Evicting a tenant is usually a pretty unpleasant affair, but it’s something you will have to face as a landlord (as you probably already know). Besides all the hassle and stress and legal maneuvering involved, it can be fairly expensive and can take quite a while, especially with uncooperative tenants. So let’s take a look at the eviction process in Houston, both the costs and the timeframes.
Costs of Eviction in Houston
The potential costs of the eviction process in Houston can add up quickly and reach well into five figures. First, there’s the obvious cost of lost rental income. You’re probably looking at a minimum of three month’s worth of lost rent. If the monthly rent for your property is $1,000, then over that three-month period you’ll be losing a total of $3,000. And if the eviction process drags out even longer, there’s even more loss in rents.
Then you’ll need to factor in all the additional fees and expenses . . .
- Court costs – Probably a minimum of $150
- Attorney’s fees – Easily $500
- Sheriff Department fees – $50-$100
- Repair expenses – $1,000+ and possibly more because sometimes evicted tenants trash the place for revenge
- Cleaning charges – $500 (likely unavoidable)
- Locksmith charges – A minimum of $150, depending on the number of locks to be changed
All this, then, comes to a minimum here of over $5,000. And if you have to go through the eviction process a few or several times, those costs could add up to a staggering amount.
The eviction process in Houston can take anywhere from a few weeks up to several months to reach its conclusion. And a landlord has to follow the legal eviction process to the letter, or it can take even longer. The steps in the process are as follows:
1. Notice Period – The first step in the eviction process in Houston is that of giving the tenant notice of the reason for termination of the lease. Depending on the specific type of notice – pay rent or quit, cure or quit, unconditional quit – the notice period allowing the tenant to pay up or rectify problems can range from 10 days to two months.
2. Eviction Lawsuit Filing – If the tenant refuses to vacate or make things right, then you have to compile all your necessary documents and file an eviction lawsuit – and then wait days or weeks for the court to take action.
3. Eviction Lawsuit Serving – After the suit has been filed, a notice of eviction must be served to the tenant. And then you have to wait for the tenant to respond.
4. Court Hearing – If the tenant still doesn’t comply, a court date is set, possibly weeks in the future, and then the hearing takes place.
5. Delivery and Execution of Writ of Possession – The final step in the eviction process in Houston involves the delivery and execution of the writ of possession when the court finds in your favor. Generally, it takes the sheriff a few days to a few weeks to post the notice. And then if the tenant still refuses to vacate, you’ll have to get the sheriff, at their convenience, to execute the writ and physically remove the tenant.
So, all told, you could be looking at an eviction process that takes at least three months and probably more. And all that time, you are paying fees and losing rental income.
The costs and timeframes of the eviction process in Houston are not inconsiderable. So maybe you don’t want to suffer through this costly, lengthy, and inevitable part of landlording any longer.