Eviction Notices Up in the Basin

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

It's the holiday season and it goes without saying, West Texas families love a big Christmas celebration.
But with the changing economy, many folks are having a hard time finding enough cash to even pay the bills. 

Ector County says this time of year evictions are up. So far, this year the Ector County Sheriff's Office has served about 5200 civil papers, many being eviction notices. 

NewsWest 9 spoke with the Sheriff's office to find out why the numbers are on the rise.   

"We've got to evict you from your home. You no longer can live here and if you come back, you're going to be arrested for it," Sgt. Gary Duesler, with the Ector County Sheriff's Office, said.

Those are words you never want to hear.

"The civil office is a very busy organization," Duesler said. "They've got more than they can say grace over."

Local law enforcement says problems escalate when kids are out of school and another one is just on the horizon.

"We do usually see some kind of a spike during the holidays," Sgt. Duesler said. "Because you have an interruption of the norm, and people are going to feed their families before they pay the rent."

The Sheriff's office says the solution all comes down to priorities.

"You signed a commitment to pay the rent and just because you spent $300 on an XBOX, doesn't mean that this apartment doesn't get their rent," Sgt. Duesler said. "That's not how it works. You've got to prioritize, or we'll prioritize for you."

When a court order requires an eviction and the tenant doesn't willingly leave, things get tough.

"We literally go out and set their posessions to the curb, and it really - it's tough to do that anyway, but it's even tougher on the holidays," Duesler said.

Ector County office says they generally deal with two types of scenarios: evicting someone who's been a repeat offender, or the hardest, someone who's fallen on tough times.

"That really makes your job difficult to go out there and tell a 60-70 year old person 'Hey I'm sorry I've got to move your stuff out of here, because you're delinquent on your payments," Sgt. Duesler said. "That never rests easy on you when you get home at night after you've done that."

Sgt. Duesler says there isn't one specific area of West Texas that sees anymore evictions than others, but because of the changing economy, he expects the numbers to go up across the board.

"It's not going to be instant," Sgt. Duesler said. "But again, you'll start seeing people re-prioritize what they're spending their money on."

As the number of evictions continue to go up during the holidays, and with the changing economy, the civil office says by January or February they may pull in folks from other offices to help deal with all the leg-work.