Texas, like many other states, has laws in place that allow a landlord to serve a 3-Day Notice to Quit. Serving this eviction notice means that your tenants need to pay the rent they owe or fix a breach in lease agreement within the period of 3 days, or else they will have to vacate the property.
If a renter ignores the eviction notice and does not pay their rent or fix the lease violation, you can file an eviction suit (forcible entry and detainer). Each state has its own procedures regarding the Notice to Quit and possible eviction. As a landlord, these are the laws you should follow when trying to evict a tenant in Texas.
Following the Texas Notice to Vacate Laws
As a landlord in Texas, you need to make sure you follow the Texas eviction timeline. This means that you have to legally terminate a tenancy before you can file an eviction suit to evict a tenant. You can begin this eviction process by serving the renter with a written notice to vacate. Should the tenant fail to act upon this notice, you can file an eviction suit.
There are certain situations that provide proper grounds for a landlord to legally terminate a lease. You can only terminate a tenancy early and serve a notice to vacate for non-payment of rent or if your renter has violated the lease agreement.
To begin the eviction process, you can give your tenant a 3-Day Notice to Vacate. Under Texas law, a landlord is not required to provide their tenants with the option to pay their rent due or fix the violation. Note that this differs from the rules in many other states.
If you want to give your tenant a chance to pay late rent you can give them a reminder within the Notice to Vacate and request that they pay the rent due by the specified date.
Should your renter fail to move out of your rental unit after the end of the 3-day period, you can file an eviction suit. The tenant could decide to fight the eviction, which may significantly delay the eviction.
Information to Include in a 3-Day Notice to Vacate in Texas
It’s very important that as a Texas landlord, you include all the necessary information in your 3-Day Notice to Quit. Otherwise, you may file an eviction that you cannot defend in a Texas Justice of the Peace court. You should include in your eviction notice:
– The name(s) and address of tenant(s).
– The date you serve the Notice to Quit to your tenant(s) with your signature.
– The final time and date by which the tenants need to have vacated the rental property.
– All the necessary information about their option to fix the breach in the lease agreement, if applicable.
– The exact reason for serving them with the Notice to Quit.
– A statement describing how this eviction notice was served to the renter. For instance, directly handing over the eviction notice to the renter.
– A statement that you as the landlord can pursue legal action and file an eviction suit should the tenant fail to vacate the rental unit.
The Rules for Serving a Texas Notice to Vacate for Unpaid Rent
Under the Texas Property Code, you have five options to serve an eviction notice on your renter. These are as follows:
a) You can mail a copy of the Notice to Vacate by certified mail, regular mail, or registered mail. If you choose to use this option, you need to request a return receipt.
b) You or an agent representing you can give this notice to your tenant in-person. Alternatively, the eviction notice can be served to another person who is 16 years or older and lives in the rental unit.
c) You can place the eviction notice securely on the inside of the front door of your rental property. This option can only be used if you can legally access the premises. For instance, you can’t enter with a key.
d) You can post the eviction notice on the outside of your rental property’s front door if other means are unavailable. You can only do this when the tenant doesn’t have a mailbox and you can’t legally access the property in order to attach the eviction notice inside of the front door.
e) Your final option is to tape the Notice to Vacate on the front gate or any other visible part of the main entrance to the rental property. This option is available to you if something prohibits you from accessing the property. For instance, the tenant has a watchdog guarding the premises.
The Outcome of Serving a Notice to Vacate due to Nonpayment of Rent
After serving the 3 Days’ Notice to Vacate to the renter, there are two possible scenarios that can follow your action. Either your tenant obeys notice by vacating the property or disregards notice and stays on the premises, in which case, you’ll have to file an eviction.
1. The Tenant Obeys the Notice
Depending on the type of notice you served, your tenant may either move out or fix any breach in the lease agreement. There are many factors influencing how likely it is that the tenant obeys your notice. For example, the current financial situation and fear of getting an eviction on their record play are in play here. If they fix the breach in the agreement, they can remain a tenant in the property.
2. The Tenant Disregards the Notice
You can file an eviction suit in a Justice of the Peace Court in case your tenant disregards the 3 Days’ Notice to Vacate and does not move out or fix their breach in the lease agreement. The only way to legally remove the tenant is by filing an eviction suit and winning the case in court. This eviction suit is also known as the Forcible Entry and Detainer Suit. These are some important things to keep in mind regarding the process of filing an eviction:
– Your tenant can fight the eviction suit. This will delay the eviction process. A common tenant defense is that their landlord did not adhere to all the legal requirements for evicting them. This defense includes the landlord improperly serving the Notice to Vacate and a failure to keep the rental property habitable. You should prepare to ensure you can prove them wrong in this regard make sure to properly file an eviction.
– If the tenant fails to show up in court, the landlord will win the eviction suit/forcible entry and detainer by default. Should this happen, the tenant has 5 days to appeal the ruling or move out of the rental unit.
– The average eviction process in Texas takes around three weeks to complete once you file an eviction. However, there are many variables that could make your case take longer than the average time period.
– Even after winning an eviction suit, a landlord cannot evict a tenant themself. Only a law officer can do this after receiving authorization from the judge. Any attempt to personally evict a tenant is illegal in Texas and you should refrain from doing it. If the tenant still refuses to leave, a landlord can ask the judge to serve a Writ of Possession.
Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in Texas. As laws frequently change, this post might not be updated at the time of your reading.
Please contact OmniKey Realty at (833) 666-4539 for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.