Eviction after Foreclosure – Unpleasant but Necessary!

Eviction after Foreclosure is one of the most dreaded steps of the purchase process for any type of foreclosure. A tax attorney may be needed if your case gets complicated, but a simple eviction after a Sheriff Auction purchase should not require a tax attorney.

No one wants to ruthlessly throw a person, or worse, a family, into the streets. However, when you buy a property from a Sheriff’s sale, you are buying a home where the previous owner could not pay taxes for many years. Taxes were a small percentage of his mortgage. If he could not pay his taxes to avoid foreclosure, even with several years notice, it is highly unlikely that he can keep up with rent (which would be higher than a mortgage) or pay you a monthly mortgage.  You must evict them. This process can be as simple or complicated as your tenant chooses to make it.

  • Letter of Eviction – With an Eviction after Foreclosure, it is best to start with a personal “Notice to Vacate” explaining that you purchased the home at the Sheriff’s Sale and that it is necessary for him to “vacate by ….” and include a specific date. This notice should be delivered certified mail with a return receipt for your records. Some purchasers choose to deliver this information in person with a witness (a witness is required if the eviction has to be enforced later by the law), but if you feel uncomfortable with this option, a courteous letter is the next best solution.
  • Financial Encouragement – If the specified date passes or you speak to the previous owners and realize they either cannot or do not intend to vacate, the second option often successful in eviction after foreclosures is to offer them some financial encouragement. I have found that it does not take much money to encourage most tenants to leave a property. Generally, offering to pay for a moving service to an apartment (usually not more than $250 – $500) or to pay a deposit on a new place to live (about the same financial commitment) is enough to encourage the tenants to leave.
  • Court Ordered Eviction – In an eviction after foreclosure, if all else fails, the property buyer must resort to an official eviction including delivering the appropriate eviction notice forms which requires the following in Texas:
    1. At least three days after the “Notice To Vacate” is served, the buyer must file a “Forcible Entry Complaint” with the local Justice of the Peace court in the county in which the property is located requesting a court hearing. At the same time, you may be required to file a “”Military Affidavit” which is a form certifying that the resident is not serving in the military. Both forms should be available at the Justice of the Peace Court. If you do not know in which precinct your property is located, contact any Justice of the Peace court with the address, and the clerk should be able to direct you.The complaint must specify
      • Details regarding the purchase of the home<
      • A copy of “Notice of Eviction”
      • The Return Receipt or details regarding delivery of such notice
      • Can include a request that the resident to pay court costs and legal fees.

      The court will then notify the tenant and, once the tenant has been successfully notified, a court date will be set.

    2. On the court date, both parties are given the opportunity to present their case to the judge. Generally, presenting the judge with
      • Sheriff’s Deed which you were given at the time of purchase
      • Your notifications to the tenant

      Usually, this is sufficient evidence to win a judgement. If you hand delivered your Notice to Vacate, be sure and take your witness to court with you.

    3. During the next five days, the resident has the right to file an appeal. This is unlikely considering the fact that the home was purchased at a Sheriff’s Sale, but if this happens, it would probably be best to then consult a property tax attorney. If the resident does notfile an appeal and still does not vacate within five days, the buyer must return to court on the sixth day or after and file a written request for a “Writ of Possession” which, if granted, is an order from the judge allowing the constable or sheriff to forcibly remove the tenant from the property. The “Writ of Possession” form is generally available in the Justice of the Peace Court. The constable or sheriff will then arrange to meet you at the property and will stay on the premises while the tenant is essentially tossed out, belongings and all, to the curb. Be prepared. If your situation has required that you go to these lengths to evict the tenant, you may well see sobbing, screaming, pleading, etc. Once the eviction is complete, you should have a locksmith on hand to change the locks immediately.For obvious reasons, it is to your great advantage to avoid an official eviction after foreclosures and simply encourage your tenant to cooperate. Perhaps you will get lucky and the tenant will move out before the scheduled Property Tax Foreclosure Sale or perhaps one of the other strategies will encourage him to move out peacefully. However, if all other strategies fail, a legally forced eviction after foreclosure may become your only option.