A Texas eviction notice is a document used to notify the tenant that they’ve violated the lease in some way. The tenant is told that they must either comply with the notice or vacate the property. The eviction notice, better known as a notice to quit, must be served on the tenant in a way that is legal. The tenant must refuse to comply with the notice by the end of the notice period before the landlord can file a lawsuit against them. All Texas eviction notices must comply with state and federal housing law.
Texas eviction notices are the first thing that a landlord must do to regain possession of the rental property. The notice has to explain why it was issued and how long the tenant has to correct the problem or vacate the property. It must be legally served on the tenant. Finally, the tenant must refuse to comply before the landlord can file a lawsuit. To properly draft a Texas eviction notice, you should include:
It’s also helpful to create a Certificate of Service to document the service process. This document is completed when service is made. It lists the date that service occurred, the name of the person who was served, how service took place, and includes the signature of the person who served the eviction notice.
In Texas, serving an eviction notice must be done by serving the tenant in person, attaching the notice to the front door, or using certified mail with return receipt requested.
3-Day Notice to Cure or Quit
A 3-day notice to cure or quit is used when the tenant violates the lease in some way other than not paying their rent. It gives the tenant three days to correct the lease violation or leave the property. This 3-day notice should explain how the tenant violated the lease. This notice is governed by § 24.005.
3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit
A 3-day notice to pay or quit is used when the tenant doesn’t pay their rent on time. According to § 24.005, the tenant has three days to pay the past due rent or vacate the property. This notice should list the full amount of rent that is past due, the acceptable payment methods, where the payment may be made, and the date by which the payment must be made.
30-Day Notice to Terminate a Month-to-Month Tenancy
A 30-day notice to terminate a month-to-month tenancy isn’t a traditional eviction notice. It is used to terminate a month-to-month lease agreement between the landlord and the tenant. The tenant doesn’t have to violate the lease. In fact, if the tenant wants to end the tenancy, they can also use this form. This notice gives the recipient 30 days to vacate the property. It is governed by § 91.001.
All eviction notices must comply with Texas landlord-tenant law. They must be legally served. The tenant must refuse to comply with the notice before the landlord can file a lawsuit. Until the landlord has received a court order from a judge, they may not remove the tenant’s belongings, change the locks or otherwise lock out the tenant, or turn off the utilities. Without a court order, those actions are illegal.
It is also illegal to evict a tenant because of their religious beliefs, family status, disability, country of origin, skin color, gender, or race. Doing so violates federal law (The Fair Housing Act). Landlords could be subjected to large federal and state fines and may also be ordered by the court to pay the tenant should they sue.
Landlords may not engage in retaliatory eviction. Retaliatory eviction takes place when the landlord tries to evict the tenant for reporting code violations or uninhabitable conditions that exist on the property. Landlords have a legal obligation to keep the property habitable and safe.
Texas tenants have rights. The Attorney General’s website has a web page devoted to explaining your rights in a way that is easy to understand. You cannot be evicted because you reported the property or the landlord for uninhabitable conditions. You cannot be evicted because of your race, skin color, country of origin, religious beliefs, family status, disability, or gender. Without a court order, the landlord may not get rid of your possessions, lock you out in any way, or shut off the utilities to the property. All of those sorts of actions are considered illegal eviction methods.
If you’re victimized by an illegal eviction, schedule a consultation with a landlord-tenant attorney. They can determine whether you have a legal claim against the landlord for what happened. You could also consider contacting a law school near you and asking if they have a legal clinic. You could also contact a legal aid office.
As a Texas landlord, you have obligations under both state and federal law. It’s imperative that your eviction notice has the proper information in it for your records and to educate the tenant on what’s happening. You must also ensure that you legally serve the tenant with the notice. You can only file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant once the tenant refuses to comply with the notice by the end of the stated notice period.
Until you get a court order, you may not replace the locks, shut off the utilities, or remove the tenant’s property from the unit. Doing so without a court order is illegal. It is also illegal for you to try to evict a tenant because they report you or the property for code violations or uninhabitable conditions on the property. The tenant has a legal right to habitable living conditions that are safe. An attempted eviction for reporting poor housing conditions is known as a retaliatory eviction. Landlords may not evict someone because of their gender, nationality, skin color, race, religion, family status, or disability. That is a violation of federal law. If you’re involved in an illegal eviction, you could be sued by the tenant. If the tenant wins, you may be ordered to pay financial compensation to the tenant. You may also be ordered to pay fines for violating state and federal law. To learn more about your rights and obligation as a landlord, make an appointment to talk with a landlord-tenant attorney in the county where your rental property is located.