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How To Evict a Person from a Property Acquired in a Foreclosure Sale (Part 2)

This is part two of a two-part series that details the process of evicting a tenant from a property in Texas that is acquired by an owner in a foreclosure sale.

Step 1) Know the Date. After an eviction petition has been filed in a Justice of the Peace Court (“JP Court”), the JP Court will schedule an ‘eviction hearing’. In this eviction hearing, the landlord will make its case to the Justice of the Peace. The Justice of the Peace is a JP Court judge and handles cases dealing with all types of evictions. The plaintiff should verify the date on when the eviction hearing will be held. Usually, the eviction hearing will be scheduled two to three weeks after the plaintiff has filed their eviction petition. Once the date is known, the plaintiff should place it in their calendar.

Step 2) Know If It is a Zoom Call. Considering that we are still in a global pandemic, some JP Courts may choose not to have in-person eviction hearings. Eviction hearings that are not in person may be conducted by Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or through other court-mandated video conferencing software. To know such information, it is best to either call the court coordinator or send them an email. The coordinator usually will reply within 24-48 hours.

Step 3) Prepare Binders. When preparing for an eviction hearing, particularly an in-person eviction hearing, a plaintiff should have certain documents that are packaged in an organized binder. Ideally, the binder should be prepared in triplicate: One for the plaintiff, one for the defendant, and one for the judge. In all three binders, one should have a copy of the petition, a copy of Substitute Trustee’s Deed that details the foreclosure sale for the property, a copy of the 3-Day Notice to Vacate, a U.S. Postal Service Certified Mail Receipt if delivered through the mail, and a printout of the U.S. Postal Service Tracking History for said 3-Day Notice To Vacate. These binders will demonstrate to the JP Court judge that you are here as a professional and you are organized in making your case.

Step 4) Attend the Eviction Hearing. In-person hearings should always be attended in-person; particularly eviction hearings. The reason being is that if a landlord is not present at an eviction hearing, the judge will have to dismiss the eviction hearing and the landlord will have to start over. Be there. Be early. Be present.

Step 5) The Writ of Possession. Foreclosure eviction hearings often result in a successful outcome for the landlord. What is most important is what happens after a successful hearing. After a successful hearing, the occupants have one week to appeal, which means to challenge, the ruling, and have a higher court address the issue. Most often, occupants do not choose to appeal. If an occupant has not appealed by the one-week deadline, the landlord may request a Writ of Possession from the JP Court on the date following the expiration of the one-week appeal period. A Writ of Possession is an order from the JP Court to a constable requesting that the constable take possession of the property that was the basis of the eviction suit. Based on the Writ of Possession, the constable will usually remove occupants and whatever personal property is in the property. Once the Writ of Possession is executed, the property is free for the landlord to either lease to another tenant, sell on the market, or otherwise proceed as it chooses.

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