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The Eviction Process in Texas

eviction-laws-texasNo one wants to deal with a tenant eviction, but sometimes it’s necessary. Evicting a tenant in Texas requires that you comply with Texas eviction laws.

Generally, courts are very protective of the renter’s rights, and your case may be dismissed if you fail to follow the correct procedure.

An eviction in Texas is also referred to as “forcible entry or detainer.” There are many reasons to evict a tenant legally. If you are not familiar with how the eviction process works, hiring a knowledgeable Texas property management company and an eviction attorney can definitely help.

Common reasons include:

  • Non-payment of rent. This is the most common ground for an eviction.
  • Property damage. Due to the extreme costs involved in fixing the damage, excessive property damage also leads to eviction. Broken appliances, holes in walls, broken windows, and ruined floors are common types of damage.
  • Smoking on the property. Smoking is one of the most expensive breaches of the lease to fix. You’ll need to apply fresh paint, new blinds, new outlets and new appliances due to the extreme smell caused by the smoke.
  • Breaking HOA rules. If your rental property is a part of an HOA, you’re required to meet specific conditions, covenants, and restrictions (CC&Rs). These regulate parking, décor, outdoor décor, pets, and landscaping.
  • Illegal use of the property. You may evict renters if they’re using the property in a way that violates state or federal law.


The Eviction Process in Texas


You must follow the steps below if you find a tenant violating the lease agreement.


Step 1: Determine the reasons for the eviction.

You need to have valid grounds to serve an eviction notice in Texas. There are a variety of eviction grounds/reasons, depending on your city or county. Besides those already mentioned, others include:

  • Providing incorrect or false information in the lease application
  • Allowing people who aren’t on the lease to live on the property
  • Violating the landlord’s policy on pets
  • Refusing to move after the lease ends
  • Using the rental property to distribute or display obscene material

Before proceeding with the eviction, be sure to meet your responsibilities as a landlord. You must fix anything that affects the safety or physical health of the tenant under the Texas Property Code.

If you fail to do this, the renter may use it as an eviction defense in court.


Step 2: Serve the Appropriate Texas Eviction Notice

eviction-notice-texasThe eviction laws in Texas, you’re required to give the tenant a written notice to vacate before filing an eviction lawsuit.

The landlord eviction notice indicates the nature of the breach and specifies that the tenant leaves by a certain date.

The Notice to Vacate form is available at the court clerk’s office. They are also available online. Make sure to do the following:

  • Check to see if the rental agreement contains a provision regarding the eviction process time period in Texas. If it allows for more than three days, give the lessee that extra time.
  • Before you file the eviction case with the Justice of the Peace court, you have to allow at least three days after delivery of the eviction notice in Texas.

You can use a variety of ways to serve the notice to the lessee. The eviction notice may be delivered to the tenant or any person above the age of 16 residing in the unit. You can:

  • Attach it inside or outside the front entrance. But only attach it outside if there’s no mailbox, or there’s an alarm system, keyless deadbolt or dangerous animal that prevents you from entering.
  • Use certified, registered or regular mail.


Step 3: File the Eviction Lawsuit.

Also known as a Petition for Eviction, the eviction complaint must be filed in the Justice of the Peace Precinct where the property is located. You also need a Civil Case Information Sheet and a Military Status Affidavit.

To avoid the dismissal of your case, make sure to provide complete information. Necessary information for the Petition for Eviction includes:

  • The reason for the eviction notice in your Texas property
  • The rent amount and the day it’s due each month
  • The date the property was rented, and whether the lease is oral or written
  • The address of the property and the names of everyone involved in the tenancy
  • When and how the Notice to Vacate was given

Keep in mind that you may also be required to include the information in Spanish. If you’re not fluent in Spanish, get help from someone who knows the language.


Step 4: Attend the Hearing.

A court hearing will usually occur between six to 10 days after a tenant is served with court papers. To ensure the best chances of winning the Texas eviction process in court, do the following.

  • Make sure you have someone who can back up your case. Also, make sure all facts are accurate by reviewing the testimony with them in advance.
  • Try to observe similar cases before your hearing date if you can.
  • Bring as much evidence with you as possible.
  • Arrive early in court.


Often, a judge will make a ruling on the eviction, but the tenant may request a trial by jury. Either way, if the judgment is in your favor, the tenant will only be left with five days to move out or appeal the decision. If the

decision is against you, consider filing an appeal.


Step 5: Make a Writ of Possession.

Assuming you’ve won the case, and the tenant hasn’t vacated the premises, you can request a Writ of Possession.

A Writ of Possession in Texas allows a renter’s belongings to be forcibly removed from the property. It directs the sheriff or constable to hand over possession of the property back to the landlord. When that’s done, possession of the rental unit is turned over back to you.

You may also need to obtain a Writ of Execution if you were also awarded monetary damages. It directs the constable or sheriff to seize certain property from the tenant to compensate for damages. It can be requested 30 days after the case is closed in court.


In Texas, winning an eviction lawsuit is the only legal way to evict a tenant. And even after you’ve won the lawsuit, you must still follow the proper procedures to evict the tenant. Make sure you follow those procedures to avoid any inconvenience.

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