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How does the eviction process work in Texas?

Jennifer Lovett

More Jennifer's articles

6 min read

Texas Eviction Process

Disclaimer – The information on this page is intended for general informational purposes only and not to provide legal advice.

Have tenants that are not paying rent and refusing to leave? Yikes, unfortunately we have been there too and due to that thought it would be helpful to put together some information on evictions in Texas.

What is an eviction?

An Eviction is a lawsuit filed by a landlord to remove persons and belongings from a landlord’s property. 

What are the reasons I can evict someone?

A lot of this is dependent on the specific lease you have in place. Evicting someone can go beyond them just now paying rent, however this is the most common reason landlords file for eviction. Some examples can consist of: Extra people living in the home, having pets when not allowed, smoking inside, loud noise, doing illegal drugs, and more. However if these things are not listed in the lease then it is not considered a violation of the contract. 

What are the reasons I can NOT evict a tenant for?

You can not evict them for violating anything that is not in the lease. Other examples of reasons you can not evict are: tenant requesting repairs, reporting a complaint, or exercising their legal rights. Also you can not evict for reasons that violate fair housing laws (ex. Race, religion, sex, disability). 

My tenant stopped paying rent, how soon can I start the eviction process in Texas?

Most leases allow a few days for the tenant to resolve their late payments and make it current. However, legally, you can file and post an eviction notice as soon as one day after the rent was due and not paid. Make sure you double check your lease so that you know the exact agreed upon day that rent is due. 

What is an eviction notice?

A landlord must give a tenant at least 3 days written notice before filing an eviction suit. This written notice is called an eviction notice. It can be delivered by mail, handed to someone in the household who is at least 16 years old, or taped to the inside of the main entry door. It can also be placed outside the door, but only if you mail a second copy to them the same day.

Is there a particular notice I should use?

There is not a standard form, however you can download a template online that has been created by an attorney. A good resource to find one is LegalZoom. You can sometimes find free ones online as well, however there is no way to know the validity of these.

How much does an eviction cost?

Costs vary by county, but the total price can add up to about $200-$250 for court filing fees. This total does not include lawyer fees or appeals.

How does the eviction process work?

As the landlord your first step is to deliver the eviction notice. 

Once 3 days have passed you will then need to file an eviction suit at the justice court in the precinct where the rental property is located. 

The court will have you fill out paperwork. When you file the suit make sure and list all the tenants living there. Once this paperwork is filed, the county clerk will hand the case off to a constable. He will be the one to serve the tenant with a court summons. The summons will list the date and time that both the landlord and tenant must appear before the judge. 

On your court date, make sure you bring all evidence to support your case. Bring proof that an eviction notice was delivered (take a picture if you tape it to the inside of the door, send it certified mail, have the person you delivered it to sign acknowledging they received it, etc). As well as a copy of the deed, lease, rent receipts, bank statements, witnesses, complaints from other tenants, photos of any damage, and anything else to support your case. Make sure you bring extra copies, as you will need a copy for yourself, one for the judge, and one for the tenant.

What if the tenant does not show up for the court date?

If the tenant does not show up for the court date, the court will automatically rule in the favor of the landlord. The tenant will then have 5 days to vacate or appeal the ruling. If they choose to appeal, they are still required to pay rent due within 5 days of the court ruling. 

How long does the eviction process take?

It varies, but usually takes 30-40 days after the eviction notice is served. If anyone appeals then this time can drag out longer. 

My tenant does not have a lease, can I still evict them?

A tenant without a lease is considered to be “month to month” tenants. Due to this you wouldn’t need to break a long term lease. You would inform them in writing with a 30 days notice that you are not going to rent to them anymore. If they refuse to leave at the end of 30 days, then you will follow the same eviction process as listed above. 

Can a tenant claim bankruptcy to stop an eviction?

Once the process has begun a tenant may use a bankruptcy claim as part of their defense. Ultimately though it is up to the judge to decide if the eviction is granted or not. 

Can I accept a partial rent payment and still evict the tenant?

No, when you accept a partial payment you are waiving the rest of the balance owed. You can still file for an eviction, but by accepting partial payment you may be hurting your chances of receiving a ruling in your favor. Your best bet is not accept any payment that is not the total rent amount including any late fees.  

I want to sell my house, can I evict my tenant?

In Texas, it depends on the type of lease you have with your tenant. If your lease includes that upon notice of sale, the tenant loses their rights then you can. However if it is not in the lease it becomes more difficult. 

If they do not have a lease or are month to month then you can take advantage of eviction without cause. However if you have a longer lease, then you will need to wait till the end of the lease period to evict the tenant. 

I don’t want to deal with the eviction and want to sell my property, do I have any other options?

Evictions can be very unpleasant, costly, and time consuming. If you wish to be done with the property and move on, you can always sell to a cash buyer like us. To find out what we can pay for your property CLICK HERE.

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