You must follow protocol in order to evict a tenant in Texas or a court could overturn the eviction. The eviction process can seem confusing, especially if you’ve never done it before — or worry about retaliation from an angry tenant. Learn the right steps to take to move the eviction forward.
When Can You Evict Someone in Texas?
Renters on month-long leases can be evicted without cause, provided you give them one month’s notice. If your renter is on a term lease (i.e., year-long), you must have a reason for eviction.
One of the most common reasons for eviction is failure to pay rent. If your tenant broke a clause in the lease (for example, if he or she sublet the apartment and that was prohibited, or if the tenant had loud parties on a regular basis), you can initiate eviction.
How to Evict a Tenant in Texas
Use this checklist to make sure you do everything right. Skipping a step could delay the eviction process.
- Verify you have a substantiated cause. Review the lease to make sure you have the right to evict a tenant. A renter may be doing something you don’t like, but if your lease doesn’t prohibit the behavior, then your reasoning won’t stand up in court. In that case, you’ll need to wait for the lease term to end.
- Serve the renter with a three-day notice to vacate. The first step in the eviction processis giving the tenant a three-day notice to vacate, which requests the tenant move out at the end of three days. You must provide the tenant with a physical copy of the notice; you cannot give verbal warning.
You may give someone the option to pay back-due rent or fix the problem, if you’re willing to negotiate with a tenant, but this leniency isn’t required under Texas law. If a tenant moves out after receiving the notice to vacate, your problem is solved; if not, you can move forward with eviction.
- Initiate a lawsuit. If the tenant does not respect the notice to vacate, you must file an eviction lawsuit in the court that is local to the rental property. The court will want the tenant’s name and contact information, rental property address, cause for eviction, amount of money owed by tenant, and other relevant facts. You will need to pay a filing fee to initiate the suit. After you pay the fee and file the paperwork, the county constable will serve the tenant with notice.
- Appear in court. You must make your case to a judge, who will rule for you or your tenant. Gather any evidence that supports your claims before the court hearing. For instance, you might find neighbors who can attest to frequent loud parties if that is your reason for eviction. Then, hire a landlord-tenant attorney to help make your case in court.
Even if the judge sides with you, the tenant has five days to evacuate the premises or appeal the lawsuit, which prolongs the process.
- Wait for the constable to evict the tenant. The judge will authorize someone to evict the tenant if you win the lawsuit. Wait for the appointed legal officer to do so, as it is illegal in Texas for landlords to physically remove tenants, even if they won an eviction suit. If the tenant refuses to leave, your attorney can advise you on next steps.
Note, these steps only cover Texas law regarding how to evict someone. To get help evicting a tenant in Texas, or with other real estate matters, contact Attorney Maggie R. Simoneaux-Cuaso.