I am in the unfortunate situation where one of my tenants in a fourplex has completely stopped paying rent. They claim that the head of the household is hospitalized and is unable to work so they are unable to pay the rent for now. The neighbors do corroborate the story so I was a little lenient the first month. Since then, all I've heard are sob stories and misdirects on how some other relative is going to pay the rent and they reach out and make all kinds of promises but it's now 4 months and I have not seen a penny in rent. I am sure I have waited way too long but I want to get this done right and would prefer professional help. Are there any attorneys/individuals/companies that you would recommend that could help me in this situation and even help with recuperating some of the lost rent?
I'm a local attorney and I can tell you that eviction is a very easy process and does not require the use of an attorney. Most JP Courts in Tarrant County have eviction forms on their websites with very easy instructions. You see all sorts of landlords doing this process themselves. Good chance you won't even have to show up. 90% chance your tenants will bail before the hearing and 95% chance they will not show up.
As for recuperating lost rent, I'd give up on that idea. Collection laws are not good and the tenants are almost certainly judgment proof (if they had money, they'd probably pay the rent). Most likely the best you can hope for is to get them out cordially and hopefully minimize the damage to the unit.
All you need to do it give them a notice to vacate. There are plenty of pre-made forms on the Internet. They need to have it for 2 days and at which point you can file for eviction. You can place it on the front door or mail it. I mail them, when I do, I wait a week to give time for delivery.
@John Chapman is 100% correct. If you don't like want to complete the paperwork Nationwide Eviction Services can handle the process for you at a reasonable fee. I believe you can use them to file a judgement, but don't plan on seeing anything come from that. Just get the tenants out fast and find better ones fast.
If you plan to do this yourself you should read the property code about evictions. Not all info given here is correct. For example if you leave a notice at the property, it needs to be posted on the INSIDE of the front door. That means you need to go inside to post. Probably not a bad idea to also mail regular mail and certified mail with return receipt. Just in case the JP asks you how you mailed and what you did to give them notice.
Also your notice could be different depending on what you have in the lease. ...At minimum you need to give 3 day notice before you file the eviction suit....that's after the tenant would have received the notice....that is unless you have contracted for something different.
Will your property manager do all this for you or are you self managing?
Thanks for the replies. I am self-managing this. I got a template online and put it in certified mail today and gave them till the 31st to pay. That should allow for enough time to delivery and afterward. If I don't hear from them by then, should I just file an online eviction form in the Tarrant County courthouse?
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