The Professional Eviction Pauper of 2009


Ohhhh this one was a doozy.  The recession just hit hard in Dallas, Texas and the new home builder that I worked for,  Wall Homes, just let 80 of its staff/sales team go and filed for Bankruptcy the same week. I had started investing as a partner in my first real estate brokerage a year before in 2008, called Janus Real Estate Group, still owned and operated by me today.   So as Wall Homes closed its model home sales offices on January 7, 2009, I started full time at Janus as co-owner of an already operating brokerage on January 8, 2009. My business partner, Sarah or, Sar Bear as I call her, was the Broker and had built an amazing business in just a little over 2 years.  She had a few Real Estate Agents working under her, was managing about 30 rental properties in our property management division and had been bringing in new clients and investors organically as a North Texas Real Estate blogger. We were early adopter bloggers actually and most of our client base came thru content rich & value added blogging and referrals…that is actually how I continued to build Janus and my new company, Mile27 Realty (opened in 2014) until this very day.

At any rate, one of my first long and hard lessons was watching a tenant know how to work ‘the system’ in eviction court.  She was a great tenant for about 2 years until she lost her job and after 1 full year of the landlord and us working with her on late rent collections minus the late fees, payment plans, etc, ultimately eviction was the only remaining reality as she would not leave willingly.  Texas is traditionally a landlord friendly state, meaning that many of the laws are in favor of limited government involvement and pro Business owners so typically evictions take 3 weeks to 1. 5 months max in many cases, where as in other states like New York and California they can take many months if not years longer.  This tenant was quite the exception, however.

We started the eviction proceedings in January and here is the chain of events, costs and timeline of what happened over the next 6 months:

Timeline (dates are approx) Action Cost to Landlord Feelings
January 2009 It was late January and we all realized she was not actually going to pay any rent this time….remember we had been working deals with her for the last year Loss of January rent Lessons on people lying, going silent and not doing what they say they wil do
Our services were free Marking the hard decision of when to say when and pull the trigger of playing hard ball
February 2009 Delivered Noticed to Vacate to Tenant, She did not pay rent Loss of February rent Inexperienced in evictions b/c we worked so hard to qualify correctly
Filed Eviction 3 days later $120 Court Filing Fee upset for the landlord
Received Courtdate for approx 3 weeks later Our services were free wanting to find a resolve and solve before court
March 2009 We won the court hearing for the tenant to be evicted, however the court gives loosing party 5 days to appeal Loss of March rent Frustration
She appealed $120 Court Filling Fee for round 2 Eviction First lesson in seeing how the court system works
She received the appeal our services were free
We appealed and set new court date for 1 month out….court was pretty busy with evictions during this time
April 2009 We won the 2nd court hearing for the tenant to be evicted, however the court gives losing party 5 days to appeal…again… Loss of April rent Real fear realizing who we were dealing with here and how were we going to get her out of the property…remember I was 29 at the time and these were some of my first days on the job
She appealed….again… $120 Court Filling Fee for round 3 Eviction Landlord was not very happy understandably, so we were working extra hard to find ways to help him thru it
She received the appeal…again our services were free
WHY…b/c she said ‘she was getting a job’
May 2009 We appealed and set a 3rd court date for approx 3 weeks out Loss of May rent Fear of this crazy tenant
$120 Court Filling Fee for round 3 Eviction Stress on all sides
our services were free distress in the court could this be a case
June 2009 We got our 3rd court date. We won…again. Loss of June rent Just plain stres…that pretty much wraps up all emotions
She filed an ‘Pauper’s Affidavit’ That is basically a loop hole to say she can’t move b/c she is detitute and does not have a job and has no where to go. The court agreed to it. Crazy $120 Court Filling Fee for round 3 Eviction
But the caviate was she had to pay 1 months of rent to stay with in 5 days. our services were free
She did not.
We filed the Writ of Poessions on Day 6
The constable came 5 days after that
We hired 4 day laborers (well actually 3…I was one of them), and a locksmith to meet the Constable at the property at 10am on Eviction day. This was a few days before my 30th Birthday & I had no idea what I was doing.
The constable got her out.
We got the property back, cleaned it, it put it on the market and released it out.
July 2009 New tenant moved in Prorated July Rent All was happy, we learned alot and no one fired anyone.
Releasing Fees
Make Ready Costs
And a Plus was the tenant double security deposit we collected which wiped out a couple of months of rent


MORAL Of the Story:

Have money in the bank to cover these types of extreme and rare circumstances.  And trust me they are indeed rare when you hire the right team and have a long term perspective.  But you have to have capital to survive the occasional famine.