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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Threatened With Eviction Over a Water Bill in Texas

    We have always paid our rent on time. We havelived here for almost 2 years. Yesterday the maint man comes by to see if anyoe still lives here. I called the office to find out what was going on I was threatened with the ast mgr going to file a eviction because we have never paid a water bill. We have never recieved any water bills or notices from the mgmt office about it. Our lease does not have an water addendums attached to it. Last page does not have checked that it is included, so unless its forged they do not have one in the office either. I asked them to show me the notices or forms, they have refused to give me a total balance of what they claim is owed, will not show me any forms from our file. A 3 day notice has not been issued to us. Not to mention why would they have renewed us if we owed such a balance last May? When I went in the office yesterday he then changed it from what he said on the phone rent. He said we had not paid Dec rent. I then provided them with a copy of the processed check that their company had cashed on 12/06/06.

    This was all yesterday the 27th. He said that after I show him proof of payment he would forget about going to file an eviction. I took the copy back into the office bu the was gone so I had to leave it with the leasing agent.

    tonight we recieved the eviction citation from the constable. They filed an eviction back on Dec 21, 2006 for non [ayment of December rent. Like I said I have copies of the actual check and the back stamped deposited by their company and cleared by the bank.

    Isnt all of this illegal? Cant we sue them for the false eviction?

    We plan to go to the office tomorrow to confront them with this. Surely if this was taken to court they would lose. We have proof of payment. But Im concened they will change it back to a water bill issue...then what? please help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Texas Eviction- Water?

    Did the eviction notice you received from the constable provide a hearing date? It should have. Plan on attending the hearing in person and bring copies of your proof of timely payment of December rent and a copy of your lease (bring extra copies for the court). Re-read your lease to be certain that there are no provisions for payment of water utilities, so that you can confidently argue this point before the judge. Also, re-read your lease provision concerning eviction. Does it state that the Landlord must give you 3 days or less notice of eviction? Does it state that the notice must be in writing. If the Landlord did not follow proper notice procedures, then bring this to the Judge's attention as well. It sounds likely the JP will toss out the eviction for lack of grounds, but I don't know if he/she would award you any damages for the false eviction, unless you countersue prior to the hearing date. JP court is more informal, so a letter to the judge in this regard may be sufficient, but I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know what remedy, if any, you might be entitled to. I managed apartments in Texas for many years, but the last was over 18 years ago. You can contact your local apartment association to see if they have a legal referral that can answer this question. Perhaps you can at least seek to recover for lost time from work to attend the unnecessary hearing. The Texas Apartment Association website can provide you with contact information for your local apt association. If you are unhappy with your apartments, however, you may be able to use this situation as grounds to terminate your lease early without penalty, if you chose to. Your lease should provide a clause explaining what procedures you would need to follow to do this successfully.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Texas Eviction- Water?

    If you go to court, don't just take proof of your last month's payment - take proof that you haven't missed any rent payments in prior months. (They could claim, for example, that you've been paying a month late and they've been letting it slide.) Go to their office and request a print-out of your rent payments - if they're able to provide it, take that along as well.

    If the complaint says that you didn't pay December rent, and you show you did, that should end the case. To turn it into a water bill issue, the court may make them start a new case. Even if not, they would have to show the reason you (and not they) owe the bill, establish the amount of the bill, and probably also explain to the court how they managed to become so confused that they called it "December rent" on their complaint.

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