Opinion by Justice RALPH K. BURGESS.
Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC (Bayview), purchased the property located at 330 County Road 1169, Brashear, Texas 75420 (the Property)
On appeal, Paselk argues that the county court erred in granting judgment in Bayview's favor because the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to demonstrate either an event of default or that a deed of trust granted Bayview a right to the property.
I. Factual Background
On March 9, 2004, borrowers Paselk and Myrle Reynolds executed a deed of trust in favor of lenders Ronald G. Ballem and Marilyn G. Ballem. The deed of trust recited that Paselk and Reynolds had borrowed $253,500.00 from the Ballems to secure the purchase price of the Property and that they were due to pay off the note "on or before 18 months after [the note's execution] date." The deed of trust further provided:
C. Trustee's Rights and Duties
D. General Provisions
After Paselk defaulted on the note, the substitute trustee held a foreclosure sale of the Property on the courthouse steps on September 6, 2016. The substitute trustee's deed demonstrated that Bayview purchased the Property on that date for $543,581.08. On November 8, 2016, Bayview sent Paselk a notice to vacate the premises. The letter stated that a forcible detainer suit would be filed if Paselk (and all other occupants) did not vacate the property.
When Paselk failed to vacate, Bayview filed a suit for forcible detainer to evict them from the Property in the Justice of the Peace Court, Precinct 1, Place 1, of Hopkins County, Texas. In accordance with a jury's verdict, the justice court rendered judgment for Bayview, awarding it possession of the Property. Paselk appealed the justice court's judgment to the County Court of Hopkins County, Texas. During its trial de novo, the county court admitted into evidence the substitute trustee's deed, the deed of trust, and Bayview's notices to vacate the Property. The county court also rendered judgment of possession of the Property to Bayview. Paselk appeals.
II. We Cannot Address Paselks's Complaints Related to the Underlying Foreclosure
To prevail on its forcible detainer action, Bayview was required to prove that (1) it owned the Property by virtue of the substitute trustee's deed, (2) Paselk became a tenant at sufferance when the Property was sold under the terms of the deed of trust, (3) it gave Paselk and the other occupants notice to vacate the premises, and (4) Paselk and the other occupants refused to vacate the premises. See Tehuti v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon Trust Co., Nat'l Ass'n (Mellon), 517 S.W.3d 270, 273 n.5 (Tex. App.-Texarkana 2017, no pet.). Paselk's pro se brief does not appear to argue that Bayview failed to meet its burden.
Specifically, Paselk attempts to challenge the propriety of the underlying foreclosure. Although the substitute trustee's deed recited that Paselk defaulted on the note, Paselk argues that the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to establish her default. She further argues that Bayview was not listed on the deed of trust, and she mistakenly believes that such fact must result in a finding that Bayview had no interest in the property, even though it is undisputed that Bayview purchased the Property at the foreclosure sale and obtained the substitute trustee's deed. Relying on these arguments, Paselk contends that she has created serious issues of title that deprived the justice and county courts of jurisdiction.
In a suit for forcible entry and detainer, the right to actual possession of property, not title, is the sole issue for the court to decide. TEX. R. CIV. P. 510.3(e). It is "a special proceeding . . . . created to provide a speedy, simple, and inexpensive means for resolving the question of the right to possession of premises." Mellon, 517 S.W.3d at 273 (quoting Mosely v. Am. Homes 4 Rent Props. Eight, LLC, No. 02-15-00200-CV, 2015 WL 9942695, at *2 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth Dec. 10, 2015, pet. dism'd) (mem. op.)). "The right to immediately possess real property is not necessarily contingent on proving full title, and `[t]he Texas Legislative has specifically bifurcated the questions of possession and title and placed jurisdiction for adjudicating those issues in separate courts.'" Id. at 273-74 (quoting Borunda v. Fed. Nat'l Mortg. Ass'n, 511 S.W.3d 731, 734 (Tex. App.-El Paso Nov. 18, 2015, no pet.) (second alteration in original)). While justice courts have original jurisdiction over forcible detainer cases, they do not have jurisdiction in trespass-to-try-title cases. TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN. § 27.031(a)(2), (b)(4) (West Supp. 2016). "Thus, `the county court sitting as an appellate court on trial de novo only ha[s] jurisdiction to consider the issue of possession, not title.'" Mellon, 517 S.W.3d at 274 (quoting Borunda, 511 S.W.3d at 734).
Paselk argues that, because there is an alleged title defect, the justice and county courts were deprived of jurisdiction over this case. It is true that "[w]here the issue of immediate possession necessarily involves resolution of a title dispute, the justice court is divested of subject-matter jurisdiction and has no power to render judgment." Id. (quoting Borunda, 511 S.W.3d at 734). "However, where the issue of the superior right of possession can be determined separately from title issues, the justice court has jurisdiction to decide the case." Id. (quoting Borunda, 511 S.W.3d at 734). As set forth above, the deed of trust specifically provided that Paselk would be considered a tenant at sufferance in the event of a foreclosure sale. "Where, as here, `foreclosure pursuant to a deed of trust establishes a landlord and tenant-at-sufferance relationship between the parties, the trial court has an independent basis to determine the issue of immediate possession without resolving the issue of title to the property.'" Id. (quoting Mosely, 2015 WL 9942695, at *3).
Because issues involving title and the propriety of the underlying foreclosure were not before the justice or county courts in this forcible detainer action, we cannot address Paselk's arguments related to these matters. This is because "[t]he validity of a foreclosure sale may not be determined in a suit for forcible detainer but must be brought in a separate suit." Id. at 273 (quoting Tehuti v. Trans-Atlas Fin., Inc., No. 05-14-00126-CV, 2015 WL 1111400, at *2 (Tex. App.-Dallas Mar. 12, 2015, pet. dism'd w.o.j.) (mem. op.)). For these reasons, we overrule all of Paselk's points of error on appeal.
We affirm the trial court's judgment.