Texas Eviction Laws

A residential landlord must adhere to Texas state law when evicting a tenant.The Texas eviction process provides for a standard eviction procedure or an expedited one at the option of the landlord.

Tenant Self-Eviction Law

Denying a tenant access to the property is considered self eviction and not allowed in most states. However, in Texas law permits a landlord to change the locks for nonpayment of rent if it is written in the lease and the landlord has given the tenant at least 3-days written notice and such notice is personally delivered or 5-days if mailed.

This notice must advise the tenant of the date the locks will be changed, the amount of rent due and the location where the rent may be paid or a meeting will be held. It must also clearly state that the tenant will receive a new key after a meeting with the landlord regardless of whether the past due rent is owed, though the landlord may continue eviction proceedings.

Landlord's lien

If the written lease states in bold or underlined words that a landlord can remove a tenant's property to secure payment of rent owed, the landlord is allowed to do this. The landlord may only take non-exempt items such as electronics and computers and must leave a notice of entry and a written inventory of the items seized. The tenant, however, can refuse entry to the property and the landlord must comply. If the tenant pays the rent owed, the landlord must return the taken items but can charge the tenant for costs incurred.

Demand for Possession

A Texas eviction notice (Demand for Possession) must be in writing and can be 24 hours if it is specified in the lease and 3 days if it is not specified in the lease. The 3-days is for any violation of the lease.

The Texas eviction notice must specify the number of days the tenant has to either pay the rent, rectify the violation of the lease or vacate. Texas is the only state where the landlord does not have to specify the reason for eviction in the notice to vacate.

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