Lubbock County, Texas

State Of Texas - County Of Lubbock

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Evictions

     Eviction is the legal process by which a landlord removes a tenant and other occupants from rented property when rent has not been paid or the lease agreement has been violated.  This legal process also prevents landlords from forcing tenants to leave without good cause.  The court will determine who has a greater right to possession of the rented property.  Only the Justice of the Peace Court in the precinct in which the real property is located has jurisdiction over the eviction lawsuit.

     The landlord must first give the tenant written notice to vacate, demanding possession by a specific date.  If the tenant fails to move out by the deadline in the written notice, the landlord may file an eviction lawsuit and must pay court costs.  The eviction petition must state the specific reason(s) why the tenant must move out.  The landlord can seek rent owed, attorneys' fees, and court costs not to exceed $10,000 and possession of the property.  A different lawsuit must be filed for damages, utility bills, re-letting fees, accelerated rent, deposit and/or late fees.
 
     The tenant must be served a citation before the suit can commence.  Court costs include the Constable's fee to serve the citation.  A hearing will be set not more than twenty-one or less than ten days from the date of service.
 
     Both the landlord and tenant should appear in Court on the hearing date to present evidence.  A jury demand may be made.  If the jury fee in the amount of $22.00 is paid within five days of service, the jury will hear the evidence and determine the prevailing party.  If no jury demand is made, after hearing evidence the Judge will take a decision as to the prevailing party.  When the Judge or the jury decides the prevailing party, the Judge will sign and enter judgment.  The non-prevailing party has a five day appeal period after the judgment is entered to file an appeal.
 
     When the judgment is entered awarding possession of the property to the landlord, the appeal period has passed, and the tenant is still in the premises, the landlord can file a Writ of Possession with the Court.  After giving 24 hours notice, the constable will supervise the removal of all persons and their belongings from the property.
 
Appeal of the Eviction Lawsuit Judgment
 
     The non-prevailing party can appeal and receive a new trial in the County Court-at-Law.  The notice of appeal must be filed with the Justice of the Peace Court no later than five days after the judgment is signed.  An appeal bond must be put up in the amount of twice the amount of one month's rent plus the amount of court costs. Within five days of filing the notice of appeal the tenant must pay one month's rent into the registry of the court.
 
     The tenant may choose to file a pauper's affidavit if a bond cannot be afforded.  The pauper's affidavit must be filed before the judgment is final.  A landlord can contest the pauper's affidavit.  The Justice of the Peace Court or County Court-at-Law approves the pauper's affidavit.
 
     No matter who appeals, the tenant must file a written answer in the County Court-at-Law within eight days after the Justice of the Peace Court files the transcript. 



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