If you were evicted for not paying rent, but you want to stay...

If you disagree with an eviction order, you can request a “do-over”—a new trial before a different judge. This is called an “appeal.”

To get this do-over (new trial), you must turn in certain forms within 5 days of the eviction order. You turn in (file) the forms with the JP Court that ordered the eviction. When those forms are filed, your eviction case is moved from the JP Court to County Court (sometimes called the County Court at Law). At the County Court level the case starts again as if there was no eviction in JP Court.

But, there is a catch.

For most tenants, to get the new trial, you must deposit 1 month’s rent with the JP Court within 5 days of asking for an appeal. Also, for most tenants who want to stay, you have to deposit each next rental payment with the County Court within 5 days of it becoming due. (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 don’t pay the month’s rent and each next rental payment then the landlord can get a Writ of Possession. A “Writ of Possession” means the landlord can have the constable remove you and your belongings. Also, you will lose the appeal. If you deposit some, but not all of the money, you will lose the money. Even if you win the new trial, you lose the money you deposited with the court(s) because the money is rent you owe.

Example 1: No appeal (new trial) filed

John’s rent is $500, due on the first of each month. In January, John fails to pay his rent. On January 15, the landlord posts a notice to vacate on the inside of his door, giving him 3 days to vacate. A week later, John is served with an eviction lawsuit. John appears in JP Court in late January, but the JP Court enters an eviction order. John has 5 days to file a form to get a new trial.

John does NOT file the appeal/new trial form.

The landlord can get a Writ of Possession (to have John and his possessions removed) on the 6th day after the JP Court evicted John.

Outcome:

John has not paid any additional money. The constable can be ordered to remove John and his belongings 6 days after the eviction order.

Example 2: Appeal (new trial) filed but 1 month’s rent NOT paid to JP Court

Special Rules for Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond or Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Cost or Appeal Bond (“Statement of Inability”)

John’s rent is $500, due on the first of each month. In January, John fails to pay his rent. On January 15, the landlord posts a notice to vacate on the inside of his door, giving him 3 days to vacate. A week later, John is served with an eviction lawsuit. John appears in JP Court in late January, but the Justice of the Peace enters an eviction order. John has 5 days to file a form to get a new trial.

John files a form for a new trial (by turning in either a Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond or a Statement of Inability), but he does NOT deposit 1 month’s rent to the JP Court within 5 days of filing the form.

On the 6th day after John filed his appeal form (but no cash for 1 month’s rent), the Justice of the Peace can sign a Writ of Possession (to have John and his possessions removed).

Outcome:

John has not paid any additional money to the Court. The constable can be ordered to remove John and his belongings 11 days after the eviction order. John has delayed the process by at least 5 days.

Example 3: Appeal (new trial) filed, 1 month’s rent paid to JP Court, but current rent NOT paid to County Court

Special Rules for Statement of Inability

John’s rent is $500, due on the first of each month. In January, John fails to pay his rent. On January 15, the landlord posts a notice to vacate on the inside of his door, giving him 3 days to vacate. A week later, John is served with an eviction lawsuit. John appears in JP Court in late January, but the Justice of the Peace enters an eviction order. John has 5 days to file a form to get a new trial.

John files a form for a new trial (by turning in a Statement of Inability form). If John files a Statement of Inability, he has an additional 5 days to pay 1 month’s rent. John makes the 1 month’s rent payment ($500) to the JP Court within 5 days after filing his Statement of Inability. The case moves to County Court.

However, John’s February rent has to be paid to the County Court by February 5th. John does not make the current (February) rent payment by February 5th.

The landlord can ask the County Court to enter a Writ of Possession (to have John and his possessions removed). The first time this happens, the County Court may allow John to remain in the unit while the case is pending if John pays the February rent and the landlord’s attorney’s fees before the hearing. The judge does not have to give John a second chance and the judge can only do this one time if John fails to deposit current rent by the 5th of each month. John’s failure to pay the February rent can result in the Writ of Possession (to have John and his possessions removed).

Outcome

John has paid an additional $500.

John has delayed by several days having the constable remove him and his belongings.

He may be ordered to pay additional costs, such as attorney’s fees.

Example 4: Appeal (new trial) filed, 1 month’s rent paid to JP Court, and current rent paid to County Court

Special Rules for Statement of Inability

John’s rent is $500, due on the first of each month. In January, John fails to pay his rent. On January 15, the landlord posts a notice to vacate on the inside of his door, giving him 3 days to vacate. A week later, John is served with an eviction lawsuit. John appears in JP Court in late January, but the Justice of the Peace enters an eviction order. John has 5 days to file a form to get a new trial.

John files a form for a new trial (by turning in a Statement of Inability form). If John filed a Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond or Statement of Inability, he has an additional 5 days to deposit 1 month’s rent.

John pays the 1 month’s rent ($500) to the JP Court within the 5 day period.

Because John appealed by turning in a Statement of Inability, his February rent has to be paid to the County Court by February 5th. John makes the current (February) $500 rent payment to the County Court by February 5th.

In late February, John has his new hearing on the eviction lawsuit and the County Court judge also rules against John.

Outcome:

John has paid an additional $1,000.

John has delayed by a few weeks having the constable remove him and his belongings.

He may be ordered to pay additional costs, such as attorney’s fees.

For More Help

  • To learn how to appeal, read How do I appeal an eviction for nonpayment of rent when I want to stay in the rental unit?
  • The Austin Tenant’s Council offers telephone counseling on housing issues 512-474-1961 Monday through Thursday from 9 am to noon and 1 pm to 4 pm, and Fridays from 9 am to noon www.Housing-Rights.org. No legal advice can be provided.
  • Volunteer Legal Services (VLS) helps low-income people with family law and other civil legal problems. Get free advice about your case from a volunteer lawyer by applying online at www.VLSOCT.org/get-help/. General Law applications open Mondays at 9am and close on Wednesdays at 5pm, or when they reach capacity.

Eviction Appeal from Justice Court to County Court in Travis County

chat loading...