Texas Eviction Notices
Texas eviction notices are forms served on a tenant by a landlord to initiate the eviction process. Eviction notices are a crucial component in the eviction process as they notify the tenant of their wrongdoing (typically non-payment of rent or a violation of the terms of the lease agreement) and provide the length of time they have to rectify the violation or vacate the premises. These notices allow the landlord to establish their concern regarding the tenant’s failure to uphold their end of the agreement while at the same time protecting the tenant from false accusations or evictions based on discrimination rather than rationale. A landlord can evict a tenant or refuse to renew a lease for any reason as long as it is not in violation of the Fair Housing laws or the Texas Property Code. Should the tenant fail to reply to or comply with the notice, the landlord has the right to seek legal action by filing an eviction case (forcible entry and detainer suit) with Texas justice courts.
The Texas month-to-month lease termination letter is used to terminate a month-to-month lease agreement between a landlord and tenant. Although the landlord need not provide reasoning for the termination, they cannot terminate the agreement in discrimination (or retaliation) of the tenant. The …
How to Evict a Tenant (Process)
The eviction process in Texas requires the landlord to follow the steps carefully lest they risk the case being thrown out by a judge. Any oversight or inaccuracy made during the eviction process could give the tenant ammunition while defending themselves.
Step 1 – Eviction Notice
It is paramount that the landlord selects the proper eviction notice to serve on their tenant; the wrong notice could result in failure to evict the tenant.
30-Day Notice to Vacate – For month-to-month tenancies asking the tenant to vacate the premises. No reason is required as long as long as the landlord does not show discrimination or retaliation.
3-Day Notice Notice to Cure or Quit – Tenant has violated the lease agreement and is given three (3) days to remedy the violation or vacate the premises.
3-Day Notice Notice to Pay or Quit – Tenant has failed to pay rent and is given three (3) days to pay the amount owing or vacate the premises.
The landlord can deliver the notice in person, by US Mail or Certified Mail (return receipt requested), or by posting the notice on the inside of the front door. The last option requires the landlord to have legal access to the inside of the dwelling; otherwise, the notice can be posted on the outside, but this should only be executed as a last resort.
Step 2 – Settle Out of Court (If Possible)
It is in the parties’ mutual best interests to settle the issue outside of court, saving everyone money and time. It is up to the tenant to remedy the situation, paying rent/fees or complying with the demands written in the eviction notice. The notice requires the tenant to comply within a certain number of days, and the landlord mustn’t take action before the notice period is up or they risk ruining their case against the tenant.
Step 3 – Eviction Suit
Should the tenant fail to cure the violation or vacate the premises, the landlord can file a forcible detainer suit (ex: Hood County Forcible Detainer Complaint) with the justice court in the precinct the property is located. The filing fees associated with an eviction suit vary in each county, ranging from $50 to more than $200 (which may or may not include sheriff’s fees). The court will have the sheriff or constable deliver the forcible detainer suit papers to the tenant.
Step 4 – Justice Court Hearing
The landlord and tenant must appear before the judge on the hearing date set forth in the forcible detainer suit. Failure to appear will result in a default loss. The judge will determine who has the superior right to possession of the property based on the evidence presented to them by both parties. Once a judgment as been passed, the losing party is given the opportunity to appeal. If no appeal is made within five (5) days time, the judgment becomes final.
Step 6 – Writ of Possession
A judgment in favor of the landlord means they may obtain and serve upon the tenant a writ of possession. Furthermore, the tenant is responsible for any court costs and attorney fees incurred during the suit. A writ of possession (ex: Bell County Request for Writ of Possession) is a court order directing a constable or sheriff to give the landlord possession of the property. The writ demands that the tenant vacate within forty-eight (48) hours or risk being physically removed from the premises by the sheriff or constable.