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This is my first post. Please be easy on me.

  • Purchased a rental property in November 2013 and leased it for 10 months term.
  • Received one month security deposit and one month rent when tenant moved in.
  • Tenant has to pay rent on December 1st but paid in installments up to 80% of monthly rent so far.
  • Now it is January and tenant only postponing the rent whenever I asked. Nothing paid towards rent of January.
  • Gave notice to vacate in the middle of the month and after a week I filed eviction suit (In Texas, we have to wait for filing eviction 3 days after giving the notice to vacate).
  • Court trial is scheduled in middle of Feb (which is three weeks from now)

This is my first rental property and the tenant stopped paying from the first month itself. Now, the following are the mistakes I did.
1) Tenant confirmed that he has some credit issues in lease application, I never ran credit check or eviction record check.
2) I believe tenant can pay my rent (now, I feel so stupid for that assumption) and I let him in with security deposit of just one month's rent.
3) Waited to so long to file eviction suit.

I communicated tenant that I am filing eviction and offered to work with him to avoid that by offering him multiple options such as accepting rent in installments, even reducing rent etc. I also offered him that if he vacate immediately I can release him for lease (in other words, he is not responsible for rest of the lease term). Basically I asked him to either pay rent or to vacate thinking that this is 'WIN-WIN' for both of us under the current scenario.

Tenant can get away from early termination and I can get my house back and can put that back in market to avoid further losing money.

Tenant is rather interested in staying in this house as long as "legally" possible even though it means he and his wife will get eviction record on their public records. Now we are in 'Loose-Loose' situation.

Tenant will get eviction record in their record and I lose money until they vacate (I am not sure if I can collect the rent overdue from them after they vacate since it is proven that they do not care their credit rating as of now)

Since I filed eviction, now I do have lot of questions concerning me.

1) I have not used attorney for filing this eviction. Do I absolutely need one or am I OK filing this on my own?
2) Is there anything I should do now before trial?

I know I have to be careful before leasing itself but we can't change the past so at least trying to be careful in terms of my future actions.

Gurus, Please let me know your thoughts and do not hesitate to ask me questions if you need any additional questions around this. Thanks you for your time...

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Green for the tenant not leaving until after the landlord had to pay for execution of a writ of possession.

Just kiddin... (more)

TravelerMSY (Feb. 21, 2014 @ 9:26p) |

Change the locks pronto Monday morning, then!

jumi (Feb. 23, 2014 @ 5:28p) |

Sure 

newbielandlord (Feb. 23, 2014 @ 9:45p) |

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newbielandlord said:   Tenant is rather interested in staying in this house as long as "legally" possible even though it means he and his wife will get eviction record on their public records. Now we are in 'Loose-Loose' situation.
Tenant will get eviction record in their record and I lose money until they vacate

I imagine that he sees it as a Win-Lose situation

1. Hire an attorney.  Learn the process with them and rinse repeat as needed in the future without having to hire one and still doing the process correctly.
2. How many times are FW members going to post here that they a) buy a house with no attorney and b) lease their property without a background check on the tenants?

Expensive lesson.  They are going to laugh all the way to the bank.  Good luck on them not trashing the place on the way out, which you have no idea if they will or not since you didn't get prior landlord references.

I believe you have to file a writ to actually get them kicked out.

Might want to try to offer him his security deposit if he agrees to get out.

I'm not sure where to start with this so in the meantime let me refer you to a place where you will get state specific help.

http://bbs2.mrlandlord.com/

I'm an Ohio LL, but I'll post shortly my $.02.

First thing I see in your post, don't do a 10 month lease unless you're getting a premium. Anything less than a year increases rent. And I will only do this occasionally, for the right tenant, during the right months (Nov-Feb).

Charge a fee for installments.

We all get bad tenants here and there that stop paying for whatever reason.

The more you give (esp this early in the lease) the more they will push you.  Never offer to decrease rent for bad tenants.  Makes you look weak and they will then push more.

I don't use an attorney. I have been through the entire eviction process on my own a few times. Its not that bad. Might as well learn it now. Do you have a friend thats a LL? Maybe discuss the process them.

I agree that tenant view this as 'Win-Lose' outcome.

But I really don't get the basic concept of how the tenant can get a place to lease in future with such a bad remark in their record?

I strongly believe that there will be not many places he can rent without credit check and he need a place for his family, how can he face such a big risk  just for staying a month or two free?

As I mentioned in OP, this is my first time rental house and I am not experienced enough to know all this. I read a lot on fatwallet forums for about an year so and that is where I got the knowledge if I get any. Thanks

CptSavAHo said:   1. Hire an attorney.  Learn the process with them and rinse repeat as needed in the future without having to hire one and still doing the process correctly.
2. How many times are FW members going to post here that they a) buy a house with no attorney and b) lease their property without a background check on the tenants?

Expensive lesson.  They are going to laugh all the way to the bank.  Good luck on them not trashing the place on the way out, which you have no idea if they will or not since you didn't get prior landlord references.

  Can I hire an attorney after filing the suit?

Yes, I agree this is an expensive lesson. Now, I am under the impression that I have to be more careful going forward 1) by doing proper background check 2) getting at least 2 months deposit 3) start eviction process as soon as rent is overdue

newbielandlord said:   But I really don't get the basic concept of how the tenant can get a place to lease in future with such a bad remark in their record ?
Not to be snarky, but ask yourself this question and see what the answer is

harruin said:   I believe you have to file a writ to actually get them kicked out.

Might want to try to offer him his security deposit if he agrees to get out.

  That we'll learn once 5 days after the judgment.
I am thinking the security deposit can address January rent and I lose how ever days he stay in Feb.

Not sure if I should really offer security deposit just to vacate without writ. In other words, is the writ cost landlord equivalent to a month's rent?
 

1) Your tenant does not care about his/her future.
2) Not all landlords check court records. As you know.

They will find another place to live. Best to just let the process work itself out.

PS There is nothing worse that having 1 rental property. It wasnt that long ago for me so I remember it quite well. With 5, 10, 15, or more, a problem tenant is not even an afterthought. Just boot them and move on.

TheBeagle said:   First thing I see in your post, don't do a 10 month lease unless you're getting a premium. Anything less than a year increases rent. And I will only do this occasionally, for the right tenant, during the right months (Nov-Feb).

Charge a fee for installments.

We all get bad tenants here and there that stop paying for whatever reason.

The more you give (esp this early in the lease) the more they will push you.  Never offer to decrease rent for bad tenants.  Makes you look weak and they will then push more.

I don't use an attorney. I have been through the entire eviction process on my own a few times. Its not that bad. Might as well learn it now. Do you have a friend thats a LL? Maybe discuss the process them.

The reason I gave 10month lease is, I can either renew one year from them or get a different tenant for 1 year term when 10 months over. The rationale behind it is November is slow and August is better to get a tenant.

The property is zoned for great schools and lot of tenants want houses in this area especially before the school year start.

Charging  a fee for installments: I document this in lease agreement going forward.

newbielandlord said:   
CptSavAHo said:   1. Hire an attorney.  Learn the process with them and rinse repeat as needed in the future without having to hire one and still doing the process correctly.
2. How many times are FW members going to post here that they a) buy a house with no attorney and b) lease their property without a background check on the tenants?

Expensive lesson.  They are going to laugh all the way to the bank.  Good luck on them not trashing the place on the way out, which you have no idea if they will or not since you didn't get prior landlord references.

  Can I hire an attorney after filing the suit?

Yes, I agree this is an expensive lesson. Now, I am under the impression that I have to be more careful going forward 1) by doing proper background check 2) getting at least 2 months deposit 3) start eviction process as soon as rent is overdue

  You really need to read up.  A lot of state/city/county laws restrict from more than 1 mo as deposit.  'Pet rent' can also be restrictive.  You also need to be careful what you write into a lease, some of it might not be legal/enforceable. 

Why should you charge a fee for installments?  If he can't pay, then by "working with him", you're making this your problem.  It's not.  File for eviction when the rent is late and make him figure out how to pay it.

Your current tenant's plan is to stay as long as possible while not paying you.  You want to nip this in the bud, not enable him.

And run a credit check and eviction check on future tenants. A criminal check as well, while you're at it.

newbielandlord said:   The reason I gave 10month lease is, I can either renew one year from them or get a different tenant for 1 year term when 10 months over
Not sure about TX, but in many states when the the lease ends, it automatically becomes a month to month rental agreement.
  

I am in Texas. I have evicted a tenant. I *very strongly* recommend that you hire an attorney to evict. Learn from the attorney. Your pain will still not be over after that. You will need to "hire" the police to actually execute the court order of eviction. Just because you win the eviction case does not mean that the tenant will leave your property! This can cost serious money depending on where your property is. The police may ask you to hire a private company to carry-out the court order as per law.

The tenant will show up with his wife (and kids if any) in the court, and plead to the judge that he is poor with little kids. Or he is desperately searching for a job but cannot find one. And then ask for 60 or 90 day extension! If the judge is a woman, the tenant will get at least another 30 day extension.

Strictly my life experience: The return-on-time-and-money by renting a residential property (in Texas) is not worth the effort because Texas properties do not appreciate much while you are collecting rent (if you are lucky). Some tenants make a mess when they leave, requiring you to fix the carpet, fridge, windows, backyard, furnace, air-conditining....

xoneinax said:   
newbielandlord said:   The reason I gave 10month lease is, I can either renew one year from them or get a different tenant for 1 year term when 10 months over
Not sure about TX, but in many states when the the lease ends, it automatically becomes a month to month rental agreement.
  

  To mitigate that issue we can either renew or let the tenant know the intent of not renewing lease 30 days in advance per the lease agreement that we signed.

Accepting partial payments is a nightmare if you ultimately end up evicting. Each PP starts the clock over again in most states.

Also, if your states only allow a max of one month deposit, you really do have to keep your tenants on a short lease. That means you have to assume they're going to default even if they're 1 day late. By the time you wait for them to get months behind, you're still 1-3 months from getting them out of there. More if your state is tenant-friendly.

addictedBuyer said:   I am in Texas. I have evicted a tenant. I *very strongly* recommend that you hire an attorney to evict. Learn from the attorney. Your pain will still not be over after that. You will need to "hire" the police to actually execute the court order of eviction. Just because you win the eviction case does not mean that the tenant will leave your property! This can cost serious money depending on where your property is. The police may ask you to hire a private company to carry-out the court order as per law.

The tenant will show up with his wife (and kids if any) in the court, and plead to the judge that he is poor with little kids. Or he is desperately searching for a job but cannot find one. And then ask for 60 or 90 day extension! If the judge is a woman, the tenant will get at least another 30 day extension.

Strictly my life experience: The return-on-time-and-money by renting a residential property (in Texas) is not worth the effort because Texas properties do not appreciate much while you are collecting rent (if you are lucky). Some tenants make a mess when they leave, requiring you to fix the carpet, fridge, windows, backyard, furnace, air-conditining....

Can you point me on how I can hire an attorney?

I hear scary stories about how high attorney fee would be and can we get any flat charge from attorney at all in TX for eviction cases?

newbielandlord said:   
addictedBuyer said:   I am in Texas. I have evicted a tenant. I *very strongly* recommend that you hire an attorney to evict. Learn from the attorney. Your pain will still not be over after that. You will need to "hire" the police to actually execute the court order of eviction. Just because you win the eviction case does not mean that the tenant will leave your property! This can cost serious money depending on where your property is. The police may ask you to hire a private company to carry-out the court order as per law.

The tenant will show up with his wife (and kids if any) in the court, and plead to the judge that he is poor with little kids. Or he is desperately searching for a job but cannot find one. And then ask for 60 or 90 day extension! If the judge is a woman, the tenant will get at least another 30 day extension.

Strictly my life experience: The return-on-time-and-money by renting a residential property (in Texas) is not worth the effort because Texas properties do not appreciate much while you are collecting rent (if you are lucky). Some tenants make a mess when they leave, requiring you to fix the carpet, fridge, windows, backyard, furnace, air-conditining....

Can you point me on how I can hire an attorney?

I hear scary stories about how high attorney fee would be and can we get any flat charge from attorney at all in TX for eviction cases?

  At this point, I'm 80-20 this is a troll post from another new member alt-id.

cristinaaaron said:   
newbielandlord said:   
addictedBuyer said:   I am in Texas. I have evicted a tenant. I *very strongly* recommend that you hire an attorney to evict. Learn from the attorney. Your pain will still not be over after that. You will need to "hire" the police to actually execute the court order of eviction. Just because you win the eviction case does not mean that the tenant will leave your property! This can cost serious money depending on where your property is. The police may ask you to hire a private company to carry-out the court order as per law.

The tenant will show up with his wife (and kids if any) in the court, and plead to the judge that he is poor with little kids. Or he is desperately searching for a job but cannot find one. And then ask for 60 or 90 day extension! If the judge is a woman, the tenant will get at least another 30 day extension.

Strictly my life experience: The return-on-time-and-money by renting a residential property (in Texas) is not worth the effort because Texas properties do not appreciate much while you are collecting rent (if you are lucky). Some tenants make a mess when they leave, requiring you to fix the carpet, fridge, windows, backyard, furnace, air-conditining....

Can you point me on how I can hire an attorney?

I hear scary stories about how high attorney fee would be and can we get any flat charge from attorney at all in TX for eviction cases?

  At this point, I'm 80-20 this is a troll post from another new member alt-id.

Yes, I am a new member and I signed up today to post this topic and get expert opinions.
Yes, I never had Fatwallet ID before.
Yes, I am reading Fatwallet forum around 1-2 years.

It is possible to get a judgment against the tenant to ultimately recover your costs to evict. But fat chance collecting. If they had any assets in the first place, they would have used them to pay their rent.

And for lurkers, threads like this are why you have to factor "vacancy" into your rental yield calculations. It's just not reasonable to expect 100% occupancy over a long period of time.

TravelerMSY said:   It is possible to get a judgment against the tenant to ultimately recover your costs to evict. But fat chance collecting. If they had any assets in the first place, they would have used them to pay their rent.

And for lurkers, threads like this are why you have to factor "vacancy" into your rental yield calculations. It's just not reasonable to expect 100% occupancy over a long period of time.

 I agree the chances of getting paid after judgment are slim to none.

As an accidental landlord myself, I'd invite you to find religion and begin praying that the damage they do to your property on the way out is under $15,000.00.

TravelerMSY said:   It is possible to get a judgment against the tenant to ultimately recover your costs to evict. But fat chance collecting. If they had any assets in the first place, they would have used them to pay their rent.

And for lurkers, threads like this are why you have to factor "vacancy" into your rental yield calculations. It's just not reasonable to expect 100% occupancy over a long period of time.
 

 Though I usually account for risk in security deposit.. I've only been burned once, and you learn as you go ... I think id try to get judgment should it happen and be a large enough sum. Their asset is employment and wage garnishment.   When I evict I only go for straight eviction... no money requested. I feel this expedites matters and doesn't offer tenant reason to dispute any monetary claims, or delay possession, an important factor.

The costs to collect are usually in excess of the money claimed. Then when you finally get your wage garnishment, they quit or file BK.

The idiots in the Texas legislature have had 6 sessions since I last touched this issue so take what I say with a grain of salt. Last time I was current on land lord tenant law you could NOT apply the security deposit against rent deficiencies. Go get a lawyer who is up to date on Texas property law.

You have no idea how lucky you are to be a landlord in Texas as opposed to one of the northeastern states, esp. Massachusetts. In MA, it's common to pay problem tenants to leave, to avoid the headache of going through the eviction process.

I'm always kind of shocked at the landlord posts we get here. Maybe its just a North Carolina thing, but I've been in apartments for 10 years now and every single one has (1) checked my credit, (2) called all my previous landlords, (3) did a standard background check for evictions, and (4) required a huge security deposit plus a months rent. Where are these landlords that are giving away 10 month leases with no security deposits, background, or credit checks?

It must be the rental market. I had a collection show up once on my credit report (not mine, still not sure how it got there but disputes it off later) and even with 10 years of on time rental payments and glowing past landlord references, I couldn't get an apartment anywhere until I got credit item fixed.

TravelerMSY said:   The costs to collect are usually in excess of the money claimed. Then when you finally get your wage garnishment, they quit or file BK.
 

  Except.... You can't do wage garnishments in Texas so that makes it harder. Bank accounts or assets are the only way to go, which makes it that much more difficult to get money out of them, or of course as you said, then they file BK

mwarrior said:   
TravelerMSY said:   The costs to collect are usually in excess of the money claimed. Then when you finally get your wage garnishment, they quit or file BK.
  Except.... You can't do wage garnishments in Texas so that makes it harder. Bank accounts or assets are the only way to go, which makes it that much more difficult to get money out of them, or of course as you said, then they file BK

On our lease, it is mentioned that Landlord got lien on tenant's non exempt personal property that is in the property.

How can I exercise this before eviction? (since once they moved out, I sure do not have any hope of collecting any thing from them).

When I requested judgment (basically on a trail day) can I REQUEST judge for placing lien on their personal property?

Their stuff is worth much more to them than it is worth to me or to any one else. I am expecting to get some reasonable amount recovered from them by holding on to their personal property if it is even possible, Thanks.

This is Texas? Just remember OP, stick the LAW by the letter. there is a famous Fatwalleter who lives in Texas keeps a recorder handy and sues anyone who doesn't stick the letter of the law.

forbin4040 said:   This is Texas? Just remember OP, stick the LAW by the letter. there is a famous Fatwalleter who lives in Texas keeps a recorder handy and sues anyone who doesn't stick the letter of the law.
Yes, this is TX.

Lease states, landlord got lien on tenant's personal property (with some exemptions though).

BUT the issue is, I am not willing to enter in to property to remove tenant's property since it won't be peaceful when I attempt to do that (tenant may sue me too).

I am thinking about ways to implement this.

When & how can I exercise this wonderful option that my lease agreement is providing to recover the past due rent ?

Is there a way that I can file a separate suit in court before eviction trail or can I have police to escort me while I do this?

My number one intention behind doing this is to make them surrender my property in reasonable condition with out doing any intentional damage and the second one is to collect unpaid, past due rent.
 

Pretty much all their property is exempt property. In Texas, I think they get $30,000 worth of stuff covered as exempt. I have a ~$5,000 judgement against a former tenant, and I've had the constable visit him three times trying to collect. The only way to get anything is to get a writ of garnishment against a bank account. I'm still trying to determine if that's worth my time and expense.

newbielandlord said:   
forbin4040 said:   This is Texas? Just remember OP, stick the LAW by the letter. there is a famous Fatwalleter who lives in Texas keeps a recorder handy and sues anyone who doesn't stick the letter of the law.
Yes, this is TX.

Lease states, landlord got lien on tenant's personal property (with some exemptions though).

BUT the issue is, I am not willing to enter in to property to remove tenant's property since it won't be peaceful when I attempt to do that (tenant may sue me too).

I am thinking about ways to implement this.

When & how can I exercise this wonderful option that my lease agreement is providing to recover the past due rent ?

Is there a way that I can file a separate suit in court before eviction trail or can I have police to escort me while I do this?

My number one intention behind doing this is to make them surrender my property in reasonable condition with out doing any intentional damage and the second one is to collect unpaid, past due rent.

  not familiar with the law... but  I can imagine the trouble taking their crap... likely storing, inventorying, selling, documenting...  id go more for the big pay off.

Learn some lessons yourself. Its about being smart and not about revenge.

supersnoop00 said:   Pretty much all their property is exempt property. In Texas, I think they get $30,000 worth of stuff covered as exempt. I have a ~$5,000 judgement against a former tenant, and I've had the constable visit him three times trying to collect. The only way to get anything is to get a writ of garnishment against a bank account. I'm still trying to determine if that's worth my time and expense.
30K limit is a deal killer
In my tenant's case, I believe garnishment against bank account is not going to help much either..

Why haven't you hired a lawyer yet? It's really easy to do. There are thousands of them completely unemployed and waiting for you to call.

corporateclaw said:   Why haven't you hired a lawyer yet? It's really easy to do. There are thousands of them completely unemployed and waiting for you to call.
  I am trying to avoid spending more on lawyer fee.

newbielandlord said:   
corporateclaw said:   Why haven't you hired a lawyer yet? It's really easy to do. There are thousands of them completely unemployed and waiting for you to call.
  I am trying to avoid spending more on lawyer fee.

  

You will probably lose a lot more money in lost rent by trying to cheap out on hiring a lawyer.

If you do it youself you're very likely to make a mistake somewhere along the process.   Evition is a detailed, bureacratic process full of specific deadlines and you need to know exactly how to do it right or you'll quite likely make a mistake and get it rejected and have to start over.    Its very likely you'll waste an extra month or two while figuring out how the system works.   That extra month or two is lost rent that is going to lose you more money than hiring an eviction service.   Evition services generally charge flat rates for the services around a few $$.  So you're not talking paying a lawyer thousands on an hourly basis or anything.    Once you've been through it and seen how a service does everything then maybe you can try to do it yourself next time.

 

Skipping 25 Messages...
jumi said:   Change the locks pronto Monday morning, then!
 Sure 



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