I'm a Texas landlord with a difficult tenant. I've given the tenant the proper Texas termination notice, but he still won't leave. What next? What is the Texas eviction process?

If your tenant has ignored your notice to vacate, you may file a forcible detainer action (an eviction lawsuit) with your local Justice of the Peace. In addition to detailing why the tenant should be evicted and asking for the tenant's eviction, you can request that the tenant pay you any rent that is owed and for your attorney fees, so long as the total is not more than $5000. If it is more than $5000, you will have to file a civil claim in another court. The Justice of the Peace will then consider your arguments and the arguments of the tenant and rule for one of you. (You or the tenant may also request a jury for this decision, which will cost you $5.) If you win, you can have the tenant's personal belongings removed from the premises in the presence of a police officer after the six day appeal period and with 24 hours notice to the tenant.

Another option is to file a bond for immediate possession before the scheduled Justice of the Peace hearing. This will allow you to retake possession of the property six days after the tenant has been served with the bond unless the tenant files a counter bond or requests that the hearing be within that six days period. This will only shorten the eviction process if the tenant does not respond to the bond. Also note that if the tenant wins the suit you could lose all or part of your bond.

If at any time you think you are in over your head, remember that you can always seek legal help from an experienced Texas evictions attorney.