George hired Austin eviction attorneys Girling Law to remove a tenant because of the tenant harassing neighbors. Shortly after starting the eviction process, George’s tenant hired his own attorney. Girling Law took George’s case to trial and won a judgment before the Justice of the Peace. George’s tenant then appealed the case to a County Court at Law. Girling Law aggressively pursued a settlement agreement in this case. The firm’s persistence paid off and the case settled just before a trial before the County Court at Law.
Eviction Case Background
George hired our office to evict his tenant as quickly as possible. George’s tenant lived next door to another property George owns. His son lives in the neighboring property. George’s tenant had not properly maintained the property. Because of the tenant’s negligent maintenance of the property, George received some citations from the City of Austin. When George tried to address this issue with the tenant, he and the tenant exchanged words. Soon afterwards, the tenants started harassing George’s son. Part of the tenants’ pattern of harassment involved the tenants writing graffiti on George’s son’s unit.
Girling law served a notice to vacate on George’s problem tenant citing the issue of the tenant harassing neighbors. George then filed an eviction lawsuit with an immediate possession bond. While an immediate possession bond would normally accelerate the eviction timeline, George’s tenant hired a local attorney who had a substantial amount of experience with evictions. The tenant’s attorney ultimately succeeded in avoiding the issuance of a writ for immediate possession. George’s Austin eviction attorneys at Girling Law attempted negotiating a resolution, but the parties were unable to agree on a moveout date. The case went to trial, and Girling Law obtained a judgment for George. The tenant immediately appealed.
George asked Girling Law to continue representing him in his Austin eviction appeal.
Rental Property Location: Austin, TX
Eviction Court Location: Austin, TX
Eviction Trial Outcome – Tenant Harassing Neighbors
Girling Law immediately scheduled George’s case for trial. George’s Austin eviction attorney also discussed with George the need to readjust the settlement authority George had previously provided. Girling Law contacted opposing counsel and re-started the negotiation process. The attorneys went back and forth several times. As the trial date approached, it became apparent the parties would not settle. Both the tenant and the tenant’s attorney seemed convinced the Judge would not evict on the basis of city citations and the tenant harassing neighbors. The tenant was unwilling to budge on his demand for paying to stay in the property for two additional months. George was unwilling to budge on agreeing to let the tenant remain in the property for the remainder of the month.
George’s Austin eviction attorneys appeared on the day of trial and resumed negotiations with opposing counsel. When the attorneys first appeared before the County Court at Law Judge, the tenant requested that the trial be reset to a later date. George’s attorney successfully argued that the trial should proceed that day, but the parties should continue talking. The Judge, without going on the record, asked the attorneys about some high-level details about the case. The Judge strongly cautioned the parties to settle, indicating he would likely find for the landlord.
After about another hour and a half of negotiating, the tenant finally agreed to back off of his demands for a full two months in the property. The parties signed a settlement agreement and asked the Judge to reset the trial for a date following the agreed move-out date.
Garland Eviction Attorney Observations
George’s Austin eviction attorney did a great job of immediately requesting a trial setting. This simple step is often the source of unnecessary delays. Immediately upon being hired, the landlord attorney should always ask for a trial date. County Courts in Texas typically block off certain days of the week for hearing eviction trials. A landlord attorney delaying this step by even one day could cost his client seven.
Re-gauging settlement authority is a necessary evil when your tenant files an appeal. Your landlord attorney will always use the trial date to put your tenant’s head on the block. The court’s trial setting creates a deadline for both parties. This deadline also impacts the amount of money the landlord should expect from the tenant.
Girling Law wisely pursued settlement in this case. George’s tenant was current on his rent. Evicting a tenant because the city issued the landlord citations because of the tenant’s failure to properly maintain the property is a lawful reason to evict a tenant. It’s even a good reason to evict a tenant. The same is true for a claim involving the tenant harassing neighbors. But Judges typically frown upon signing an eviction judgment for something other than non-payment of rent. By going to great pains to settle this case AND making a point of ensuring the Judge saw their efforts, George’s attorneys won points with the Judge.
George’s Austin eviction attorney did a great job of involving the Judge in motivating the parties to settle. Often, tenants become so emotional about their eviction that they convince themselves they can win. Even after losing at the Justice of the Peace trial, George’s tenant was still demanding an unreasonable amount of time in the property. The tenant quickly changed is demand after hearing the Judge’s impressions about the case.