Proposed Eviction Rule Changes
Posted by Will Alfaro (CMS)
on Thursday, July 05, 2012
The Texas Apartment Association is working to defend the ability of
apartment owners and managers to fairly proceed with evictions in
Justice of the Peace Court.
Link to more information from TAA.
The Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee (SCAC) met on June 22 and
23 to begin consideration of proposed changes to rules governing the
eviction process, as well as other procedural rules governing how
justice of the peace courts operate.
the meeting, the committee, which is made up of 55 members appointed by
the Texas Supreme Court to advise the court on rules, began the process
of thoroughly scrutinizing proposed changes developed by a task force
earlier this year.
TAA, along with the Texas Association of Realtors, the Texas Building
Owners and Managers Association, several justices of the peace and
others, raised strong concerns about the scope of the proposed changes
and potential problems, including the possibility that the process could
be delayed. TAA conservatively estimated that if the task force
proposals are adopted as initially proposed, it could cost the industry
more than $20 million a year in lost rent and additional court costs.
Fortunately, the SCAC and the members of the original task force who
drafted the rule changes appear open to making modifications to the
proposal. It is TAA’s position that the current eviction process works
smoothly overall, and there isn’t a need for wholesale changes. If there
are areas of the rules that need to be tweaked, any adjustments should
ensure that the process remains quick and efficient so that a rental
property owner who has not received rent owed can recover possession of a
unit as quickly as possible.
San Antonio Apartment Association Legal Counsel David Fristche spoke
before the SCAC on TAA’s behalf. Houston Apartment Association Legal
Counsel Howard Bookstaff also attended the meetings with TAA staff.
The proposed rules revision is a result of legislation passed in 2011
that eliminated small claims courts and incorporated this function into
justice of the peace courts. Some additional rule changes are necessary
because of changes to the law made by HB 1111, the legislation TAA
successfully sought aimed at limiting abuses of pauper’s affidavit
TAA was not given the opportunity to have an active role in the task
force process but has been working on this issue for several months.
Among other steps, TAA retained special legal counsel to assist in
fighting the proposed rules and also communicated with members of the
Texas Supreme Court and the Advisory Committee in advance of the June
23-24 meeting. A copy of TAA’s letter to the Supreme Court Advisory Committee, Justice Court Rules of Procedure Side-By-Side comparison chart and Statutes Referenced in TAA’s Letter to the Supreme Court Advisory Committee are all available for review.
The SCAC will continue consideration of the rules at its next meeting
on August 23-26. After the SCAC takes action, the proposed rules will
go to the Supreme Court. The rules will be published for the public 10
weeks before the Court takes final action on the rules, which is
expected to take place by the end of the year. It is expected that
whatever changes to the rules are finally adopted will take effect May
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