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Evicting a Tenant in Texas

Evictions in Texas are governed by Chapter 24 of the Texas Property Code. There are three steps to evicting a tenant that is in breach of the lease or holding over beyond the term of the lease.

First, the landlord must send the tenant a notice to vacate. The notice must be delivered to the tenant in writing generally at least three days before the landlord files a forcible detainer suit. The three-day period may be shortened or lengthened by agreement, and therefore it is advisable to address this issue in advance when negotiating the lease. The notice may be delivered several ways in person or by mail at the leased property. The statute also provides an alternative means of delivery when: (1) the leased property has no mailbox and has a keyless bolting device, alarm system, or dangerous animal that prevents the landlord from entering the property; or (2) the landlord reasonably believes that harm to a person would result from delivery in person.

Second, the landlord must file a forcible detainer suit in the justice court in the precinct in which the leased property is located. Both the citation, which must contain certain statutory recitals, and the petition must be served on the tenant. The landlord may be able to recover the landlord’s attorney’s fees in the forcible detainer suit if the lease provides such or if the landlord has provided a written demand to vacate complying with the statute at least ten days before filing the forcible detainer suit.  

Third, if the justice court enters a judgment for the landlord and issues a writ of possession, the officer executing the writ must post an eviction notice on the front door of the leased premises and, no sooner than 24 hours thereafter, ensure the tenant and the tenant’s personal property are removed from the leased premises.

Johnsen Law has assisted both landlords and tenants regarding evictions. Contact us now if you need assistance.

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