CAN I STILL OBTAIN A WRIT OF POSSESSION?
Your tenant failed to pay rent, possibly for months. You gave proper notice to vacate, presented your case effectively at the eviction hearing, and received judgment from the justice of the peace awarding you with possession and back rent. A nightmare experience, perhaps, but at least it’s over, right? Not so fast. A few days later, you receive a notice from the JP court informing you that your tenant appealed the JP ruling.
Now what? Are you stuck? Do you have to wait (sometimes several weeks, or even months) until a county court hearing before you can remove the tenant? It depends; there may still be a chance to have the tenant removed before the county court hearing, depending on what the tenant does next.
Normally, appealing a JP eviction ruling results in a brand new trial at the county court level. However, there are requirements that a tenant appealing a JP ruling must satisfy:
A) If the tenant files an appeal, but does not file a statement of inability to afford payment, the tenant has until the fifth day after filing the notice of appeal and appeal bond to pay one month’s rent into the court registry; or
B) If the tenant does file a statement of inability to afford payment with its notice of appeal, within five days the tenant is required to pay into the court registry an amount established by the court and provided in a notice to the tenant.
Failure to pay the required amount to the registry gives the plaintiff the right to request that a writ be immediately issued. However, you must act fast. The time frame to request the writ begins at the end of the fifth day after filing and ends when the justice of the peace clerks transfer the file to the county court. Generally, this allows only the sixth day on which the plaintiff can request that a writ be issued for failure to pay into the court registry. Once the file has been transferred to the county court, your opportunity to request that a writ be issued (from the JP court) for failure to pay has expired.
It is important, however, to remember that acquiring the writ and gaining possession of the premises does not dismiss the appeal. If you still want to pursue an eviction judgment, including an award of back rent from your tenant, you will have to prosecute the eviction appeal in county court or your eviction case will be dismissed.
We hope you find this information helpful. We recommend you contact us, or another attorney, regarding the particular circumstances of your case.