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As a landlord, we often have to make a decision to remove a tenant when it’s becoming a problem.
Your rental property is a business, and if the numbers start getting thrown off, then you have to make a decision to keep the property from operating in the red.
Removing a tenant can have different steps depending on whether there’s an active lease in place or not.
If the original agreement was made orally or if the lease had ended and the rental was now operating on a month-to-month basis, then the tenant is in there without a lease.
That means this article is for you.
We’ll go over the Texas eviction laws without a lease, and, specifically, how to evict someone in Texas without a lease.
There are specific grounds for eviction that must be met before it is applicable
We’ll keep this short and simple:
These are the reasons for eviction in Texas:
- Non-payment of rent – Rent is due on the 1st day of the month. In Texas, it is considered late on the 3rd day. At this point, you may legally give a notice to vacate. The only pre-requisite is that there was no previously agreed alternate due date.
- Refusal of lease renewal – As the landlord, you can refuse renewing a lease for any reason. Sometimes a tenant may refuse to leave, and that is another cause for eviction.
- Damage to the property – When a tenant causes clear damage to the property (not just regular wear and tear), then this is reasonable cause for eviction
- Refusing to move at the end of a lease – At this point, your only option really is to have them removed, but you need to make sure that you follow the proper eviction procedures, as described below.
- Using the property to display or distribute obscene material – This will violate even month-to-month arrangements, and will definitely hold up really well in court.
- Violating pet policy – This is another violation of any lease, although considered a minor offense in most cases. Usually, the best evidence would be to show any damage that may have been caused by the pet.
- Others living on the property without approval – Effectively subletting or allowing others to live on the property without landlord approval is a violation on any type of lease, even an oral agreement.
- Incorrect or false information – If for some reason the tenant lied about pertinent information, such as their identity or legal status, then they can be legally removed. Be sure to prepare as much evidence as you can.
It’s crucially important to know that even if the tenant has committed any of these violations, you must go through the proper process for eviction.
Do not attempt to forcibly remove the tenant yourself.
Not only is this a dangerous move, but they can file motions against you.
Moving forward with the eviction
You’ve got a reasonable cause for eviction, so now you need to get things in place.
When you move to have someone evicted, you’re generally going to have some sort of testimony against the tenant (unless they just ignore it and don’t show up, in which cause that’s an automatic win).
On order to do this, you need as much evidence as possible.
Make sure you can provide recorded evidence for whatever the reason is.
If they’re late on payments, show that you haven’t received payments or that they were late in previous months.
If they’ve done damage to the property, get some pictures that can be shown to the judge.
Once you’ve taken care of that, you can now take the steps to move forward.
The first step is to give written notice to the tenant.
The notice to vacate needs to give the tenant 30 days to move out, dated appropriately.
At this point, you just have to wait. But once the 30 days are up, then you are now allowed to file for eviction.
This notice needs to be given in person, certified mail, or can be tacked to the door.
You will need proof of delivery, which can be the the certified mail’s tracking number, the tenant signature, or even a photo/video of it being placed on the door.
If you don’t give notice before attempting to file the eviction, the case will just be thrown out and you’ll have to start it all over.
The second step is to file an eviction (petition for eviction).
It’s often easiest to have a lawyer take care of this for you, although it will be slightly more expensive.
Other forms that you’ll need:
- Civic case information sheet
- Proof of delivery of the notice
You’ll have to pay the filing fee, which is between $200-$300.
Once the eviction is filed, the court will set a date and time for the hearing and the officer will deliver this to the tenant.
The hearing is usually about 3 weeks out, and the tenant has 14 days to respond to it.
Usually, the tenant shows up and tries to make their case, so you have to be prepared with as much information as possible.
The third and final step is to request a Write of Possession.
This is basically the actual eviction, and the constable or sheriff will hand the court order to the tenant.
The court order gives the tenant 5 days to vacate, and by the fifth day the authorities will forcibly remove them from the premises.
At that point you may change the locks and do anything you want with what ever is left inside.
You can take further actions if needed
If the tenant has done damage to the property or if they owe past-due rent that’s worth going after, then you can file a lawsuit after the eviction to attempt to recover those costs.
Sometimes it may not be worth the suit if the amounts are small, but in cases of large amounts of damage or multiple months of past-due rent, it might be worth the risk.
Additionally, you may be able to recover legal fees with the post-eviction lawsuit as well.
Whether you move forward with an eviction and lawsuit or not, remember that you can’t let your tenants put your property at risk.
When a tenant doesn’t pay, that leaves you liable for the mortgage and HOA fees.
And if those don’t get paid, then you begin to accrue fees and potentially put yourself into a foreclosure situation.
If you are put into a position like that, make sure you get in touch with us. We may be able to help you get out of it entirely.
Periodically visit our homepage for more updated information on things you can do as a homeowner to protect yourself or get out of unfavorable situations.