort of agreement, be sure the agreement is in writing and signed by the landlord. (Be careful about giving the landlord any money in exchange for more time unless the agreement is very clear. Sometimes landlords take tenant money and evict the tenant anyway.)

Option #2 – Appeal the eviction

If you want to appeal the eviction ruling from the Justice of the Peace (J.P.) court it will be a good idea if you speak to an attorney about the appeal. If you have a low-income you may qualify for a legal aid attorney.

You will have five days to file an appeal (when you count the five days, count the weekends). You will have to post an appeal bond (a promise to pay a specific amount set by the court); or a cash bond in the amount of the bond set by the court; or file an affidavit of inability to pay in order to appeal the judge’s ruling to higher court. You will need two people who have property or a savings account in Texas to co-sign the bond.

If you win in County Court, your bond money and will be returned to you. If you lose, the landlord may recover back money for back rent, court costs and possibly attorney’s fees from the bond, with any remainder returned to you.

Continue on to the appeal process.

Option #3 – Do nothing and be forced to move out

If you choose not to move out or appeal, the Landlord will request a Writ Of Possession, which is a court order directing the constable or sheriff to give the landlord physical possession of the rental unit. The writ cannot be issued until at least five days after the judgment from the eviction hearing (counting weekends and holidays). The constable or sheriff must post a 24 hour written notice on your door stating when the constable/sheriff will come over and make you move out. You, any other persons who live with you, and all of your possessions will be removed by the landlord under the supervision of the constable or sheriff.

You have the right to reside and go into the premises until the constable or sheriff evicts you by the writ of possession. Once a writ of possession is obtained, a constable or sheriff will allow the landlord to remove you, anyone in the rental unit, and all property from the premises. If it is raining, sleeting, or snowing you cannot be removed.

The landlord might still let you stay in the premises, even after the judge has ruled for an eviction, if you pay back rent and court costs before the five days are up. If your landlord agrees to let you stay, get a written statement that the landlord will not enforce the eviction, otherwise the oral agreement will be hard to enforce.

The Appeal Process