Texas Eviction Laws and Eviction Process

A reference of Texas eviction laws, and steps of the Texas eviction process for landlords and renters, updated 2021.

  • What notice do Texas eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
    • For evictions based on non-payment of rent, the landlord must provide a 3-day notice. (Tex. Prop. Code Title 4 §24.005).
    • For evictions based on non-compliance with the lease agreement, the landlord must provide a 3-day notice. (Tex. Prop. Code Title 4 §24.005).
    • For evictions based on remaining in possession of the rental unit beyond the period of the lease without the owner’s permission, the landlord must provide a notice of 30-days for a month-to-month tenancy. (Tex. Prop. Code Title § 91.001).
  • Do Texas eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities? 
    • No. Texas law prohibits self-help measures. If the landlord unlawfully removes or excludes the tenant from the property or interrupts essential services to the rental property, the tenant can recover one month’s rent, plus $1,000, actual damages, court costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees. (Tex. Prop. Code Title 4 § 92.008).

Texas Eviction Process: Step-by-Step

The eviction process in Texas involves the following six steps:

  1. The landlord serves the eviction notice. The landlord must give the appropriate eviction notice to the tenant. The eviction notice must generally be by personal delivery to the tenant or any person residing at the rental unit who is 16 years of age or older, by personal delivery to the premises and attaching it to the inside of the main entry door, or mailing it. Alternatively, if the notice cannot be delivered in this way because there is no mailbox at the property, there is a dangerous animal at the property, alarm system, or keyless bolting service, or the landlord reasonably believes they could be physically harmed by personal service, the landlord can deliver the notice to vacate by securely attaching it in a sealed envelope to the outside of the main entry door that says “IMPORTANT DOCUMENT” in all capital letters and mailing the same no later than 5 p.m. of the same day. (Tex. Prop. Code Title 4 §24.005(f-1) ).
  2. The landlord takes legal action. If the tenant does not cure the breach or move out by the time indicated in the eviction notice, the landlord files a Petition for Eviction from Residential Premises to officially begin the eviction process in Texas. The landlord must also submit a Military Status Affidavit to inform the court whether the tenant is currently serving in the military and a Case Information Sheet that provides basic information about the landlord and tenant. The landlord has a summons issued that informs the tenant that legal action is being ten against them and that a default judgment can be made against them if they fail to respond to the petition. 
  3. The landlord serves the tenant. The landlord serves the tenant with the legal documents. The tenant can respond with the Defendant’s Original Answer.
  4. Parties attend the hearing. The parties attend the hearing and present their case. 
  5. Landlord files a Writ of Possession. If the tenant fails to respond or the court rules in the landlord’s favor, the landlord files a Request for Writ of Possession. This gives the sheriff the legal right to remove an unwanted tenant from the property. 
  6. Sheriff evicts the Tenant. The sheriff serves the Writ of Possession on the tenant and removes the tenant from the property. 

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