The Eviction Attempt
John felt the forthcoming climax of their financial woes. He had been a sales manager with a fast-growing company. But his company had been purchased, and John was laid off. He found a new job, but sales were slower with his new company.
His wife, Anne, inquired, “Who was that?”
“The buyer from the foreclosure sale.”
“What did he say?”
He could not evade the question. “He is going to evict us if we can’t pay rent.”
“He can’t do that,” Anne exclaimed as tears streamed down her face. “He said that we would have six months to redeem the house.”
“He thinks he can.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know,” John admitted.
John called Henry that evening and reaffirmed that he was unable to afford the rent. He explained their financial predicament. Henry understood. However, Henry could not afford to pay the mortgage and allow them to stay rent-free. “Then both of us would be in the same boat,” Henry explained.
“You cannot evict me if you cannot even sell the house,” John reasoned to Henry. Henry cited the code statute and assured John that he would file for eviction if they did not agree to a lease.
John did not sign the lease, and Henry filed the eviction forms the following day. Henry felt horrible, but he was protecting his own family.
A couple of days later, John received the eviction notice. The trial would be heard in merely nine days. He thought he would have more time. Anne nearly had a nervous breakdown. She began packing boxes that night, and John begged her to stop. “Why?” she asked. “It’s not like we can avoid it.”
“I’ll figure out something,” he promised.
John called a Frisco landlord-tenant attorney the following day. He explained his predicament, and then the attorney asked him a series of questions, the last of which was important. “Did you receive the notice to vacate?”
“What’s that?” John inquired.
“It’s a sheet of paper that demands you vacate the property by a certain date.”
John reviewed the documents he had received, which included all of the correspondence from the foreclosure sale. “No,” John replied, “I haven’t received that document.”
The landlord-tenant attorney from Frisco explained that he would represent John for a flat fee. The attorney told John that his victory would only provide a couple of weeks of extra time. Still, John had to fight. Otherwise, he feared that Anne would leave him.
John and Anne arrived at the small Denton County courthouse at the appointed time. John watched as Henry and Ginny entered the waiting area outside the courtroom. They looked like a nice couple. It was not their fault that he was in this financial mess.
The bailiff opened the door, and everybody flowed into the courtroom. They sat on a bench as they waited for the judge to enter. After several minutes, the bailiff opened the door to the judge’s chambers and stated loudly, “All rise.” The judge walked briskly to the top of the stairs leading to his bench. As he sat, the audience followed in like manner.
The first case was called. The tenant told a compelling sob story, but the judge ruled for the eviction. The second case was called. The landlord had failed to make all sorts of repairs, but the judge still ruled for the eviction. Landlords appeared to get away with murder in this court. Then John’s case was called.
The judge asked Henry and Ginny to prosecute their case. They explained how John and Anne refused to leave the property after they had purchased it at a HOA foreclosure sale. The judge then asked the defendants. “Is it true?”
John’s and Anne’s attorney provided the answer. “Yes, your Honor, but a notice to vacate must be sent prior to an eviction being filed. In the present case, your Honor, the plaintiffs failed to provide a notice to vacate.”
The judge turned his eyes to the plaintiffs and asked, “Did you provide a notice to vacate?”
“We provided the required notices under the code for a HOA foreclosure, your Honor.”
The judge scrutinized Henry’s reply. “I only asked if you provided a notice to vacate?”
Henry was confused. “I’m not sure, your Honor. We told them that they had to leave if they refused to lease the house from us.”
Then the attorney for John and Anne stated to the judge, “Your honor, there is no Notice to Vacate. I therefore request that you rule for the Defendants and award the defendants attorney’s fees.”
The judge thus ruled that John and Anne could remain in the house. Anne was ecstatic about the outcome. She became her normal self for almost a week. Then she opened the mail and received a formal notice to vacate. She shared the notice to vacate with John when he returned home. “Why won’t they just leave us alone?” Anne asked. “It’s not like they can do anything for five more months.”
Then John explained how the eviction had only been delayed. Anne’s face flushed, but she didn’t cry. She simply went to the bedroom and locked the door. When John returned home from work the following day, he found a note from Anne describing how she had taken the kids to go live with her parents.
I am Robert Newton of The Law Office of Robert Newton, P.C., and I am the author of this series entitled The Impact of Law, in addition to being a real estate, business, and estate planning attorney in Frisco, Texas. While the characters and the circumstances are fictional, they represent a very realistic scenario. If you are prosecuting or defending an eviction, please contact an attorney. None of the information contained within the story represent legal advice. Actually, in many cases, it would be very bad legal advice. So, seek the advice of an attorney. And, stay tuned for the next chapter!