No one wants to receive that dreaded eviction notice. But if you are facing eviction, it’s important to understand both your rights and the legal implications. Eviction laws may seem complicated, but with a little explanation, you’ll be ready to take the next step with confidence.
What You Need To Know About Eviction Laws In Texas
Valid Reasons For Eviction
Your landlord has legal cause to evict in the following situations:
- Lease violation
- Failure to pay rent
- Property damage
- Lease expiration
- Illegal activity
The Eviction Process
1. Receive a formal notice to vacate.
At this point, your landlord has not yet filed suit. If you wish to discuss your situation with him or her, now is the time to do it.
2. Constable delivers eviction papers.
The officer must try first to hand-deliver your papers. If this isn’t possible, the officer will post them in a visible spot outside your home. It’s unwise to try to avoid being served — this could hurt your case if you decide to appeal.
3. Answer the suit in person, in writing, or by phone.
Carefully read your papers for instructions. Whichever method you choose, make sure to confirm your court date within six to 10 days. If you want a trial by jury, plan to appear within five days and pay a small fee. “Bond For Possession” is different — you have to demand a trial within six days or face eviction without a hearing.
4. Attend the hearing.
At the hearing, you may bring any of the following to present your case:
- Copy of the lease
- Letters or documents
After the judge makes a decision, the losing party has five days to appeal.
What You Can Do
Talk to your landlord.
This should be your first step. Eviction is expensive for your landlord, and you may find you can clear things up face-to-face. Ask him or her to delay filing suit until you’ve corrected the problem.
Decide if you have a reasonable defense.
Here are some examples of valid defenses:
- Your landlord changed your locks or turned off your utilities.
- There were errors in the eviction notice.
- Your landlord initially agreed to accept late rent.
- The unit is uninhabitable.
- The eviction is a retaliation.
- You’re experiencing discrimination.
Fight the eviction.
First, know your rights. Eviction laws in Texas change from time to time, and Texas Tenant Advisor can point you in the right direction. Also, check out the Harris County Justice Court — or the proper resource for your county — to find out specific procedures. Each county is different.
You may want to consider hiring a lawyer, especially if your case is complicated or if your landlord already has legal representation. Be sure to seek the counsel of someone who specializes in landlord-tenant law. Certain people may qualify for legal aid.
If you’re facing an eviction and need to move quickly, don’t let it stress you out. Ameritex Movers can take care of your last-minute moving needs. Make sure to read about our full-service moving package — we can handle your entire move from start to finish, including:
For more information or to schedule your move, call us at 713.484.6683.