My County Court Eviction Trial for Nonpayment of Rent when I Want to Stay.

Before you get a new eviction trial in County Court…

  • Did you turn in a form to appeal within 5 calendar days from the Justice of the Peace (JP) Court eviction order?
  • Did you tell the landlord about the appeal in the correct way? You must have sent a copy of your appeal form to the landlord if you turned in either the Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond or Tenant’s Cash Deposit Bond. (If you appealed by turning in a Statement of Inability,* the JP Court will send the form to the landlord for you.)
  • Did you pay 1 month’s rent to the JP Court within 5 days of turning in the appeal form? If you turned in a Tenant’s Cash Deposit Bond, you do not have to make the 1 month’s payment.

To learn more, read:

I was evicted; Should I appeal?

How do I appeal an eviction for nonpayment of rent when I want to stay in the rental unit?

*The form “Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Cost or Appeal Bond” is called “Statement of Inability” for short.

Step 1

Pay each month’s rent to the County Court within 5 days of it becoming due if

  • you appealed by turning in a Statement of Inability and
  • you remain in the rental unit.

(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.)

Pay the filing fee to the County Court unless you appealed by turning in the Statement of Inability.

Step 2

If you appealed by turning in either a Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond or a Tenant’s Cash Deposit Bond, the County Clerk will send you a notice of the amount due. You must pay this amount to the County Clerk within 20 days. If you turned in a Statement of Inability you do not have to pay the filing fee.

Step 3

Turn in Defendant/Tenant’s Answer form with the County Court (if you did not turn it in with the JP Court) no later than 8 days after the County Court receives your case.

Step 4

Turn in a Tenant’s Request for Court Appointed Attorney with the County Court if you want to ask the judge to appoint you a free lawyer. Note: Unlike a criminal case, the judge does not have to appoint you a free lawyer.

Chart

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

How does the case get set for a trial?

Rarely is the tenant in a hurry to have another eviction trial. More often, the landlord requests a date and time for the trial.

  • Either you or the landlord can set the case for a trial. The trial setting will not happen automatically. The trial cannot be held until 8 days after the County Court has received your case from the Justice of the Peace court.
  • Travis County Local Rules require the tenant and the landlord (or the agent/lawyer) to try to agree to a trial date that is convenient for both sides. The County Court Operations Officer or Judicial Aide can give you a list of dates and times for eviction trials. Once a trial date is set, a Notice of Trial Setting should be filed with the County Court and sent to the other side. (For example, if the landlord sets the hearing date, the Notice of Trial must be sent to the tenant.)

Remember: if you are still in the rental unit and you appealed by turning in a Statement of Inability, you must pay each month’s rent to the County Court within 5 days of it becoming due. The monthly rent was determined by the JP Court and the amount is in the eviction order.

Remember: If you have not turned in the Defendant/Tenant’s Answer, do so no later than 8 days after the County Court has received your file. If you want a court appointed lawyer, and have not turned in the Tenant’s Request for Court Appointed Attorney, do so before the trial.

I received a Notice of Trial Setting. What do I do next?

  • Go to the trial! Sometimes the landlord will lose on a technicality. For example, the landlord may have failed to properly give notice to vacate or may have failed to wait 3 days after the notice of eviction before filing the lawsuit with the JP Court. If so, the judge should deny the eviction. Sometimes the landlord or the attorney or even the judge has a last minute conflict and doesn’t show up for the trial. If so, the case may be reset for a later date. Also, the judge may appoint you an attorney and reset the case.
  • Bring copies of all the forms you have filed with the courts (for example, Defendant/Tenant’s Answer, Tenant’s Motion for Appointed Attorney, receipt of rent paid to courts, and Tenant’s appeal form-- either the Tenant’s Surety Appeal Bond, Tenant’s Cash Deposit Bond or Statement of Inability).

What Happens at the Trial?
There are usually many eviction cases set at the same time. The judge will check to see if all the people on all the cases are in the courtroom. When your name is called, tell the judge you are there.

If you want a court-appointed attorney, tell the judge. After the judge knows who is there, the judge will begin hearing the eviction cases one by one.

When it’s time for your case, the judge will either reset your case or have the trial. During the trial, the landlord will go first. After, you get a chance to tell your side and present any evidence or witnesses. Usually when there is a trial, the judge will rule for or against evicting you at that time.

Read Tips for the Courtroom for more information about going to court.

Get Help

The Austin Tenant’s Council offers telephone counseling on housing issues.

512-474-1961
Monday to Friday
9 am to noon and 1 pm to 4 pm

www.Housing-Rights.org

Eviction Appeal from Justice Court to County Court in Travis County

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