Evictions can be quite complex. While there are various provisions of landlord-tenant law that specify what must be done for each case, they are seldom easy to comprehend. The eviction process, and any legal action you will take, must comply with all relevant statutes on landlord and tenant rights.
Basics of Tenant Eviction
A property owner might need to have someone evicted from his or her personal property. Evicting a tenant may be for a variety of reasons. Landlords would commonly evict a tenant who refuses or is unable to pay rent. There could be other factors. Evicting tenants who violated certain parts of the rental or lease agreement, for instance, is also not uncommon.
Remember that landlord-tenant laws may vary from state to state. In Texas, for example, a landlord may evict a tenant for committing violations of the lease or rental agreement, refusing to vacate the premises of the rental unit (even after a Notice of Termination), or resorting to unlawful stay.
What to Expect When Giving a Notice to Vacate
A landlord who decides to evict a tenant may terminate the tenancy for the reasons above. This is generally regardless if a fixed or month-to-month term is involved. However, when terminating the tenancy and deciding to evict tenants, for non-payment of rent or certain violations, one must abide by the landlord-tenant act. A three-day Notice to Vacate must be served to the renters involved. In fortunate cases, tenants do vacate the property in three days, as this is enough time to move out. Here, you do not have to go to court and both landlords and tenants are spared from the hassle and related court costs.
As mentioned above, after discovering that a certain tenant or renter is unable to make rent payments or has been violating parts of the rental or lease agreement, landlords should give the Notice to Vacate to the other party. Note that this must be a notice in writing and that such notice is served in ways specified in pertinent landlord and tenant law. In certain circumstances, the three-day notice is not enough for the tenants to be evicted to vacate the property. If they have no objection and are only asking for an extra period for moving out of the rental property, parties may agree on such an extension.
Tenants who refuse to move out could try to counter the eviction action initiated by the landlord. Here, the property owner must file an eviction lawsuit in the relevant courthouse. When the case is brought to court, a tenant with unpaid rent, for instance, will likely look for a ‘legal justification’ for his or her failure to settle rental payments. Tenants may point out that a Notice to Vacate was served even if it was agreed that late payment of rent will be accepted. Keep in mind that if such a clause is included in the contract, the tenant must first be notified in writing that rental payments are owed. Only if the unpaid rent is not settled in three days can you proceed with an eviction lawsuit.
Some tenants go as far as arguing in the eviction case court hearing that the rental unit was legally uninhabitable. In Texas, both landlords and tenants have specific rights and responsibilities. Landlords, for one, are expected to ensure that the property a tenant is renting out is inhabitable. While sewage problems or complications with heating and ventilation may indeed affect the health and safety of renters, some try to argue in court that certain problems make the place legally uninhabitable. Here, documentation of notices from the tenant and details of actual repairs, for example, can help disprove their claims.
Legal Help for Landlords
Since eviction proceedings are governed by a specific legal process, they must be taken seriously. Seeking expert legal advice is key if you want to know how to evict properly. Every step that you take must be under relevant eviction laws. The last thing you would want is to get in trouble for disregarding state law, on top of your problems with your tenants. This is why legal services from an expert are necessary.
Dealing with tenants violating rental or lease agreements, or who do not pay the rent due, is not easy. Seek legal help from someone who can help you every step of the way: drafting a termination notice, serving an eviction notice, and preparing the paperwork necessary to win your court case. Give us a call at 817 659-2033 and inquire how an eviction case goes. Talk to us at Girling Law, PLLC for reliable legal assistance.