Dickson A. sought a McKinney eviction attorney after he realized he had virtually no chance of negotiating settlement. Dickson’s tenant was angry because he became convinced he had a right to buy the property. Complicating matters further, Dickson lost his original, signed copy of his lease agreement. Also, he delivered the notice to vacate improperly. Girling Law was still able to obtain judgments against the tenant before the Collin County Justice of the Peace. The tenant appealed and Dickson’s McKinney eviction attorney won a judgment before the Collin County Court at Law.
EVICTION CASE BACKGROUND:
Dickson used a written lease agreement with his tenant. But Dickson lost his copy of the lease. He had only a copy, but that copy did not even have tenant’s signature.
Dickson and his tenant had a falling out because the tenant wanted to buy the rental property. The tenant claimed Dickson offered to sell the property to the tenant and that the tenant had accepted the offer. Dickson denied that he ever made such an offer. Angry, the tenant stopped making rent payments in response to the situation. Dickson responded by giving the tenant a notice to vacate. However, Dickson left his notice to vacate on the outside of the tenant’s front door. The notice to vacate stated that the property had no mailbox.
Girling Law started the eviction process immediately after receiving Dickson’s documentation. After the Collin County Constable served the tenant with eviction papers, Girling Law attempted to negotiate a settlement with the tenant. Dickson’s tenant would only agree to terms that were unreasonable. Dickson’s McKinney eviction attorney then proceeded to trial before a Collin County Justice of the Peace. On the day of trial Dickson’s lawyers again attempted to negotiate a settlement. However, the tenant would not agree to any of the terms we offered.
RENTAL PROPERTY LOCATION: ALLEN, TX
EVICTION COURT LOCATION: MCKINNEY, TX
EVICTION TRIAL OUTCOME:
We easily won a judgment at Collin County Justice of the Peace trial. Dickson’s copy of the lease agreement was not enforceable in court. However, the tenant had not obtained his own McKinney eviction attorney. Because of this we elected to proceed as though we had an enforceable lease agreement. The Justice of the Peace accepted the copy of the lease we presented.
The tenant filed an appeal to a Collin County Court at Law. Shortly after the Collin County Court at Law scheduled the second trial, Girling Law printed off a Google street view image of Dickson’ rental property. The photo revealed that the rental property did have a mail box. This was a problem because the notice to vacate Dickson served on his tenant stated the property did have a mailbox. Worse, Dickson left the notice to vacate on the outside of his tenant’s front door. This was also a problem. At the time Dickson delivered the notice, the 2016 notice to vacate delivery rules were not in effect. The old set of laws required the property to not have a mailbox if the notice is left on the outside of the front door. We were now facing trial with a defective lease agreement and a defective notice to vacate.
On the day of the Collin County Court at Law trial, we again tried to settle with the tenant. Settlement was now critical to our strategy. Unfortunately, we were unable to convince the tenant that his allegation of a verbal contract to buy the house was not enforceable in Texas. Our attempts to settle again failed.
During the trial, we called the tenant as a witness and had him acknowledge that the copy of the lease agreement we presented was a copy of the one he originally signed with our client. He also admitted that he received the notice to vacate. Getting the tenant to make these admissions was a huge win given what we were facing. The Judge did not accept our attempts to admit the lease agreement. But the tenant’s admissions meant we were entitled to a judgment in spite of the issues with the lease and the notice.
After trial, we again negotiated with the tenant. This time the tenant was no longer confident about his ability to win. He agreed to settlement terms that Dickson A. approved.
MCKINNEY EVICTION ATTORNEY OBSERVATIONS:
When a tenant fails to obtain his own lawyer, proceeding with a defective eviction is sometimes a safe gamble. Often, the decision to proceed turns on which Judge or Judges we will be working with. The decision to proceed can also turn on the landlord’s risk appetite and the outcome the landlord desires. Some outcomes may make it necessary to start the eviction process over or to use a different notice to vacate. Hiring a McKinney eviction attorney who is familiar with the Judges in your rental property’s jurisdiction is critical to increase your odds of success.
In this case, we had both a defective lease and a notice to vacate that was delivered improperly. Proceeding with a bad copy of the lease agreement risked losing a money judgment for unpaid rent and a money judgment for attorney fees. We lost that gamble. But our client’s top priority was pressuring the tenant with a judgment as quickly as possible. The money portion of the judgment was only a secondary consideration. Our biggest risk was the improper delivery of the notice to vacate. Relying on the tenant’s testimony to overcome this risk was a substantial gamble for us. Having a tenant testify at trail without having first conducted a deposition is something we can never count on. Had the tenant hired his own attorney we would not have take this risk. We would have instead restarted the eviction process.