If you’re a landlord, property manager, or owner in Texas, understanding how to evict tenants is crucial for maintaining a successful rental business. This blog provides a comprehensive guide about the legal grounds for immediate eviction. Understanding eviction laws can save you from legal headaches down the line. From violations of rental agreements to more severe infractions, we’ll break down the essentials so you can manage your properties with confidence and legal integrity.
When Does Breaking a Lease Agreement Mean Immediate Eviction?
Texas Property Code Chapter 91 outlines the grounds and procedures to evict a tenant.
However, it’s crucial to note that Texas law doesn’t generally allow for “immediate eviction,” where you evict a tenant on the spot without due process.
Eviction is a legal process requiring notices, timeframes, and often court involvement. The process must be followed to comply with the law, even for severe infractions like illegal activity or endangering other tenants.
If you’re a landlord or property manager in Texas, understanding that eviction is not typically an immediate action can save you from legal headaches down the line. Even when a tenant violates the rental agreement, Texas law requires you to follow specific procedures to protect both parties’ rights.
If immediate removal of a tenant is critical due to illegal activities or severe safety concerns, contact local law enforcement and legal counsel to understand your options within the confines of Texas eviction laws.
When Does a Month-to-Month Lease Expire?
According to Chapter 91 of the Texas Property Code Sec. 91.001, the landlord or the tenant can end a month-to-month rental agreement by giving notice to the other party. If the rent is paid monthly, the notification must be at least one month in advance. The rental will end either on the day mentioned in the notice or one month after the notice is given, whichever comes later.
If the rent is paid in periods shorter than a month, then the rental will end either on the day mentioned in the notice or at the end of a full rent-paying period after the notice is given, whichever comes later.
If the rental ends on a day that doesn’t match when rent is usually paid, the tenant only has to pay rent up to the day they leave.
There are exceptions to these rules. For example, if the landlord and tenant agree in writing to different notice periods or decide that no notice is needed, then these rules won’t apply. The same goes if there’s a legal breach of contract.
What Activities Can Allow a Landlord to Begin the Eviction Process?
Eviction proceedings in Texas require meticulous attention to legal details. Based on Texas Property Code Chapter 91, various scenarios allow landlords and property managers to seek eviction.
Below, we delve into circumstances where breaking a rental agreement might lead you to pursue eviction.
Perhaps the most straightforward grounds for eviction is the failure to pay rent when due. According to Section 91.401, if a tenant does not pay rent on time, this constitutes a breach of the lease agreement, thereby opening the door for eviction proceedings.
Section 91.003 clarifies that illegal activities conducted on the property are grounds for eviction. Suppose a tenant is found to engage in activities that are against the law, such as drug trafficking or violent crimes. In that case, landlords have the legal right to begin eviction proceedings immediately.
According to Section 91.003, you can also evict a tenant if they (or someone living with them) use the property for illegal activities that lead to a conviction for public indecency. This is based on Chapter 43 of the Penal Code. You can end the lease if the convicted person has no more options to appeal the conviction or has decided not to.
To end the lease, you must give a written notice to the tenant within six months after they become aware of the conviction. The tenant has to leave the property 10 days after getting this notice. This rule applies even if the lease says something different about ending the rental agreement for this reason.
Endangering Property or Persons
Engaging in activities that endanger the property or other tenants is also grounds for eviction. This could include intentionally damaging property or committing acts of violence against other tenants or guests.
Violating Lease Terms
If your lease has specific conditions, such as no pets or smoking inside the property, violating these terms can be grounds for eviction. However, ensure these terms are clearly outlined in the lease agreement and that the tenant has acknowledged them.
Abandonment of Property
According to Texas law, abandoning the property can result in eviction. However, abandonment is generally defined as leaving the property without intent to return, which could vary on a case-by-case basis.
Refusing Access to Property
Section 91.005a highlights that tenants must provide reasonable access to the landlord for repairs and inspections. If a tenant consistently refuses to allow entry for these purposes, they may be subject to eviction.
Holding Over After Lease Termination or Expiration
Landlords have the right to seek eviction if a tenant stays in the property after the lease has expired without a new agreement. However, this is subject to the conditions set in the original lease and any communications between the landlord and the tenant regarding staying over.
Understanding the specific circumstances under which immediate eviction is possible is vital for anyone in the property management business in Texas. Working with a real estate attorney specializing in eviction law can ensure you act within the law’s bounds.
What If My Tenant Pays Partial Rent or Does Not Pay Their Rent?
Managing a rental property comes with its fair share of challenges, and dealing with rent issues ranks high. What actions can you take if a tenant pays only partial rent or fails to pay rent altogether? Let’s consult Texas Property Code Chapter 91 to clarify your rights and responsibilities as a landlord or property manager in Texas.
According to Chapter 91 of the Texas Property Code, immediate eviction for nonpayment of rent is not permitted. The law mandates landlords go through a specific legal process, starting with a proper “notice to vacate” to the tenant.
Under Section 91.001, the notice to vacate must be at least three days in advance unless otherwise stated in the lease agreement.
In other words, you have to give tenants a minimum of three days to either pay the rent or vacate the property before you can initiate a formal eviction proceeding. Eviction for nonpayment of rent cannot occur in a single day. Instead, it’s a process that requires at least a few days to commence.
Therefore, while failure to pay rent breaches the lease agreement under Section 91.401, the eviction process takes more time and must adhere to the rules and guidelines laid out in the Texas Property Code. Always consult legal advice to ensure you follow all necessary procedures and guidelines correctly.
Nonpayment of Rent in Lease Agreements
Section 91.401 of the Texas Property Code states that a tenant’s failure to pay rent when due breaches the lease agreement. In such cases, a property owner has the legal right to initiate eviction proceedings. The specific steps for eviction must follow due process, which usually starts with delivering a written notice to vacate to the tenant.
Accepting Partial Rent
Texas law is particularly nuanced when it comes to accepting partial rent payments. According to Section 91.402, if you accept a partial payment of rent, you may waive your right to proceed with an eviction lawsuit for nonpayment for that rental period.
However, you may generally continue with eviction if you provide a written reminder to the tenant that you will continue with the eviction unless they pay the remaining balance by a certain date.
Fees for Late Payment
You may charge a fee for late payment of rent if the lease agreement outlines such a condition. However, any such fees should be reasonable, and they must comply with the terms of the lease agreement.
Remedies for Landlords
Under Section 91.006, if a tenant breaches the lease agreement, you have the right to either:
1. Terminate the lease and start the eviction process against the tenant
2. Sue for damages while keeping the lease in effect.
When evicting tenants or other legal action, it’s critical to consult with experienced legal counsel and follow all appropriate steps. Following the requirements of Texas law ensures that you stay in full compliance and avoid other legal issues.
Your attorney can help you navigate the complexities of rent collection and eviction procedures. Each case is unique, and seeking legal advice tailored to your circumstances makes sense.
Rental Property Eviction Process in Texas
In Texas, the eviction process is a structured legal procedure designed to protect both landlords and tenants.
Governed by Chapter 91 of the Texas Property Code, it’s essential for property managers and landlords to understand and strictly adhere to these guidelines when faced with the unfortunate circumstance of evicting a tenant.
Below is an overview of the rental property eviction process in the Lone Star State, complete with statutory citations for your reference.
Eviction Notice to Vacate
The first step in eviction is providing the tenant with a written “notice to vacate,” as per Section 91.001 of the Texas Property Code.
You must issue the notice at least three days before eviction unless your lease agreement specifies a different timeframe. The notice must specify why you are asking the tenant to leave. You must also offer any remedial actions they can take to avoid eviction, such as paying overdue rent.
Filing an Eviction Suit
If the tenant does not comply with the notice to vacate, you may file an eviction suit in the Justice Court, as specified under Section 24 of the Texas Property Code. The tenant receives a citation, and a court date will, generally within 10 to 21 days.
At the court hearing, both parties can present their cases. If the judgment is in your favor as the landlord, you receive a Writ of Possession. This is a court order authorizing the removal of the tenant and their possessions from the rental property.
Execution of Writ of Possession
According to Section 24.0061, after the court issues a Writ of Possession, you must wait at least five days before asking law enforcement to execute the Writ.
This gives the tenant time to vacate the property voluntarily. If the tenant doesn’t vacate, the Writ authorizes law enforcement officers to remove the tenant and their belongings.
Return of Security Deposit
Once the eviction process is complete, you must return the security deposit within 30 days, as outlined in Section 92.103. However, you may deduct any damages or unpaid rent from this amount, provided that you itemize these deductions and inform the tenant in writing.
In summary, eviction in Texas is a procedure that mandates following specific steps laid out in Chapter 91 of the Texas Property Code. It’s not a process that can be executed overnight. It requires careful planning and adherence to legal guidelines. Always consult legal counsel to ensure you comply with Texas law.
We Can Help
At Jarrett Law, our experienced eviction attorneys understand the intricacies of Texas property law. We know that eviction can be a complicated and stressful process for landlords and property managers.
We’re here to guide you every step of the way, ensuring that you’re in full compliance with Texas law. From providing legal advice tailored to your specific situation to representing you in court, we aim to make the eviction process as smooth and worry-free as possible. Don’t navigate these complex waters alone—reach out to us today for the expert guidance you need.