When it comes to evicting a tenant in Texas, you need to follow a series of legal steps. Those steps include preparing for the eviction, serving a notice to vacate. filing an eviction suit, attending the court hearing, and following up after the eviction hearing. A Richland Hills TX eviction lawyer can help ensure that you follow procedures correctly and protect your landlord rights. To learn more about how to evict a tenant in Texas, call Girling Law today.
1. Determine Valid Reasons for Eviction
The first step in an eviction is to take steps to be prepared. That may first include determining the reasons you will evict the tenant. You must have grounds, or valid reasons, to dispossess a tenant of your property. Common grounds for eviction include:
- The tenant’s failure to pay rent;
- Damage to your property;
- Refusal to leave at the end of the lease;
- Using the property for illegal activities;
- Violating the landlord’s policies;
- Allowing non-tenants to live at the property; and
- Providing false or inaccurate information on a lease application.
2. Try to Resolve the Issue With the Tenant
If you have met all of your responsibilities as a landlord per the Texas Property Code, then you may be able to evict your tenant. However, you should always try to resolve issues with tenants prior to evicting. This may even require you to lock out the tenant to induce payment of rent.
3. Deliver a Notice to Vacate
If you have done everything you can, you should prepare a notice to vacate and give it to your tenants. You must give your tenants at least three days after they receive the notice before filing an eviction. Eviction can be a time consuming and expensive process, so when considering how to evict a tenant in Texas, you should make sure you are fully prepared.
4. File an Eviction Lawsuit
The next step in the eviction process is filing a civil lawsuit to evict. This requires you to obtain the proper form, which may include a Petition for Eviction, Military Affidavit, and Civil Case Information Sheet. Although you should be able to obtain these forms from the clerk of court’s office, it’s best to work with an eviction lawyer.
When completing court documents, you must provide complete information about your tenants and the location in question. You must provide the following information:
- Names of all tenants
- Property address
- Date the property was rented
- Whether it’s an oral or written lease
- Amount of rent due monthly
- Reason (or grounds) for eviction
- Date Notice to Vacate was given
- How the Notice to Vacate was delivered
Along with proper documents and necessary information, you will have to submit a filing fee. The filing fee varies by county. It should be paid to the court clerk when you file your eviction lawsuit.
5. Attend the Eviction Hearing
When determining how to evict a tenant in Texas, you should know that you’ll probably have to go to court. After you file an eviction lawsuit, your case will be scheduled for a hearing in court. How long you have to wait will depend on the schedule of the court. However, it will likely be within 30 days.
You should have witnesses and other evidence to present at the hearing. Someone who has knowledge of the lease or notice to vacate can be helpful if the tenant claims they did not know about the eviction. If there was damage to the property or a non-tenant was living at the premises, you should have evidence of that as well. Review any testimony prior to the hearing to make sure all facts are accurate and support your case.
If your witnesses are unavailable on the date of the hearing or there is any other reason your hearing should be postponed, you can ask for an adjournment. In this case, the court will postpone the hearing for a few days, if necessary.
In order to prepare for your hearing, you might try to observe other landlord-tenant or eviction cases before your date of hearing. You can call the court clerk and ask when other eviction cases might be heard in court, and attend those. Most civil court cases are public and can be observed at any time.
You should arrive at your own eviction hearing early, as the court may finish up with other cases and want to proceed with your case early. You can find out which courtroom your case will be heard in by looking at the docket or asking the court clerk.
6. Follow Up After the Eviction Hearing
After your eviction hearing, you should consider appealing if the judge didn’t rule in your favor. This can be difficult and should be done with the help of a Texas landlord eviction attorney.
If the judge ruled in your favor, then you should request a writ of possession, which will allow you to take possession of your property. This will authorize a constable or sheriff to evict the tenant. Get the name of that officer so you can call to make sure the tenant is removed.
If the court also gave you monetary damages, then you may seek a writ of execution to obtain property from the tenant. You may also have to follow up garnish wages.
Contact a Richland Hills TX Eviction Lawyer for Help
If you are seeking help with how to evict a tenant in Texas, an eviction lawyer can help. Call Girling Law for more information about your case.