As a landlord in Texas, you never want to be in a situation where you need to evict a tenant from your rental unit. But sometimes it is necessary. So, to evict a tenant legally, you must be familiar with the Texas eviction laws. As if you don’t - you could be held liable.
Just like many other states, the Texas landlord-tenant laws are unique to this state, and this includes the eviction laws. But these regulations may seem confusing or overwhelming if you’re unfamiliar - which we understand. That’s why we at McCourt Real Estate have put together this comprehensive guide to the eviction process in Texas.
Navigating the Texas Eviction Process
Texas law states that a landlord may evict tenants for a variety of different lease violations. These reasons include the following:
- If the tenant fails to pay rent
- If the lease ends or there is no lease
- If the tenant violates the terms of the lease agreement
In order to legally evict a tenant, a landlord must provide their tenant with proper written notice. The type of eviction notice that is required depends on the reason a tenant is being evicted.
Failing to Pay Rent
When a landlord evicts a tenant because the tenant has is no longer paying rent, they must first be provided with 3 days’ notice to vacate the home. Unless the lease states otherwise, rent is considered late immediately after the due date.
Under Texas law, there is a 2-day grace period, and late fees cannot be charged to the tenants facing eviction until after the grace period has ended. After this grace period, a landlord may begin the eviction process.
End of the Lease
Landlords in Texas may evict a tenant after a lease has ended, or if there is no lease or rental agreement present. In this case they first must end the tenancy by providing the renter with proper notice to vacate. But the amount of notice given depends on the type of lease agreement.
If the lease is month-to-month, then the notice period must be at least 1 month. For a verbal agreement, then the notice period is only 3 days and for a week-to-week lease or rental agreement, 7 days’ notice must be given.
Once the tenancy has reached its end, if the renter remains in the rental unit, then the landlord may continue with the eviction process.
Violating the Terms of the Lease Agreement
A Texas landlord may evict their tenant if the tenant has violated certain terms of the signed lease agreement. Texas laws states that landlords must provide their Texas tenants with at least 3 days’ notice to vacate prior to eviction.
But unlike in some other states, Texas law does not require landlords to allow the tenants to repair the issue to avoid eviction.
Serving a Tenant with a Notice to Vacate in Texas
To begin the eviction process, you must serve the tenant with a written notice to vacate. This can be delivered any of the following ways:
- The landlord may deliver the written notice to vacate to the tenant in person.
- The landlord may personally deliver the notice to vacate to the rental home by placing it on the inside of the main door of the rental unit.
- The landlord may mail the eviction notice with a return receipt requested.
Attending an Eviction Hearing in Court
When the notice for eviction has ended and the tenant has not vacated the rental property, then you may continue the eviction process by taking the tenant to court to gain a writ of possession. But during the eviction hearing, both the landlord and the tenant must be present.
If the tenant fails to attend the eviction hearing, then the judge will automatically rule in favor of the landlord. Consequently, a writ of possession will be issued to the tenant.
Writ of Possession
But what exactly is a writ of possession?
A writ of possession refers to the final written notice provided to the tenant before they are forcibly removed from the rental property. This allows the tenant an opportunity to remove their belongings and vacate the home.
The writ of possession is not served until 6 days after the judge rules in favor of the landlord at the eviction hearing.
After receiving the writ of possession, the tenant has at least 24 hours to gather their belongings and vacate the rental unit. So, if the tenant remains on the property after the notice period has ended, the owner may schedule with the sheriff or constable to return to the property to observe and to keep the peace while the owner has people forcibly remove the tenant and his possessions from the rental home.
If the tenant's property is not removed by the end of the deadline, the items may be placed in front of the house. After this process is over the sheriff or constable leave. The owner should plan to rekey the locks prior to that point.
While the sheriff or constable may not choose to return to the tenant's property for a few days after the writ of possession is served, they must give the tenant at least 24 hours to leave the property before returning.
Eviction Process in Texas: Bottom Line
If you have any further questions regarding the Texas eviction process, or any other aspect of Texas law related to your rental property, it is always a good idea to speak with a licensed attorney. You can also seek the help of a knowledgeable property management company!
If you have any questions about any aspect of property management from security deposits and other parts of Texas law to marketing and maintenance services, don’t hesitate to contact our knowledgeable team of experienced property managers here at McCourt Real Estate.
Please remember that your very best protection against having to perform an eviction it to be proactive at the beginning of the leasing process. Use a good lease or rental agreement that is written specifically for Texas. Do a thorough check to be certain that they pay their bills on time, honor their obligations and have never been evicted, prior to giving them keys to your dwelling.
As a full service property management company, you can trust our team to provide only the best customer service to you and your tenants. Contact us today to learn more!
Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regard to this content, or any other aspect of your property management needs.