Texas eviction notices are documents delivered to tenants that explain that they have violated their lease and that they must quit the premises or remedy the breach before the notice period is up. In Texas, a landlord is not legally required to allow the tenant to stay on the premises even if they have paid back rent or cured a violation. For month-to-month at-will tenancies, a landlord or tenant can terminate the written or oral agreement by providing the other party with one (1) month’s notice. It should be noted that alternative notice periods are permitted if signed off on in the lease document, and that these shorter or longer timeframes will hold up in a court of law over those stated in Texas Property Code.
3-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment – A notice to quit which provides a tenant with three (3) days to pay rent and/or quit the property.
3-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance – A notice that defines the violation that has occurred and communicates that the tenant has three (3) days to remedy the breach and/or quit the premises.
1-Month Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Lease – A notice which terminates a monthly at-will tenancy one (1) month following its delivery to the receiving party.
- Grace Period (§ 92.019(a)(3)): Two (2) Days
- Non-Payment of Rent (§ 24.005(a)): Three (3) Days
- Lease Non-Compliance (§ 24.005(a)): Three (3) Days
- Periodic Tenancy Termination (§ 91.001(a) & (b)(2)): One (1) Month
- Illegal Activity: Not mentioned in state statutes.
Texas landlords must adhere to the eviction process in order to rid the property of undesirable tenants. This process starts with the delivery of a notice to quit. The landlord must then file an eviction suit following the tenant’s refusal to vacate. The tenant will have the ability to defend their position in the justice court which has jurisdiction over the property, and both parties must comply with the court’s judgment. It is recommended that the parties attempt to negotiate outside of the eviction process to find a mutually beneficial arrangement, thus eliminating needless court costs and wasted time.
Step 1 – Notice to Quit
The first step a landlord must take is to deliver to the tenant the notice to quit. In Texas, a violation of the lease or the non-payment of rent requires a three (3) day notice to quit. Should the landlord or tenant wish to terminate a month-to-month tenancy, they will need to serve the thirty (30) day notice. If the lease document indicates a shorter or longer notice period, a notice indicating that timeframe must be used. To serve a notice, a landlord can deliver it in-person to the tenant or to any individual on the premises sixteen (16) years old or older. Alternatively, the landlord can affix it to the inside of the main entry door, or mail it by certified mail to the address of the rental property.
- 3-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment
- 3-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance
- 1-Month Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Lease
Step 2 – Filing Eviction Suit
If the tenant does not vacate or fix the breach (if possible), the landlord will be able to file a Petition for Eviction (often called complaint) and pay the filing fee (varies by county) in the precinct in which the property is located. A constable will then serve the Eviction Citation on the tenant in the same manner in which the landlord served the notice to quit. After two (2) unsuccessful attempts, the constable may affix it to a conspicuous part of the property and mail the tenant a copy. The citation will usually provide the tenant with the court date unless an answer is required (see below).
Step 3 – Tenant’s Answer
In some counties, a tenant is able to give a written Answer in response to the petition for eviction which states their case to the Justice of the Peace court. This answer can also be provided orally over the phone or in person. Regardless, it is after the Answer is filed in these cases that the court date will be delivered. In other counties, the eviction citation will provide the court date and an answer is not necessary.
Step 4 – Court Hearing
At the court hearing, the landlord must come prepared with all evidence to support their case. If the defendant (tenant) does not show up at the hearing, the landlord will almost always receive a Default Judgment and the defendant will have five (5) days to vacate the premises. The case will usually only last a few minutes before the judge comes to a verdict.
Step 5 – Verdict
If the judgment is in favor of the tenant, they are not required to vacate the premises. A judgment in favor of the landlord will provide the tenant with five (5) days to appeal the case or move out. The appeal process can last a few months, and a second hearing will be held at the County Court as opposed to the Justice of the Peace court.
Step 6 – Writ of Possession
If the tenant hasn’t vacated the property within the five (5) day window, and they haven’t appealed, the landlord can file a Request for a Writ of Possession (Sample – Dallas County) with the court. If granted, the court will order the constable to physically remove the tenant from the premises. The constable will be required to post a twenty-four (24) hour warning on the premises before removing the tenant.
- Petition for Eviction – Texas Justice Court Training Center (.docx) – Harris County (Sample PDF)
- Signing: Landlord, Notary or Justice Court Clerk
- Citation – Eviction
- Signing: Justice of the Peace
- Answer form – Texas Justice Court Training Center (.docx) – Travis County (Sample PDF) – Texas Tenant Advisor (PDF)
- Signing: Tenant/Defendant
- Default Judgment – Eviction suit (.docx)
- Signing: Justice of the Peace
- Writ of Possession (.docx)
- Signing: Justice of the Peace, Constable/Officer