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What is a writ of possession?

 

A writ of possession is a surety bond. It’s also known as an attachment bond. The writ of possession is typically used to regain possession of a property. The writ of possession is the last part of the eviction process. If a tenant fails to move after a judge has given the owner possession through a court proceeding then the owner has to file a writ of possession for the constable or sheriff to come out and allow you to place the tenant’s items out.

What I have noticed is each county may have different rules regarding this writ. Here are a few things I have noticed.

Depending on the JP court you file the writ it could take anywhere from 24 hours to process up to two weeks. This process is delayed if the JP court is back up with more cases than they can handle or staffing issues. On average I am seeing a five day wait time.

As the owner of the property, YOU are required in most cases to hire movers to move all the tenant’s possessions to the curb. Yep, that’s right the curb. It must remain for 24 hours and then be removed (hauled off) in most counties or you get a fine by the city. Keep in mind that each county and JP court has different procedures. I’ve heard some counties store the items and charge the owner, however, I rarely do a writ of possession and that’s not the case in the DFW area.

The writ of possession is technically the most expensive part of the eviction process. Here is a list of potential charges.

File writ – We file most for around $325-$350 (This includes the filing fee of $150 to $185 on average)

Hire movers for a specific time frame to meet constable – Most movers have a minimum fee of $250 per hour to meet at an exact time. Figure $750 if it’s a simple 3 bedroom house. Remember they are moving the items to the curb. Most constables give you two hours and you must have four people moving items out. If you use the two hours and need more time the constable could charge additional fees. I’ve seen $50 to $85 per hour after the initial two hours given.

Rekey locks – You will need to have the keys rekeyed or completely replace while the movers are there. Figure $150 to $225 depending on how many locks that can be rekeyed or need to be replaced. If your house is not equipped with keyless locking devices as required by law I’d have that done at the same time if you plan on leasing the property out again. Figure $50 per exterior door. Need peepholes as required by law as well add another $25 per exterior door. And yes a door leading into a garage should be done.

Trash removal – You may be asking what trash removal. Remember you moved everything from the house to the curb. After 24 hours has passed now it’s time to get that hauled away. Figure $100 to $1000 depending on the amount of trash.

I’ve done many writs of possession as a one-time service. The minimum cost for any writ I’ve done is around $1200. The most expensive writ I’ve been involved with cost around $5000 to $7000. Now you are falling on the floor huh?

I had one owner that asked me to help him with the writ in setting even though he was going to be there. When the constable arrived we knocked on the door and a lady answered. She had no plans of moving out because she had nowhere to go. The constable looked in the door and ran out holding his breath. He told us he’d be back in a few hours. Keep in mind that constables are technically not supposed to leave. The reason they are not supposed to leave is to make sure no one starts fighting. Long story short it took 7 hours for 11 men to remove all the items in the house. It was a 1600 sq. ft. home where they had hoarded for a decade or longer. The smell was so bad we had to go buy masks. The items in the house took up the entire front yard as well as the driveway in the back. The trash in the drive was stacked seven feet high and took up four parking spaces. It was the biggest junk pile I’d seen in 25 years at the time.

Once all the trash is removed then you can start your make-ready/renovation process to get the property released or whatever your plans may be.

If you have to go through the writ of possession process that means it took 30 to 60 days in total to get through the eviction process. Most of the writs I have done are in the 45-day range.

FUN FACT: I called one eviction service and they told me no less than 40% of their evictions go to writ of possession. WOW! This goes to show you that my system is much better than one of the most advertised companies in the area. I can’t guarantee you that your eviction will not require filing the writ, but I can say I’ve done less than 5 in 32 years where I have actually started the eviction from the beginning.


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