Residential rental properties can be an incredibly lucrative venture as they provide a stable passive income and have the potential to appreciate significantly over time. However, there are also plenty of risks associated with owning a rental property. One of the biggest dangers landlords face is dealing with problematic tenants.

Unsuitable renters can cause property damage, disputes, holdover tenancies, and loss of rental income. Ideally, when an issue with a tenant comes up, you want to solve it amicably. However, when this doesn’t work, it’s time to begin the eviction process.

Evicting a tenant can be a time-consuming and stressful process. Thankfully, the experts at Abilene Leasing & Property Management have put together this guide to explain what the eviction process is like in the state of Texas!

Understanding the Eviction Process in Texas

As a landlord in Texas, you have the right to evict and make use of any tenants security deposit's if they break the terms of the lease, cause property damages, or fail to meet any requirements you’ve set. However, expelling tenants from your property is not as simple as asking them to leave.

You must follow the eviction process which, in Texas, can typically, takes between 1 and 3 months from start to finish. That said, the length will greatly depend on the reason for eviction and whether the tenants contests it. Furthermore, if the tenant requests a continuance or jury trial, the process can be much longer.

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The Steps of the Texas Eviction Process

Here are the steps in the eviction process in the state of Texas:

Step 1: Legal Cause for Evicting a Tenant in Texas

Under landlord-tenant law, landlords can only terminate a lease early and evict a tenant if they have valid reasons to do so. In the state of Texas, the only valid reasons for evicting a tenant are the following:

  • The tenants failed to pay rent and have made no attempts to make up for what they owe
  • The tenants’ lease has expired but they’ve continued to live on the property without a new lease
  • The tenant has violated the terms of the lease and/ or caused excessive property damage

Step 2: Serving a Tenant with an Eviction Notice

Once you have determined the valid reason for removing the tenant, a landlord can serve their tenant with written notice to vacate the premises and the eviction process will officially begin.

The eviction notice must be placed in a sealed envelope with the tenant’s name, address, and contact information. In order to be valid, the notice must be delivered in any of the following ways:

  • Hand-delivered it to the tenant or any person over the age of 16 on the premises.
  • Hand-affixing the notice to the property’s main entry door. The envelope should have the words “IMPORTANT DOCUMENT” written somewhere visible.
  • Mail-delivered from a post office in the same county as the rental unit.
  • Posted on the exterior of the property’s main entry door, in addition to sending a copy to the tenants by mail.

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Once you know for certain that your tenant has received the eviction notice, you can wait for them to vacate the premises willingly or continue with the eviction process.

Note that the eviction notice period will depend on both the reason for the eviction and the length of the tenant’s lease. For tenants that have failed to pay rent or have breached the terms of the lease, landlords must provide at least a 3 days’ notice to vacate the premises.

Meanwhile, tenants with no lease or whose lease has expired must be given at least 30 days’ notice to vacate. In the state of Texas, landlords are not required to give tenants the opportunity to cure their violations before beginning the eviction process.

Step 3: Filing an Eviction Petition

Ideally, tenants will leave the property after receiving a notice to vacate the premises. However, if this doesn’t happen, a landlord can continue the eviction process by filing a petition with the Justice of the Peace Court in Texas. 

After filing the petition, the court with set up a date for an eviction hearing. The hearing typically takes place between 10 and 21 days after the eviction petition is filed. During the hearing, both parties will be able to present their case. If the tenant fails to show up to the hearing, the court will rule in favor of the landlord.

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Step 4: Obtaining a Writ of Possession 

If the court rules in favor of the landlord, they will issue a Writ of Possession. This document serves as the evicted tenant’s final notice to vacate the premises. If the tenant has not moved out within 24 hours, the local sheriff or constable will remove them from the property. A day after obtaining the Writ of Possession, the landlord will have once again full ownership of their residential rental property, ultimately finalizing the eviction process.

Bottom Line

Familiarizing yourself with the eviction process in your state can go a long way. By understanding the valid causes for eviction and the steps for expelling a tenant, you’ll be able to remove problematic tenants more easily. Moreover, understanding the eviction process will help you keep your real estate investment protected!

Do you have more questions about the eviction process in Texas? Contact Abilene Leasing & Property Management! With our property management services, we can help you maximize your return on investment and care for your rental business.

Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws frequently change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.