Austin Property Management Blog

Wear & Tear vs. Damage to a Rental Home - What is the Difference?

Grant Williams - Thursday, March 18, 2021

Over the years of owning a rental property in Austin, there is a reasonable amount of deterioration that is expected to occur as your property ages. This is referred to as ‘wear & tear’ and is something all homes face - rental property or not. 

As the owner of a property, this wear & tear that occurs isn’t your fault, nor is your tenant responsible for this property deterioration over time, but the damage done to the property is not the same as ‘wear & tear’. Anyone responsible for damages to the property is financially obligated to fix the issues - even tenants. 

Defining Normal ‘Wear & Tear’ in Regards to Your Austin Rental Home

Your property is being used every day, and just like anything that receives that type of use, you can expect the property’s condition to decline via normal wear & tear. This is not caused by abuse or neglect, but rather just living in the property over time.

Examples of normal wear and tear in a rental home include:

  • Carpet faded or worn thin from walking and regular use

  • Light scrapes and dings in wood floor

  • Color of carpet or hardwood fading due to exposure to sunlight

  • Worn or scratched enamel in bathtubs, sinks, or toilets

  • Doors that stick or jam due to foundational shifts, humidity, etc

  • Any worn appliances due to use over time

  • Faded paint or slightly torn, faded wallpaper

  • Dirty grout on tiles in the bathroom and on the floor

  • Loose door handles

  • The finish on metallic items fading over time

These are just a few examples of normal wear and tear you might experience with your Austin rental home. If you assess your rental home and notice signs of this wear and tear on your home don’t be alarmed as it happens to all homes. Landlords will be financially responsible for correcting any issues to the home caused by normal wear and tear. 

Defining Property Damage in Regards to Your Austin Rental Home

So while your rental home will experience normal wear and tear over time, it doesn’t necessarily need to experience property damage. If you’re facing property damage at your rental home the silver lining is that the tenant is more than likely responsible, and therefore on the hook for any costs that go towards repairing the property damage. This will typically be deducted from the security deposit once the lease has finished and the landlord is able to walk and assess the property for any damage. You can learn more about security deposits for Austin rental properties on our site. 

Examples of property damage in a rental home:

  • Gaping holes in the wall or dozens of nail holes

  • Smashed/shattered mirrors

  • Unapproved paint colors, wall paper, or unprofessional paint jobs

  • Holes, stains, or burns in carpet (e.g. from food, urine, or colored liquids)

  • Chipped, gouged or wood floors showing large scratches beyond normal use. 

  • Water stains on wood floors or in window sills

  • Broken windows and doors due to abuse

  • Mold left behind in the home

  • Missing or cracked tiles throughout the home

  • Damaged appliances due to abuse or neglect

These are all examples of property damage you may find in an Austin rental home but not everything that can be considered 'property damage' is listed here. 

Defining the difference between the two is important. Once a tenant moves out of your rental property you will need to assess the home for damages and depending on your assessment you will need to know whether you can deduct from your tenant’s security deposit or not. 

If what you’re assessing is normal ‘wear & tear’ you will not be able to deduct any costs that go into these repairs from your previous tenant’s security deposit. If you’re assessing what is clearly property damage on your rental home you will be able to deduct any costs that go into repairing this damage on your property from the security deposit. 

The ‘wear & tear’ vs property damage debate can lead to disputes between landlords and tenants. Be sure to document any and all damages you assess for your property upon tenant move out so that you have evidence on hand to support any decision you make when deciding if it’s ‘wear & tear’ or property damage. Tenants should also be sure to document the condition of the property upon move out to make sure all parties can reference this in the event of any dispute with security deposits. 

To learn how this process is handled by property management in Austin, contact Stone Oak Property Management today!

Stone Oak Client Update | March 2021

Jason Huval - Wednesday, March 17, 2021

We have some great news about a project that we have in the works to better serve you

In the coming weeks we will be implementing a portfolio structure to our company. What this means to you is that you will now have one point of contact within our company. You will have a direct line to you property manager who will be focal point for all things pertaining to your account with Stone Oak. 

Each property manager will manage a small portfolio within our company. The same great support staff will still be here, however, soon you will simply call your manager for everything you need and they will coordinate based on your needs.

We are thrilled about this project and how it will help simplify your experience with us. This will increase the ease of communication while increasing our response times to you. We are training staff for these new roles now and will be rolling this out over the coming weeks. As soon as we complete training and a manager has been assigned to your account you will be notified.

As always, we truly appreciate your business. Call or email any time with any questions that you may have regarding these changes. 

Information Regarding Property Tax Relief

We were notified by our protest agent that there is potentially some property tax relief for property owners who were affected by the storm. 

There is info in the first link below for Travis County, but the disaster exemption is statewide and will need to be submitted to the county your property is in, if applicable, using the form in the comptroller link below. This is something you will have to assess yourself and submit the forms if applicable, however there is plenty of time with the due date of 105 days after the disaster is declared, which we believe is May 28th. Please note, this will not apply to all clients who had property damage, so please review the materials below carefully and contact your local tax district with any questions you might have.

Travis County -

Williamson County -

State of Texas - View Form

7709 Eastcrest Drive Unit A for Rent in Austin, Texas

Grant Williams - Friday, March 12, 2021

7709 Eastcrest Drive #A, Austin, TX 78752

View this and more Austin homes for rent from Stone Oak Property Management. 

Learn more about our Austin property management company and our services for Austin property owners. 

The 6 Best Areas of Austin, Texas to Purchase a Rental Property in 2021

Grant Williams - Thursday, February 25, 2021

The 6 Best Areas of Austin, Texas to Purchase a Rental Property in 2021

Austin, Texas has been no stranger to growth over the last decade. Over this time, money and industry has consistently been flowing into the local Austin economy and it seems every day there is a new announcement of some business bringing it’s operations to our area. Big Tech and Automakers such as Tesla are continuing to invest in running things in Austin and start-ups and new ventures are eyeing Austin as a new tech hub similar to San Francisco’s Silicon Valley, with Austin having been dubbed Silicon Hills

Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk, has recently shared insight into why he believes Austin, Texas will be the biggest boomtown that America has seen in 50 years

With the stimulation to Austin’s economy spurred on by an influx of people and business, Austin has continued to be top destination to live in America and sits atop various articles from different sources claiming Austin is one of, if not the best, place(s) to live in America. 

Austin’s economy has consistently outpaced Texas and the rest of the United States on unemployment numbers over the past decade, making it a preferred destination for those looking for more opportunities for themselves and their families. 

What comes with this influx of individuals and growth to Austin’s economy is the need for housing. People need to live somewhere. The above factors we just skimmed over have made Austin a great destination for investors to park their cash in real estate, more so into single-family rental homes specifically. 

However, with Austin’s exponential growth the prices of real estate are beginning to catch up, and sometimes now exceed, the growth of Austin. While it’s ideal, for some investors it may not make sense to shell out the funds for a property in an area code like 78702, where you’ll find your property near downtown. Real estate investing is different for all, but one thing real estate investors should always be doing is looking to turn a profit on their investment.

Austin is more than just Downtown. Excellent suburbs that surround the city, such as Round Rock; Austin has many different areas that offer unique real estate investment opportunities. 

So, what are the best locations across the Austin Metroplex to purchase a rental property in 2021?

As a leading Austin property management company, Stone Oak Property Management is in a unique position to be working with hundreds of different real estate investors, each with their own goals in mind. Over the past decade, we’ve been able to monitor our client's properties and keep our ear to market in the different areas that we provide property management services. It’s safe to say that some areas of Austin are going to work out better for your rental property investment than others. You know what they say about real estate - “location, location, location” - and it’s never been more true.

Home Value Trends in Austin via Zillow Data

With that said, certain locations in Austin are starting to grow in price, as seen in the graph above, making them unreasonable for some investors to invest in. Below we go over the 6 best areas across Austin, Texas for real estate investors to be buying rental homes in 2021.

1. Pflugerville, Texas 

Pflugerville is an area our clients and real estate investors love, and it’s a location that they typically experience a lot of success in. Pflugerville’s single-family rental homes bring in an average market rent of about $1,805/month. Being composed of 83% single-family homes, Pflugerville presents a unique opportunity for real estate investors looking to buy rental properties in Austin, Texas. Below is a snapshot of the homeownership vs. renters in Pflugerville, Texas. 

pflugerville, texas homeownership compared to renters

The Pflugerville-based homes that we manage at Stone Oak Property Management typically experience little-to-no issues when it comes to leasing quickly and finding tenants. In fact, the average time on the market for homes in Pflugerville across the entire MLS system here in Austin is 27 days. Compare this to Austin, which is currently 36 days and you’ll see purchasing rental homes in Pflugerville can be a good investment decision if you’re looking to own property in the Greater Austin, Texas area. 

Why Real Estate Investors Will Like Investing in Pflugerville, Texas Rental Homes

Real estate investors with an eye on Pflugerville, Texas rental homes will enjoy a variety of factors that can benefit their investment. Great school systems, a large tenant pool resulting in reduced lease times, a higher concentration of families with 3+ members resulting in tenants with more long-term tenant potential as well as the appreciation to the property as Pflugerville continues to grow alongside Austin. 

Why Renters Like Living in Pflugerville, Texas

It goes without saying that living in Pflugerville, Texas can save people money over living Downtown or in a higher-priced area of Austin. Alongside potential savings in rent, Pflugerville, Texas has an outstanding school system in PFISD. Families looking for a great school system for their children will often choose Pflugerville. Pflugerville stands as an attractive destination for renters looking to settle their families down in the Greater Austin region. 

Pflugerville, Texas Scorecard

Average Days on the Market: 27 days via ABOR Data over the last 6 months

Average Monthly Rent: $1,805/month

School Districts: Pflugerville ISD

Safety Rating: Pflugerville, TX Crime Stats

Population: 65,380 per U.S. Census Data

Already own a home in Pflugerville, Texas, and interested in converting your home into a rental property? Find out how much your Pflugerville rental property can earn in rent every month!

Working with a Pflugerville property manager can help you identify investment opportunities and help grow your portfolio with Pflugerville rental homes. Contact our Austin property management company today if you have questions about Pflugerville property management services

2. Cedar Park, Texas

Another great location in the Austin, Texas area for investing in rental homes in Cedar Park, Texas. Located to the Northwest side of the Austin metroplex, Cedar Park is easily accessible from Downtown Austin making it a great destination for tenants looking to escape the city’s higher rent prices. A constant gripe of many Austinites is the lack of public transportation and Cedar Park is lucky enough to have the Metro Rail in Austin that runs Cedar Park to Downtown Austin. 

On average, real estate investors can expect an average rental rate of $1,768/month with their Cedar Park, Texas rental home.

With single-family homes making up 75% of the composition of homes in Cedar Park it definitely gives off the cozy-suburb feeling. Like Pflugerville, Cedar Park is a competitive rental market for renters. A good portion of Stone Oak’s rental portfolio is located in Cedar Park, Texas and we face virtually zero issues when it comes to leasing rental properties located in Cedar Park. Here is a snapshot of the current make-up of homeownership vs. renting in Cedar Park. 

Cedar Park, Texas homeownership compared to renters

Why Real Estate Investors Will Like Investing in Cedar Park, Texas Rental Homes

Real estate investors considering the purchase of single-family rental homes in Cedar Park, Texas should feel confident in their investment. It boasts a low average time on the market for rental properties at just 21 days. A short drive up and down Highway 183 has individuals seamlessly moving from Cedar Park to Austin making travel times between cities lower than others. With an average rent of $1,768 per month, investors are capable of finding real estate purchases in Cedar Park that allow for the numbers to work. 

Why Renters Like Living in Cedar Park, Texas

A short drive up and down Highway 183 that splits Austin will have individuals seamlessly moving from Cedar Park to Austin should they need to travel downtown for work or fun. Cedar Park, like Pflugerville, also has a great school system that attracts families to rental properties within the school district’s boundaries. Along with a great school district, Cedar Park does have the HEB Center which is home of the Texas Stars, a professional hockey team. Until the MLS stadium is built by The Domain and the Austin FC are in season, Cedar Park was the only destination for professional sports in the Austin area. 

Cedar Park, Texas Scorecard

Average Days on the Market: 21 Days via ABOR MLS Data over the last 6 months

Average Monthly Rent: $1,768/month

School Districts: Leander ISD

Safety Rating: Cedar Park, TX Crime Stats

Population: 48,937 per U.S. Census Data

If you’re looking for the potential for more long-term tenant’s in your properties, Cedar Park offers landlords a great chance at locking down a great ROI for their rental property.

Already own a property in Cedar Park, Texas, and interested in converting your home into a rental property? Find out how much your Cedar Park rental property can earn in rent every month!

Working with a Cedar Park manager can help you identify investment opportunities and help grow your portfolio with Cedar Park rental homes. Contact our Austin property management company today if you have questions about Cedar Park property management services

3. Leander, Texas

Neighboring Cedar Park is Leander, Texas. Not much separates these towns as they are very similar. Leander rental homes do bring an average rent of $2,040/month which exceeds Cedar Park’s average of $1,768.

With an average time on the market of a whopping 19 days, Leander rental homes lease quicker than any other suburb or general area in Austin, Texas. Compare this to Austin’s average of 36 days and you’re looking at almost half the time to lease your property in Leander compared to a unit Downtown. Below is a snapshot of the current homeowners vs. renters in Leander, Texas. 

leander, texas homeownership compared to renters

Why Real Estate Investors Will Like Investing in Leander, Texas Rental Homes

As mentioned above, Leander rental homes are leased in 19 days on average. That’s fast, and most of Austin and the surrounding area will take longer than that. 

Couple that with Leander being 87.5% made up of single-family homes, and you have a local market that is attractive to investors looking to park cash in rental properties. 89.7% of those single-family homes are 3+ bedroom homes, meaning Leander’s population is made up mostly of families. It’s an important factor and we continue to say it, but the school system in Leander also helps support the growth of the rental market in the city as families see it as a good place to settle down for their kids. 

Why Renters Like Living in Leander, Texas

Living in Leander offers a lot of the same things that Cedar Park does. Both municipalities are located on the Northwest side of Austin and offer easy access to most areas of Austin via Highway 183, Mopac Expressway, and the 45 Toll Road. 

Leander, along with Cedar Park as well, offers residents easy access to Lake Travis as well. Individuals can quickly make their way to destinations like Volente Beach or the Oasis to catch the sunset over the water. 

Leander, Texas Scorecard

Average Days on the Market: 19 Days via ABOR MLS Data over the last 6 months

Average Monthly Rent: $2,040/month

School District: Leander ISD

Safety Rating: Leander, TX Crime Stats

Population: 62,608 via U.S. Census Data

Already own a home in Leander, Texas, and interested in converting your home into a rental property? Find out how much your Leander rental property can earn in rent every month!

Working with a Leander manager can help you identify investment opportunities and help grow your portfolio with Leander rental homes. Contact our Austin property management company today if you have questions about Leander property management services

4. Georgetown, Texas

Sitting North of Austin along I-35 is Georgetown, Texas. Rental homes in the Georgetown, Texas area can expect an average market rent of $2,095/month. With a composition make-up of 77% single-family homes, Georgetown offers a strong, budding community for individuals looking for a great place to live! In fact, according to 2020 U.S. Census data, Georgetown, Texas is the 7th-fastest growing city in America

Not Austin, Georgetown, Texas - that’s a crazy statistic in itself. 

We expect to see Georgetown continue to make headlines as the continued growth of Austin pushes growth North toward Georgetown, Texas. 

georgetown, texas homeownership compared to renters

Why Real Estate Investors Will Like Investing in Georgetown, Texas Rental Homes

The undeniable growth of Georgetown, Texas has the long-term prospect of holding real estate in Georgetown in itself a good investment. Investors who do own property in Georgetown have enjoyed a leasing time of just 22 days over the last 6 months according to ABOR data. 

Why Renters Like Living in Georgetown, Texas

Georgetown, Texas provides residents with small-town charm with big-city accessibility. It’s a common theme for Austin to have great school districts throughout the metropolitan area, and Georgetown Independent School District offers parents looking to settle with their family a great spot to do so for their kid’s future. Georgetown is also the home of prestigious Southwestern University, driving top grads from across the nation to this private university. 

Georgetown, Texas Scorecard

Average Days on the Market: 22 Days via ABOR MLS Data over last 6 months

Average Monthly Rent: $2,095/month

School District: Georgetown ISD

Safety Rating: Georgetown, TX Crime Stats

Population: 79,604 via U.S. Census Data

Already own a home in Georgetown, Texas, and interested in converting your home into a rental property? Find out how much your Georgetown rental property can earn in rent every month!

Working with a Georgetown manager can help you identify investment opportunities and help grow your portfolio with Georgetown rental homes. Contact our Austin property management company today if you have questions about Georgetown property management services

5. Manor, Texas

Sitting on the east side of Austin, Manor, Texas is easily accessible from the city via U.S. 290. Investors looking to purchase rental properties in Manor, Texas can expect an average market rent of $1,789/month. Consisting of 89% single-family homes, Manor, Texas provides inventory that is attractive to investors looking to invest in Manor SFR’s.

manor, texas homeownership compared to renters

Why Real Estate Investors Will Like Investing in Manor, Texas Rental Homes

Of the communities on this list, Manor is the smallest municipality. With just 13,866 residents per U.S. Census data, Manor is lagging behind the rest of the area when it comes to population growth over the past decade. With that said, Manor has been experiencing an influx of people moving there due to lower real estate prices and ease of access to the rest of Austin.

Looking at the continued growth of Austin, it is almost apparent that all new developments need to head North or East of the city due to the lack of land offered in the other directions. With Lake Travis to the West, we expect Manor, Texas to be the beneficiary of a booming Austin, Texas and the development that would take place should that be the case. 

Also, personally, Manor has one of my favorite golf courses in our area via Shadowglen Golf Club - Grant.

Why Renters Like Living in Manor, Texas

Price-conscious tenants and those seeking lower rents are attracted to areas like Manor, Texas. Supporting the second-lowest average rent on this list, just ahead of Hutto, Manor provides an attractive living situation for those looking to stay in the Austin, Texas area. We expect that as our city and region continue to develop that Manor will be the beneficiary of a lot to come. 

Manor, Texas Scorecard

Average Days on the Market: 33 Days via ABOR Data over the last 6 months

Average Monthly Rent: $1,789/month

School District: Manor ISD

Safety Rating: Manor, TX Crime Stats

Population: 13,866 via U.S. Census Data

Already own a home in Manor, Texas, and interested in converting your home into a rental property? Find out how much your Manor rental property can earn in rent every month!

Working with a Manor manager can help you identify investment opportunities and help grow your portfolio with Manor rental homes. Contact our Austin property management company today if you have questions about Manor property management services

6. Hutto, Texas

Located on the Northeast side of Austin is Hutto, Texas. With just 27,947 residents, Hutto is set for growth as Austin continues to expand with the influx of industry and people moving to the area. With a whopping 95% of homes in Hutto being single-family homes, Hutto has the type of inventory real estate investors are seeking for investing in rental homes.

hutto, texas homeownership compared to renters

Why Real Estate Investors Will Like Investing in Hutto, Texas Rental Homes

Aside from Leander, Hutto, Texas rental homes move the quickest off-market at just 21 days on market average. As mentioned above, Austin is going through growing pains right now, and eventually, the city is going to need to expand out. Our team at Stone Oak Property Management feels that Hutto is in a great position to benefit from a booming Austin, Texas. With easy access to both the North and South sides of Austin via Hwy 79 and the 130 Toll Road both intersecting right where Hutto is located. 

Why Renters Like Living in Hutto, Texas

Having recently been recognized as a ‘Top Place in Texas to Raise a Family’, making Hutto a great spot for settling your family. With 95% of the real estate in Hutto being single-family homes, Hutto provides a sense of community to its residents that you might not find as you get closer to the city. The overall cost of living is about 62% less in Hutto compared to Austin, making it a preferable pick for most when seeking affordable housing in the Austin area. 

Hutto, Texas Scorecard

Average Days on the Market: 21 Days via ABOR Data over the last 6 months

Average Monthly Rent: $1,710/month

School District: Hutto ISD

Safety Rating: Hutto, TX Crime Stats

Population: 27,947 via U.S. Census Data

Already own a home in Hutto, Texas, and interested in converting your home into a rental property? Find out how much your Hutto rental property can earn in rent every month!

Working with a Hutto manager can help you identify investment opportunities and help grow your portfolio with Hutto rental homes. Contact our Austin property management company today if you have questions about Hutto property management services

1404 Cometa Street for Lease in Austin's 78721 Zip Code!

Grant Williams - Tuesday, February 23, 2021

1404 Cometa Street, Austin, TX 78721

1,847 SF | 3 Bed | 2 Bath

View this and other available Austin rental properties from Stone Oak Property Management. 

Interested in renting out your home in Austin, Texas? Learn the fair rental market value of your home by claiming your free Austin, Texas rental market analysis for your property. 

Tips for Winterizing Your Austin Rental Home

Grant Williams - Friday, February 12, 2021

Unexpected weather can happen at a moment's notice and it can have a serious impact on your Austin rental home. While typically we must prepare for things like floods in our area, it’s always a good idea to know how to act if any situation comes up. 

In light of the record-setting winter storm we are experiencing across Texas, here are some tips and best practices for Austin property owners and tenants to winterize their Austin rental home. 

The first step to take when temperatures are approaching freezing is to turn on the faucets throughout your home and let the water drip. This allows the water to flow through your pipes and helps prevent them from freezing in the cold temperatures. This is important and should be the first step you take as a property owner or a tenant in an Austin rental property. Failure to run water and let it flow can result in burst pipes and leaking water throughout the home. 

If your pipes are already frozen it can be a good idea to go ahead and shut off the water to your property to prevent further damage once things are able to thaw out. This will allow you to do a much more controlled restart to your home’s water network once the weather is back to normal.

Once you’ve addressed the water in your home, keep these other tips in mind to help you withstand the winter elements at your Austin property:

  • Close off any gaps around your doors. This can be important for those of you who experience power loss in a winter storm. You’ll want to make sure you address any insulation leaks so that any warm air remains in the home with you and doesn’t escape. They make products for this, but you can accomplish this same effect with a towel. 

  • Leave the heat on. This should go without saying, but when the temperatures drop below freezing, as long as you have power, be sure to leave your home’s heat on. This will also help prevent your home’s pipes from freezing. 

  • Remove A/C units from windows. At times like right now, you won’t be needing this so remove any A/C units from the window and pull them inside. If you have a wall unit.

  • Beware of dangerous tree branches. If it is too late and the tree branches are already heavy and weighed down by ice, be sure to stay clear of these for the time being. Once things return to normal it may time for a consultation with a tree removal service if you notice dangerous branches around your property. They can pose a hazard to people, the property, cars, etc. 

  • Be sure to inspect your fireplace before using it. Odds are you don’t use your fireplace a lot here in the Austin area. With snow covering the ground turning on the fireplace can seem like a great idea! Just be sure to check your fireplace and chimney for anything that can cause issues while operating, such as blockages.

  • Take advantage of your ceiling fan to help disperse heat. Don’t forget, heat rises! Turning on your ceiling fan can help disperse heat around the room.

These are a few quick tips to help you prepare your Austin rental home for any harsh winter weather. Preparation is important as once weather like this happens it can be tough, if not entirely impossible, for maintenance and emergency services to reach you. If you have questions about winterizing your Austin rental home or want to speak with a property manager please don’t hesitate to contact Stone Oak Property Management - 512.617.6766

8104 Daisy Cutter Xing for rent in Georgetown, Texas!

Grant Williams - Wednesday, February 10, 2021

8104 Daisy Cutter Xing, Georgetown, TX 78626

1,393 SF | 2 Bed | 2 Bath

For more information about this rental home in Georgetown, Texas visit our available rentals page.

Own a property like this one? Learn how much you could be earning in monthly rent with a free Market Analysis packet from Stone Oak!

8315 Burrell Drive Available for Rent in Austin, Texas

Grant Williams - Thursday, January 21, 2021

8315 Burrell Drive, Austin, TX 78757

2,025 SF | 4 Bed | 3 Bath

View this and more available rental properties in Austin, TX

Own a home like this one? Learn how much your property can earn in monthly rent by claiming your free rental market analysis.

How The Eviction Process Works in Austin | Travis & Williamson County JP Courts

Grant Williams - Wednesday, January 20, 2021

One of the best investments someone can make is real estate, more specifically in rental properties. As an investment vehicle, rental properties allow individuals to generate cash flow while at the same time increase their equity in an asset that should appreciate over time. However, if landlords learned anything in 2020 it is that nothing is guaranteed

Once COVID-19 came rushing onto the global stage in March of 2020 most owners would start to feel the changes that were occurring in the rental market. Once the Travis County and CDC eviction moratoriums were announced landlords essentially lost the right to remove a non-paying tenant from their home with no end in sight. These moratoriums have extended since then all the way into 2021 and are set, at this time, to expire on January 31, 2021. With the changing of administrations in the White House, the new administration has released the details of their stimulus proposal, which includes direct payments to owners for rents. While this is a step in the right direction the proposal also includes an extension of the federal eviction moratorium until September 2021

Regardless of any proposals, it’s best to prepare in the event evictions come back online soon. Stone Oak regularly partners with Texas Tenant Evictions, which is a third-party eviction service here in Austin that we outsource non-clients who contact us about an eviction. With the influx of calls they’ve received over the course of 2020 with no recourse for owners it’s not far out there to say that once the Justice of the Peace courts open back up they will be busy. Failure to act in a timely manner on any eviction you need to process could result in a long waiting period before you ever get in front of the judge. Keep in mind that the eviction moratorium specifies that evictions are allowed, just not ones that pertain to non-payment of rent due to COVID complications. 

To prepare, here is a short summary of how to get your eviction started in both Travis County and Williamson county. (Williamson County provides the same tools as below for its property owners. You can mirror the Travis County process for Williamson County using the appropriate Wilco JP court site.)

How to Evict a Tenant in Travis County

Before getting started evicting your tenant in Travis County, you’ll need to know which precinct your property is located in. Travis County is broken up into 5 precincts. To find out which precinct your property is in you can use the JP court precinct search feature provided on the county’s website.

Once you know which justice court precinct would hear your eviction case you’ll want to visit the precinct's site and review their information posted about evictions. One thing to keep in mind before ever getting started with the courts is that proper notice must have been provided to the tenant before an eviction can be filed. Typically, this will require a 3-day Notice to Vacate, but your eviction petition could require a longer notice. It’s best to check with our friends at Texas Tenant Evictions or your preferred real estate attorney to make sure you’re providing the right amount of time as required by the Texas property code. 

Once you’ve served your eviction notice and the time frame provided has expired you will want to visit the appropriate JP court site on the county’s website. From there you should find a link on the left side of the page accompanied by text that reads ‘Guide & File’ or ‘Step by Step Civil Filing’. From there you will be redirected to eFile Texas’ website where you can file your petition for eviction online for your specific JP court. 

The cost for filing a petition for eviction in Travis County is $101.00.

As you move through the eFile process, you’ll be required to upload any and all required documents. Such as the lease between you and the tenant, a ledger of payments owed, any communications between you and the tenant regarding the case, the paperwork that must be submitted alongside the petition for the county. You must always include a military affidavit with your filing to ensure that any tenant involved in the eviction is not active military. 

If you’ve submitted everything required successfully, the court will need to pay the filing fee and the court will send you a filing confirmation. You’ll want to make sure that you provided good contact information when filing as the court will typically contact you via the email provided with further information about your court date, etc. 

Once the JP court provides you with a date and time for your hearing you’ll want to be there on that date to fight your case to the judge. If all boxes were checked and no corners were cut to get the eviction process started faster you should be in the clear and receive a judgment for possession of your property as well as back-due rents if you chose to pursue this as well. 

What does an eviction judgment do for you though?

A lot of property owners and individuals think the process is finished there and the eviction is done. Realistically, all you have is a piece of paper from the courts saying you won. Now, some tenants will take this as a sign and remove themselves from the property in which case the issue would be over and you’d have your property back. But…

What if the tenant doesn’t remove themselves from your rental property after the judge sided with you in the eviction hearing?

This is where your precinct’s Constables office comes into play alongside a process called a writ of possession. This is the process of filing your judgment from the eviction hearing with the Constable’s office. 

The cost to file a Writ of Possession in Travis County is $160.00.

Once you’ve filed the Writ of Possession with the appropriate constable (It’ll be the same precinct as your JP court) you’ll hear from the Constable in a few days to set up a time and date to show up at the property and physically remove the tenant and any items in the home. 

Time is of the essence during this process as the constable will allocate you only a couple of hours of time that he is on-site to monitor the removal of items from the home. You’ll need to prepare for the writ of possession beforehand. You’ll definitely need a locksmith and moving crew that show up with you the morning of. The locksmith will work to change the locks ensuring you possess the keys that open the doors to the home. The moving crew will be required to remove all possessions from the home, as required by the constable. Every single item that belongs to the tenant(s) who was evicted needs to be removed from the property to satisfy the deputy on site. This to avoid tenants coming back and stating that their property was stolen and locked away from them. 

A tip for owners who are facing a writ of possession process - don’t skimp on the moving crew. You never really know what you are walking into when doing a writ of possession and if you don’t have enough manpower to remove the contents of the home in a timely manner the constable will begin to charge you an hourly rate for being on-site. Having a crew on site to handle the full removal of items in as little time as possible is ideal. 

The contents of the home must sit outside on the curb of the property for at least 24 hours before you, the owner, can schedule a junk removal service to come to haul the items from the property. 

At this point you’ve received a judgment, have gone through the writ of possession, the locks have been changed and the tenant and their personal belongings have been removed from the property. Congratulations, you now have possession of your rental property again! While it’s easy to sum the process up in a few hundred words, we expect this process to be extremely bogged down once the courts are back in a place where they are processing all evictions so please adjust time expectations accordingly - this entire eviction moratorium situation is unprecedented. 

Depending on your circumstances and the circumstances of the tenant in your rental property, 2020 may very well have been a rough year for you as a rental homeowner. Having received calls from dozens if not hundreds of self-managing owners who have tenants who are taking advantage of COVID eviction moratoriums we can only hope that these landlords are able to find relief soon. Having an experienced Austin property manager on your side can make all the difference. 

>>>> Learn more about Stone Oak’s property management services for Travis and Williamson County rental homes

This blog is an informational article and does not constitute as legal advice. Please consult an attorney if you need clarification on any of the legal processes described above.

Austin, Texas Leasing Market Update | January 2021

Jason Huval - Friday, January 15, 2021

We are off to a running start for 2021. The 2020 year was full of surprises and pitfalls, but as a company we fared better than most. Our rent collections stayed consistent and we were able to continue to practice property preservation with a pandemic in full swing. Our staff at Stone Oak is dedicated to serving you and your Austin property management needs in 2021 with the same integrity and passion for excellence that you expect from us. 

On January 14, 2021, President-elect Biden announced his stimulus proposal. In this plan, he proposes some payments to landlords, forbearance options and more money directly to taxpayers that qualify. The proposal suggests the payments for rents included in the proposal are to be made directly to landlords. This would be a move in the right direction, however, he is also proposing to extend the eviction moratorium until September 2021. The issues are complex and create more challenges, however, we are doing our best to stay ahead of them and continue to remain effective in rent collections. Keep in mind, this is simply a proposal and will likely be further modified, but we are aware that it could be coming down the pipe and wanted to make you aware that it will be coming soon.  

We have maintained open communication with all tenants that fall behind in their rent payments and have been successful in executing payment plans and voluntary move-outs where possible with tenants that are cooperative and that can no longer afford rents. We will continue this effort in 2021 and make changes to our approach as more options become available. 

If you have any questions about the Austin market please don't hesitate to contact our team of Austin property managers at Stone Oak!

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Stone Oak Property Management
13497 N Highway 183, Ste. 700
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Phone: 512.617.6766
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