Eviction Trial Resets and Postponements are Limited
Most landlords view the eviction trial date as the “light at the end of the tunnel.” As such, there is often much anticipation leading up to the “date with destiny” that promises to rid a landlord of a bad tenant.
Landlords and the attorneys who represent Landlords can experience significant frustration when a Tenant seeks or obtains a delay of an eviction trial. Trial dates are usually weeks in the making. In fact, Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 510.7(a) provides that “no eviction trial may be held less than 6 days after service… has been obtained” on the Tenant.
In reality, eviction trials in Bexar County Justice Courts usually occur 10 or more days after the date of service. In short, tenants have plenty of advance notice of eviction trials.
More than once, we have had a tenant being evicted call the court minutes before trial to offer some excuse as to why they would not show. The reasons and their merits range from understandable to absurd. Most fall somewhere along the lines of not-believable or absurd.
Recently, Hurricane Harvey has served as a convenient excuse for many tenants trying to delay the inevitable. While this terrible disaster had little direct effect on San Antonio, we have had many tenants seek trial postponements based on the hurricane.
Fortunately, there are limits on the ability of the Justice Court (the Judge) to reset and delay eviction trials. This limitation is explicit in Rule 510.7(c), which states:
Limit on Postponement. Trial in an eviction case must not be postponed for more than 7 days total unless both parties agree in writing.
This Rule limiting postponement of eviction trial dates to 7 days serves as an excellent backstop, and keeps the court’s docket moving forward. Without this Rule, tenants with sympathetic judges could conceivably postpone eviction trials indefinitely.