Texas Justice of The Peace Eviction Court

Texas Justice of The Peace Eviction Court

To lawfully evict a tenant in Texas and fully repossess your property, you or an agent acting on your behalf must file an eviction suit in the correct Justice of the Peace Court. The court will set a hearing date and notify both the landlord and the tenant when the eviction trial will take place. Often times, the hearing date will also be the set as the trial date in order to resolve the eviction case speedily.

Eviction Court Process

The eviction court hearing can last anywhere between a couple of minutes to several hours. The length of the trial usually depends on whether or not the landlord and the tenant both agree to the eviction, or in some cases, require a jury to reach a resolution. Typically, the Justice of the Peace Court conducts eviction hearings back-to-back-to-back, so the proceedings may sometimes deviate from the tentative schedule and lead to some inconvenience on the landlord's part.

What Happens in Eviction Court

During the eviction court process, it is the landlord (or his/her agent's) responsibility to prove immediate right to possess the property in question. Generally, the landlord must draft, print out, and bring a proposed order to the trial, which the judge may use, modify, or altogether ignore as they see fit. The primary (and often sole) issue to be decided in the court is whether or not the landlord is indeed entitled to immediately regain possession of his/her property. Secondarily, if the landlord is seeking past due rent, it is also the landlord’s responsibility to prove how much rent is due.

If the court is convinced that the landlord has the immediate right to possession, the court will issue a Writ of Possession. The Writ of Possession will indicate a deadline for the tenant to vacate the landlord's premises before he/she is forcibly removed by law enforcement. In Texas, tenants are given a minimum grace period of 5 days before the Writ of Possession may be acted on. In some cases, the judge may give the tenant additional time to vacate the property.

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