Pay rent or quit - Posted by d.henderson

Posted by Lorna…FT, TX on December 04, 1999 at 02:01:19:

Jim and I were busy typing away. Too bad we couldn’t see in each other’s windows. It would have saved one of us a lot of key strokes. : )


Pay rent or quit - Posted by d.henderson

Posted by d.henderson on December 03, 1999 at 19:41:13:

Thanks to everyone before hand for the help.
Question: I have a L/O that the tenant has been paying late every month. I have served her once with a pay rent or quit and she paid but…I let her stay. Yeah! I know stupid move. Well, she’s paid late every month since. I’m tired of being the nice guy. She’s sneaky, says she’s out when I know that she’s there. So what happens when I post the letter and then send one to her in the mail and she never gets or sees the pay rent or quit notice? I know that you start eviction, right? Do you send another letter? What? This part I do not like. But I guess it goes with the territory.

Re: Pay rent or quit - Posted by Bud Branstetter

Posted by Bud Branstetter on December 04, 1999 at 10:45:54:


You’ve got a good overview of the eviction process here in Texas. The length of time for a court appearance, its cost, and the time to get a writ of possession can vary by JP court.

Joe brings up the question of why you want to be so quick to evict. Yes, you may have an underlying payment to be made. Do spend one of the incoming payments so you have a reserve to make the payment. Joe has also brought up before is that if they have an decent amount of option consideration they may fight that greedy old investor that is trying to kick them out and get they option money. It also seems likely that they will not exercise their option. Be ready.

Re: Pay rent or quit - Posted by Brad Crouch

Posted by Brad Crouch on December 04, 1999 at 02:59:27:


Others have already told you what you need to know about this “incident”. But you might consider including a clause in your lease agreement that might keep this from happening again.

If you state that a late charge PLUS additional fees for each additional day that the payment is late, and also that any monies received will apply first to the late charges and THEN to the lease payment, you might be able to stop this kind of thing in the future, when they ignore the late fees.

When the tenant finally does make a payment, the late fees are deducted first, leaving an unpaid balance on the lease payment. Pretty hard to evict for non-payment of late fees. But since the late fees are taken care of first, this leaves the lease payment unsatisfied. Now you have a valid reason to evict.

Good luck,


Re: Pay rent or quit - Posted by Lorna…FT, TX

Posted by Lorna…FT, TX on December 04, 1999 at 01:55:13:

I feel like I’m an expert at this bad tenant business. I recently went through the same thing and here’s what I found out.

Here in Texas, when a tenant doesn’t pay their rent on time, you must give them a 3 day written notice to pay or quit. If they don’t pay within that 3 day period, in order to evict them you must go to the Justice of the Peace court for that area and file a “Sworn Complaint for Eviction”. The fee is $57. A hearing will be set, usually within a week. At the hearing each party is allowed to state their case. The judge will award a judgement based on the testimony. If you’re on the winning side, the tenants have 5 days in order to vacate the premises. If they don’t, on the 6th day you can go back to the court and file a Writ of Possession. (I don’t remember how much that costs, luckly I didn’t have to go that route.) Of course the tenant can appeal this decision even if they are in the wrong, but they have to do it within 5 days.

If in the event they don’t show up for the hearing, the judge will award a Default Judgment. They will be notified that they have 5 days in order to vacate the premises. Again, if they don’t vacate within that time, on the 6th day you can go back to the court to file a Writ of Possession and the sheriff will go out to see that they get out.

Then there is the appeal process. If the tenant decides to appeal the decision, they have 8 days after they filed the appeal to send a written answer to the judge’s decision. If they don’t file an answer, as it was in my case, you will be awarded a Default Judgement, however, YOU must apply to the court for it. You may still have to file a Writ of Possession if they don’t leave voluntarily. Again there’s a waiting period of 5 days after the judge has signed the Default Judgment.

I think I’ve told you everything I had to go through, however, if I have left anything out, feel free to contact me or maybe someone else will fill in the blanks.

Good luck and God bless.


Evictions in Texas - Posted by Jim Kennedy - Houston, TX

Posted by Jim Kennedy - Houston, TX on December 04, 1999 at 01:29:41:


One of the advantages of being a landlord in the Lone Star State is the ease and speed with which a routine eviction takes place. The process starts with the 3-day notice to pay or vacate. Per §24.005 of the Texas Property Code, ?The notice to vacate shall be given in person or by mail at the premises in question. Notice in person may by personal delivery to the tenant or any person residing at the premises who is 16 years of age or older or personal delivery to the premises and affixing the notice to the inside of the main entry door. Notice by mail may be by regular mail, by registered mail, or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the premises in question.?

If the tenant hasn?t paid the rent or vacated the premises after the three days, the landlord then files an eviction suit (Forcible Detainer or Forcible Entry & Detainer) in the justice court in the precinct in which the property is located. If the landlord prevails in front of the Justice of the Peace, 7 days later the court will issue a writ of possession. The writ is executed by the Constable who sends a Deputy to the property. The writ authorizes the officer to remove the tenant and the tenant?s belongings. Regarding the belongings, the code states ?? place, or have an authorized person place, the removed personal property outside the rental unit at a nearby location, but not blocking a public sidewalk, passageway, or street and not while it is raining, sleeting, or snowing.? It doesn?t snow very often here in Houston but we sure get our fair share of rain, so the Constables here in Harris County use the next section of the Texas Property Code which states: ?The writ of possession shall authorize the officer, at the officer?s discretion, to engage the services of a bonded or insured warehouseman to remove and store, subject to applicable law, part or all of the property at no cost to the landlord or the officer executing the writ.? Basically, every time a tenant has to be physically removed, the Constable has a moving and storage company show up with a big truck. The code provides for warehouseman?s liens so if the tenant wants to get their stuff back they have to pay the storage company; and those folks ain?t cheap! Basically the tenant has to buy back their own junk.

Generally, the tenants are long gone before the Deputy has to throw them out.

There are quite a few intricacies to the process and if you screw up, you have to start the process all over from the beginning. I would suggest that you hire someone (property manager or real estate attorney) to walk you through your first eviction so you don?t mess up. I have seen a few inexperienced landlords blow it in front of the Justice of the Peace because they didn?t know the rules. Those mistakes can easily cost you more than paying someone experienced to show you the ropes. After you have been through it once you can easily handle your own evictions from then on if you want to, or you may deem it more cost efficient to pay someone to do it for you. Personally, I think spending time in court is generally not the ?highest and best use? of my time.

I would strongly recommend to any Texan who is or plans to become a landlord (including lease/options), to get a copy of the Texas Property Code. I purchased mine for $24 at the bookstore of one of the local law schools. West Publishing puts out an updated edition every two years. It?s pretty dry reading, but it makes a great reference source when you need it.

The only thing faster (and more interesting) than an eviction in Texas is a foreclosure ? 21 days from start to finish! Talk about a short fuse for investors to work the foreclosure market! One of the interesting things about Texas foreclosures is that all trustees? sales occur on the first Tuesday of the month.

Dee, I hope this Texas specific information helps.

Best of Success!!

Jim Kennedy,
Houston, TX

So what’s the late fee? - Posted by JoeKaiser

Posted by JoeKaiser on December 03, 1999 at 23:42:37:

I love tenants who pay me late every single month. It’s an automatic 8% rent increase.

Some people just never get things squared away and will always be a week or ten days late because of the way they’re paid or any number of reasons. Instead of trying to make them adapt to your schedule, let them stay and keep right on paying the late fees.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they get to go beyond a couple weeks and it doesn’t mean they’re shakey to begin with.

I have a tenant who has paid me an extra $45 a month each month for the past 3 years. I don’t even think she knows what the real rental amount is anymore, she just adds $45 to whatever we’re charging and I get it like clockwork, each and every month . . . on the 12th!


Re: Pay rent or quit - Posted by Bert G

Posted by Bert G on December 03, 1999 at 22:17:33:

As B.L. said, it depends a lot on your state and local laws. Here for example,(NoDak) it has to be served by a disinterested party. They have to make at least two attempts at personal service before posting the notice on the door. I feel it worth the $25 to have a professional server, since they know the law, and you get a sworn affidavit that the notice was properly served. And if you have a nasty tenant, it might save you a poke in the nose.
Whatever you do, make sure you are doing it in accordance with your local laws. Otherwise you could be in for unnessisary delays, or worse.

Bert G

Re: Pay rent or quit - Posted by B.L.Renfrow

Posted by B.L.Renfrow on December 03, 1999 at 21:08:30:

The exact procedure depends upon the laws of your state. Don’t know about Texas, but here in NY the steps are set forth specifically: 1. You serve the notice by personal delivery or if they aren’t home/won’t answer you can affix it to the outside of the door. It must also be mailed via first class AND certified mail; 2. The tenant has 3 days - excluding the day of service and weekends/holidays - to pay the amount required; 3. If they don’t, then you bring an unlawful detainer action in your local court and the tenant will be served with the summons and complaint; 4. If they fail to appear (the usual story) or if you prevail in court, the judge issues an order of eviction; 5. If they aren’t gone by the specified date, the sheriff will remove them and haul their stuff to the curb.

I would imagine the process is similar there. Of course, the deadbeat tenant typically will refuse the certified letter, or simply leave it unclaimed, but it makes no difference, as long as you have the receipt showing it was mailed. Likewise, they can howl all they want that they never got it, but as long as the first class letter is not returned undeliverable, they’re out of luck.

I had this problem with one of my T/Bers…it was one of the first ones I did, and I foolishly neglected to include a late payment charge in my lease agreement. That would have at least made their lateness more palatable! I served them on two separate occasions with the 3 day notice, and they recently bailed in the middle of the night, although on both occasions they did pay on the third day. Amazing…they had put down $3k option consideration only 5 months ago…surprisingly, they left the place spotless!!

Good luck, however you decide to handle this.

Brian (NY)

Re: Pay rent or quit - Posted by Glenn

Posted by Glenn on December 03, 1999 at 20:29:31:

Certified Mail - Return Receipt Requested - Addressee Only. That leaves no way for the sneak to say someone else signed. Might you try some cash to get rid o her?

Re: Pay rent or quit - Posted by phil fernandez

Posted by phil fernandez on December 03, 1999 at 20:15:04:


Send it by certified mail or deliver it in person and have the tenant sign off on receiving the notice.