A lease agreement is a contractually binding agreement between a landlord and a tenant. It, among other things, outlines the rights and responsibilities each party has. For example, it obligates a tenant to do things like:
- Make timely rent payments
- Care for their premises by ensuring the premises are clean and sanitary
- Uphold all terms and policies
While most tenants will uphold such responsibilities, some won’t. They may refuse to pay rent, cause negligent property damage, fail to uphold the lease terms, and even refuse to move out after their term is over.
Luckily for you, the Texas landlord-tenant law gives you a right to evict such tenants. The eviction, however, must abide by the state laws in order to be considered a lawful eviction.
Legal Reasons for Tenant Eviction in Texas
First off, please note that you cannot evict your tenant for just any reason. The reason must be legally allowable for the eviction to proceed. The following are the legal grounds for an eviction in Texas.
- Nonpayment of rent
- Violation of lease or responsibilities
- Refusal to leave after the lease is over
- If the rental property is foreclosed upon
Illegal Reasons for Tenant Eviction in Texas
The Eviction Crisis Act of 2019 defines an “illegal eviction” as a self-help measure to recover possession of a residential property from a tenant outside the legal realm. The following are examples of evictions that a court would deem illegal.
- Removing a tenant’s belongings without legal backing
- Removing the rental unit’s front door
- Changing the rental unit’s locks
- Turning off the unit’s heat and/or electricity
What’s more, illegal evictions aren’t just confined to physical actions. Even making exaggerated or falsified reasons for evicting a tenant would also be considered illegal eviction tactics.
And illegal evictions do have consequences. In Texas, a tenant can sue a landlord for attempting an illegal eviction. If found guilty, you may be liable for civil penalties, attorneys’ fees, and moving fees.
With that in mind, the following is the tenant eviction process in Texas.
Eviction Process in Texas
The eviction process to take depends on the violation committed.
1. Eviction Process for Nonpayment of Rent
Failure by a tenant to pay rent is a serious violation of the lease and is a just cause for an eviction. To kickstart the eviction process, you must serve the tenant a 3-Day Notice to Quit. Unlike some other states, in Texas, you don’t need to give the tenant a chance to cure the violation.
The notice gives the tenant only 3 days to move out or else get evicted. If the tenant ignores the notice to move out within the 3 days, you can proceed with the eviction.
1. Eviction Process for Violation of the Lease Agreement
You can also evict a tenant who fails to uphold the lease terms and responsibilities under the Texas Property Code Chapter 92.
In Texas, violations aren’t categorized into curable and incurable as is the case in other states. All violations are incurable. In other words, tenants don’t get an opportunity to fix whatever violation they have committed. The only option they have is to move out within the notice period or else get evicted.
The following are examples of incurable violations.
- Keeping unauthorized pets
- Engaging in an illegal activity
- Causing disturbance to other tenants and neighbors
- Failing to keep the premises in a clean and sanitary state
- Failing to notify the landlord of maintenance issues or defects
- Causing negligent property damage
To start the eviction process for a tenant who commits any of the above, you must serve them a 3-Day Unconditional Quit Notice. Again, if they continue staying in the premises after the 3 days, you can continue with the eviction and use their security deposit to pay for any damages.
2. Eviction Process for Holdover Tenants
A tenant who refuses to leave after their lease ends is referred to as a holdover tenant. You may want to evict a tenant on such a ground if you no longer wish to continue renting your property to them.
The amount of notice to serve them depends on how often they pay rent. For tenants that pay rent weekly, you must serve them a 3-Day Quit Notice to begin the eviction process.
For tenants who pay monthly, you must serve them a 30-Day Quit Notice. And for those who pay more frequently than once a month, you must serve them a 20-Day Quit Notice.
3. Eviction Process for Properties on the Verge of Foreclosure
If the rental property is being foreclosed upon, and the lease isn’t going to be renewed, you must serve your tenant a 30-Day Quit Notice. If the tenant doesn’t move out within the 30 days, you can go ahead with the eviction.
Court Hearing & Judgment
If the tenant continues staying on the premises after the notice has expired, the next step would be to move to court and file a complaint. The court should be the appropriate Justice of the Peace Court in Texas.
Filing fees range anywhere between $46 and $100 for most counties in Texas. The hearing will then take place 10-21 days after the complaint is filed with the court.
If the judgment is in your favor, the court will issue a Writ of Possession. The writ is the tenant’s final notice to leave and only allows them an opportunity to remove their belongings before being forcefully thrown out by a sheriff.
If you own a rental property in Texas, it’s important to know the local eviction laws to be properly prepared for such a situation. If the process still confuses you, let the team at Keyrenter North Dallas help you out! Our years of knowledge and experience in the industry means we know the law inside-out. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you in managing your rental property.
Disclaimer: This blog is in no way a substitute for professional legal advice. Also, laws change and this information may not be updated at the time of your reading. If you have a question regarding this content or any other aspect of property management, please do get in touch with us. KeyRenter North Dallas will make renting out your Dallas home simple and stress-free!