If you disagree with an eviction order for nonpayment of rent, you can request a do-over—a new trial before a different judge. If you are unsure if you want to appeal, read I was evicted; Should I appeal?

To get a new trial, you must turn in an appeal form with the JP Court no later than 5 days after the eviction order was signed. Note: The 5 days include weekends and holidays. If the deadline falls on the day the JP Court is closed (or is not open until 5:00 PM) you can file the form on the next day that the JP Court is open.

Step 1: Select, fill out, and make 2 copies of the form to appeal.

There are 3 ways to appeal. You must decide to turn in either a Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond or a Tenant’s Cash Deposit or a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs or Appeal Bond (called “Statement of Inability” for short). Select the correct form based on your income, debts, and property.

Note: Tenants appealing an eviction for nonpayment of rent often use the Statement of Inability. The reason is that if most tenants had the money for an appeal bond or a cash deposit then they would not have been evicted for nonpayment of rent

Option 1: Tenant's Surety Appeal Bond
Many people who are evicted for nonpayment of rent cannot qualify for an appeal bond.

An appeal bond is a promise to pay the landlord the amount of the bond if you lose the new trial. The bond is usually 2 times the money amount the JP Court awarded to the landlord (past due rent, court costs, attorney’s fees, etc.). If you file a Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond, you will still have to pay additional costs to the County Court for the new trial. Also, you will have to deposit one month’s rent with the JP within 5 days of filing the Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond. A Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond must be signed by you and 2 others (called sureties) and it guarantees to cover the bond amount.

Option 2: Tenant's Cash Deposit
Most people who are evicted for nonpayment of rent who cannot qualify for an appeal bond also cannot afford to deposit the full cash amount of the bond.

If the tenant cannot qualify for a Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond, the full cash amount of the appeal bond (usually 2 times the money amount the JP awarded to the landlord) can be deposited with the JP Court. If you file the full cash deposit, you will likely have to pay additional costs to the County Court for the new trial.

Option 3: Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs or Appeal Bond
Most people who are evicted for nonpayment of rent use this form.

Fill out the Statement of Inability if you cannot qualify for a Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond and you do not have money for the Tenant’s Cash Deposit and future court costs.

If you file this form, you must deposit one month’s rent with the JP Court within 5 days of filing the Statement of Inability. You will not have to pay the additional court costs to the County Court for the new trial. But if you stay in the rental unit, you must pay future rent to the County Court within 5 days of it being due.

Turning in 1 of these 3 forms (Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond or Tenant’s Cash Deposit or the Statement of Inability) to the JP Court within 5 days of the eviction order starts the process to get a new trial before a County Court judge.

Note: If you appeal by turning in a Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond or a Statement of Inability, you must deposit one month’s past due rent with the JP within 5 days. (The JP Court determines the monthly rent amount in all cases. If a government agency is responsible for some or all of the rent, the tenant must pay only the portion determined by the JP Court. ) If you do not deposit one month’s rent with the JP Court within 5 days of filing the Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond or the Statement of Inability the JP Court can sign a Writ of Possession without any notice to you. This means the constable can remove you and your possessions from the rental property.

 Tenant's Surety Appeal BondTenant's Cash DepositStatement of Inability
Pay 1 month's rent to JP Court within 5 days of filing? YES NO YES
Pay County Court costs? YES YES NO
Pay rent to County Court within 5 days of due date? NO NO YES

Additional form: Defendant/Tenant’s Answer

Fill out and turn in the Defendant/Tenant’s Answer with the JP Court when you file the appeal form (either the Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond or Tenant’s Cash Deposit or the Statement of Inability), if you have not already done so.

Next:

After you select and fill out the appeal form and the Defendant/Tenant’s Answer, make 2 copies.

Step 2: Turn in your forms to the JP Court and send a copy to the landlord.

Turn in your appeal form (either the Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond or Tenant’s Cash Deposit or Statement of Inability) with the JP Court no later than 5 days after the Justice of the Peace signed the eviction order.

If you miss the deadline, the eviction order will stay in place and you cannot get a new trial before a different judge. The 5 days include weekends and holidays. If the deadline falls on the day the JP Court is closed (or is not open until 5:00 PM) you can file the form on the next day that the JP Court is open. Also file the Defendant/Tenant’s Answer with the JP Court.

If you file the Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond or Tenant’s Cash Deposit, send a copy to the Plaintiff/Landlord’s agent within 5 days of turning it into the JP Court. Send by fax, email, commercial delivery service (such as FedEx or UPS), personal delivery, or certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep proof that you sent it to the landlord and bring that proof with you to the County Court hearing.

If you file a Statement of Inability, you do not have to send a copy to the landlord. The JP Court will do that for you.

Note: When you file the Defendant/Tenant’s Answer, you must send a copy to the landlord.

Step 3: Pay 1 month’s rent to the JP Court if you filed either a Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond or a Statement of Inability.

If you turn in a Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond or a Statement of Inability, you must pay the amount of rent stated in the eviction order (1 month’s rent as determined by the JP Court) to the JP Court no later than 5 days after filing one of these appeal forms.

If you miss this deadline, the JP Court may sign a Writ of Possession allowing the constable to remove you and your property without giving you any notice or hearing. (If you pay the entire cash bond to start the appeal, you do not have to deposit 1 month’s rent within 5 days of the eviction order.)

If a government agency is responsible for some or all of the rent, the tenant must pay only the portion determined by the JP Court.

Step 4: Pay each next rental payment to the County Court within 5 days of the due date if you turned in a Statement of Inability and you stay in the rental unit.

This rule only applies if you turn in the Statement of Inability form and you stay in the rental unit. If so, you must pay each month’s rent to the County Court within 5 days of the due date.

If you don’t make each month’s rent payment to the County Court on time, the landlord can ask the County Court to enter a Writ of Possession (to have you and your possessions removed). The first time this happens, the County Court may allow you to remain in the unit while the case is pending if you pay the rent and the landlord’s attorney’s fees before the hearing to have you removed.

The County Court judge does not have to give you a second chance and the judge can only do this one time if you fail to deposit each rent payment within 5 days of the due date

Eviction Appeal from Justice Court to County Court in Travis County

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