Evictions are unavoidable if you are a landlord. Being armed with the right information can help speed things up when it comes to eviction to re-lease your rental property. An eviction can be a stressful situation for both tenant and landlord. Knowing what to do and avoid will leave the Texas eviction process running smoothly.
Under the Texas Law, a 3-day notice is the rule for eviction and enough for a tenant to move out from your rental unit. After 3 days, a landlord can file for a forcible entry and detainer suit. Moreover, a landlord should file the Texas eviction lawsuit in the precinct where their property is located to avoid a case dismissal.
Notice for Lease Termination with Legal Cause
A Texas landlord can evict a tenant for various reasons. Such reasons include:
- Threatening other tenants or displaying rowdy and unsafe behavior.
- Not paying rent on a monthly basis.
- Committing a breach of contract of the leasing agreement.
- Engaging in illegal or criminal activity.
The first step in the Texas eviction process is sending notice. Sending an eviction notice in Texas is simple. A 3-day Notice to Vacate is sufficient for eviction if a tenant has not fulfilled his rent obligation or if he has committed a violation. It’s up to you as the landlord whether to allow your tenant to cure a violation or pay rent within the 3 days. Basically, this translates to landlords having a certain degree of control in Texas when it comes to the eviction process.
If you have no existing written lease with a tenant then you are entitled to evict a tenant without cause. There are 2 ways to go about this situation, depending on the leasing type.
- Month-to-month tenancy. This requires a 30-day Notice to Quit for eviction.
- A fixed-term lease. This requires waiting for the tenancy’s end date. Providing an eviction notice is not required since the move out date is stated clearly on the leasing agreement.
In cases where the tenant does not move out upon the tenancy end, you can present the tenant with a 3-day Notice to Vacate and therefore begin the eviction process. Should the tenant refuse to leave within the prescribed period, or pay rent owed within 3 days, you can file for an eviction suit.
Serving a Tenant with a Notice to Vacate in Texas
Under the Texas eviction law, it’s required to send a tenant a 3-day Notice to Vacate before a landlord can go to court and file for an eviction suit. The notice can be given via hand delivery, or through the mail.
Tenant Eviction Defenses in Texas
The defense is a reason why you, the petitioner, shouldn’t win the case. Tenants have their rights in Texas and may claim:
- You were incompetent as a landlord and neglected your duty to keep the property in good condition.
- You ignored the tenant’s reasonable property repairs and maintenance requests.
- Your eviction was based on the retaliation of a tenant’s right to complain to a government authority (like Housing and Community Affairs) on the premise of your responsibilities.
- The landlord is guilty of violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against the tenant under the protected classes.
- Your property is no longer livable and has become a risk to the tenant’s safety and wellbeing.
- The landlord is guilty of committing self-help eviction procedures. The tenant is deprived of using vital utilities, like electricity and water. In addition, the landlord changed the locks, making the rental property inaccessible to the tenant.
Attending Eviction Hearing
Under the Texas eviction law, a landlord will file for an eviction lawsuit at a precinct and establish where your rental unit is situated. Filing for a lawsuit in the wrong precinct can be grounds for dismissal. Therefore, do your research accordingly.
The tenant will be served by a Constable with paperwork that will inform the details of the schedule of the eviction hearing. Consequently, if a tenant fails to receive the eviction petition 2-3 times then it will simply be mailed or posted on the premises.
A tenant is given 5 days to move out of the rental property when he loses the eviction case. This includes the weekend and if it falls on a holiday, the deadline for eviction is moved to the following day. On the 5th day, the tenant can file for an appeal in a County Court.
A 30 to 90-day period can be granted by the court, extending a tenant’s stay. The tenant has 3 court appeal options: a Surety Bond, a Pauper’s Affidavit or an Inability to Pay Appeal. The last one, in particular, being a Cash Appeal and Bond.
At the eviction hearing, any evidence must be presented in front of witnesses. It should be noted that you must have an attorney present. Otherwise, you may choose to represent yourself in court.
Writ of Possession in Texas
After the mandatory 5-day appeal period is over, and the tenant still refuses to leave you rental property, you can opt to file for a Writ of Possession. Afterwards, the Constable will assist you in gaining back possession of your property.
At this point in the eviction process, the Constable will serve the tenant a 24-hour Notice to Vacate the premises. The period of eviction in Texas is only a minimum of three weeks or 20-23 days.
Bottom Line: Evictions in Texas
It’s helpful to you to obtain the services of eviction experts from the start to ensure that the eviction process follows the Texas eviction laws. If there are errors made in the filing, this could result in a case loss. Furthermore, this could translate to a tenant overstaying in your rental unit. Instead of earning a steady stream of profit from the rental, you will suffer from a loss of income. Be sure to seek out solid legal advice before taking any action that could jeopardize your eviction case.
Call McCaw Property Management at (817) 491-2553 to assist you in Eviction matters. We’ll make sure the tenant is packed up and leaving your property, and your income losses will be greatly reduced.
If you have specific questions, hire the services of a qualified Texas attorney. Alternatively, you can seek help from a knowledgeable property management company.
Note that this blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in Texas. Laws frequently change and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.