In a recent article, I discussed when and how to file an eviction. The purpose of an eviction is to get legal possession of the property. When you are filing an eviction for non-payment of rent, the judge will award a judgment to the plaintiff/landlord for the amount of rents owed in arrears. Late fees, HOA fees, and utility costs cannot be included in an eviction judgment. Once the judge issues a judgment, the tenant has five days to appeal the judgment and or vacate the proeprty. If the tenant does not file an appeal within five days and fails to vacate the property, the landlord may file a writ of possession.
Most of the time tenants will vacate the property, and you don’t have to file a writ of possession. If the tenants do not vacate the property in five days, you must file the writ and pay an additional fee at the same county courthouse you filed the eviction. At that time, a constable will place a final notice on the front door of property advising the tenants to fully vacate the property by a specific day. The constable will then call landlord to setup a day and time to physically remove all personal property from residence and place at the curb. We call a locksmith to change locks and have a crew ready to remove items from property when we meet constable at specified day and time. After 24 hours, personal property not removed from curb must be removed and disposed of.
Filing an eviction is a lose lose scenario for both the tenants and landlord. It is always best work out a payment plan. However, it is never too late to stop an eviction or a writ. For the first time, we filed two writ of possessions in the month of December, two weeks before Christmas. The tenants called and pleaded to allow them to stay. We insisted the tenants pay all late fees, eviction filing fee, writ of possession filing fee, and we would cancel the writ.
The current lease terminates when an eviction judgment is awarded t
o plaintiff/landlord. So, if a tenant works out a last minute payment plan and remains in the property, the landlord must create a new lease. All terms of the new lease are negotiable. Our office can process rents by credit card, check, money order, check by phone, and bank draft. Our credit card machine is happy to take payments from family members coming to the aid of tenants in dire need of help. Since the previous lease was terminated, we required the family member to pay all fees and even added additional security deposit to be applied to the new lease. Credit payment went through, and we will be drafting a new lease and apply the funds towards increased security deposit.
In summary, it is never too late to workout payment plans for tenants who have the ability to pay their rent. It is rare that a tenant comes through this late in the game. Now, the landlord has received all past due rents and has additional security deposit funds to offset risk of a future breach of lease.
Had we not had the ability to accept credit cards, the tenant may have run out of options and been on the street and the landlord would have a vacant property and no rent proceeds.
If you have any questions about the eviction process or filing a writ of possession, feel free to call us at 512-257-9836