In my practice, I have encountered some very aggressive Tenants in Landlord-Tenant matters. Sometimes they are so aggressive that they tell me, “Mr. Garcia, I’m going to sue the pants off of your client. Actually, I’m not sure what that means.

But what I do know about an eviction is that a countersuit just isn’t allowed. They can do that, but they have to do it in a separate lawsuit.

So, if your Tenant comes to Court and says, “I want to sue for mold, and I want to get my rent returned. And I don’t know how many times I asked them to fix the window that my kid broke..,” none of that stuff should come into.

The Court should be diligent in disallowing extrinsic evidence to come in. Actually, courts sometimes do that. But they shouldn’t.

Any claims that they might have for offset, or for non-payment of rent, should not come up. These Tenants will sometimes bring these things up, but none of it is legitimate, and it is not proper under the Rules.

Rule 510.3(e) of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure narrowly defines that. Essentially, the legislature narrowed down a determination of who has a superior right to possession. Generally speaking, it’s the Landlord, if there’s a non-payment of rent issue.

But who has a superior right to possession? And it’s usually determined based on a non-payment of rent. So if you pay, you can stay.

There are so few issues that we’re going to run through this lawsuit in a very speedy way to get non-paying Tenants out and deliver possession of the premises to the Landlord. You can do it in a quicker way than going through a regular lawsuit, which could go from six months to six years, believe it or not.

But the truth is, the legislator has written it with the hope and the desire to make it quite fast. In practice it doesn’t end up being fast enough. It’s never fast enough when you have a deadbeat Tenant who’s not paying any rent and is probably punching holes in your walls. Nobody likes that, but it’s the best system we have got so far.

The Tenant may try this, but you should stand firm. Sometimes Tenants file all sorts of ridiculous things with the Court, but the Court shouldn’t entertain them. The Court should dismiss them, once you raise the fact that no counterclaim is valid in eviction.


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