Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Texas

My 85 year old Grandfather sold his home, owner finance, in San Antonio, Texas to a couple in 2008. We did not use an attorney for any of the paperwork nor was anything filed in the Courts. The Earnest Money Contract was signed June 2008 & stated the couple was to pay $500 Earnest Money to seal the deal along with $3000.00 as down payment by July 1, 2008. The Earnest Money Contract as well as the Real Estate Lien Note both say that if the couple becomes 60 days behind in their Mortgage they are given 10 days notice to vacate. I have just found out that my Grandfather received only three $500.00 payments towards the Earnest Money Contract/Downpayment prior to the couple moving into the house the 5th of August, even though they were supposed to move in on September 1, 2008 when the payments were to begin. Since they never fullfilled the Earnest Money Contract, can we cancel the Real Estate Lien Note and evict them? They have only made payments to September 2009 and my Grandfather is too kind. They are clearly taking advantage of his good nature and age.

I have sent four letters over the past year and personally met with the couple to attempt to work out payment plans. It has been every excuse from 'I cannot find any work', to 'my boss is holding my check', 'our son is in jail and we need to pay the courts'. However they appear to be just fine with the new 60" TV and ATT Cable and were even bragging about their new internet phones that they can now watch TV on the phone in the backyard. I have even offered a payment plan of $100 per week to show they are at least making an effort which they agreed to do two months ago but have not provided a single payment. The promises of we will have the money in two weeks has been going on since December 2009. I have court in JP#4 this Thursday, the people at the Court told me on two separate occassions when I went in to ask what I needed to file and how much it would cost that I was filing in the correct court to evict a family that had a deliquent mortgage. Now an attorney is telling me we have to file in District Court since it was a mortgage and not a rental. However, since I discovered the original Earnest Money Contract was never fullfilled can I use that to void the Real Estate Lein Note and still proceed with the JP#4 Court tomorrow? I live next door and the family is tearing up the house intentially, breaking glass, driving through the front yard making deep wheel tracks and parking on the sidewalk to the front door (they have cracked it and shifted several of the squares from the weight), then driving across my side yard and out my driveway, which drives directly over my main water line to my home and they have already crushed my water cutoff casing. I have no idea what the inside looks like now but they have over 10 small dogs. They are claiming we are not giving them a chance and I am scared the Court will side with them because of the economy. My Grandfather cannot afford to make the repairs on the house nor can he afford to have them living their for free for 9 months. I've asked an attorney I used to date but his solution is that I agreed to marry him and he will handle my family legal issues. I cannot believe it is all that complicated a matter but I do not want my Grandfather to continue to suffer because I cannot figure out how to make this family go away. Any suggestions or perhaps contact with an attorney in our area would be appreciated.

Asked on 6/02/10, 9:36 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

TC Langford Langford Law Office

You may have already resolved your problem. I agree with the attorney who stated that you need to proceed as a foreclosure in District Court, not an eviction in JP court.

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Answered on 6/07/10, 10:22 am

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