swear to the contents of the complaint. The landlord may also ask the court to award her back rent, court costs, and attorney's fees (if she is represented by an attorney). The Justice of the Peace Court should not consider other damages (such as late fees) claimed by the landlord in an eviction case. The landlord will be entitled to court costs—that is, the amount the Justice of the Peace charges the landlord to file the lawsuit–if the landlord wins. If the landlord wins and is represented by an attorne , the landlord can recover attorney’s fees from you only if the lease provides for attorney's fees, or if the landlord sent to you at least 10 days before the date the suit is filed via certified mail, return receipt requested or registered mail a notice to vacate that demanded that you vacate before the 11th day after the date of the receipt of the notice and warned you about the possibility of having to pay her attorney's fees. If the landlord is entitled to collect attorney's fees as described above and an attorney represents you, then you may obtain attorney’s fees if you win.
After the case is properly filed, the court will serve you with an official notice and a copy of the court papers advising you of the date and time that you must either appear in court or file an answer (or response) to the eviction lawsuit. The papers you receive should notify you in English and Spanish that you may call the State Bar of Texas at 1-877-9TEXBAR for help locating an attorney, and that you may be eligible for free or low-cost legal assistance if you cannot afford to hire an attorney. In many areas in Texas, the Justice of the Peace will simply set a trial date for the eviction case, usually within six to ten days, but sometimes sooner. In other areas, you will first have to answer the eviction lawsuit either orally or in writing by a deadline (for example, by 10 a.m. on the seventh day after receipt of the eviction citation) at which time the court will give you a trial date. You should carefully read the documents from the court to know and understand your deadlines. If you have a deadline to answer the eviction lawsuit and you do not do so, you will lose the case by default. You can contact the Justice of the Peace Court to find out how it handles the cases. If the official serving the court papers cannot find you, they may leave them under the door or tack them to the door. A constable or sheriff usually serves the papers. MAKE SURE YOU COMPLETELY READ ALL OF THE PAPERS. Call an attorney, tenant association, or the court if you have any questions or desire to contest the eviction. If you and your landlord work something out before the trial date, make sure the landlord calls the court to dismiss the case. If the landlord has not dismissed the case, you should go to court to make sure the case gets dismissed.
IMPORTANT: While this is somewhat rare, the landlord has an option of filing a bond for immediate possession. If the landlord does so, the court papers will explain that the landlord