Evictions in Texas are governed by The Texas Property Code Chapter 24, and Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 510. In order to evict a tenant, the landlord and their attorney must follow strict guidelines as set forth in this code. Failing to follow the limitations on certain time periods and the requirements for content of each of the required documents, may result in delay of evicting your tenant, or possibly even starting the whole process over.
First, you will need to serve a “Notice to Vacate” on the tenant. Generally, this Notice to Vacate must give the tenant 3 days’ notice to vacate the premises before the landlord is allowed to file an eviction suit. An important note on Notices to Vacate, if the landlord wants to receive attorney’s fees as part of the damages awarded to them by the court if they are successful in suing the tenant, the notice to vacate must contain the phrase “if the tenant does not vacate the premises before the 11th day after the date of receipt of the notice and if the landlord files suit, the landlord may recover attorney’s fees.” This demand must be sent by registered mail or be certified mail at least 10 days before the date the suit is filed.
An eviction lawsuit is then filed with the local justice of the peace. Justice Courts, not County Courts, have original jurisdiction over Forcible Entry and Detainer lawsuits. When the eviction suit is filed, the landlord must include the phrase: “FAILURE TO APPEAR FOR TRIAL MAY RESULT IN A DEFAULT JUDGMENT BEING ENTERED AGAINST YOU” if they are seeking possession of the premises is part of or the only relief the landlord is seeking from the Court. The Court will then set a trial date.
Eviction trials are to be treated just as any other trial and will allow the landlord to prove their right to possession of the premises. If the landlord is successful, the judge will issue a judgement for possession and all damages proven by the landlord at trial, as well as a Writ. This Writ of Possession is an Order from the Court that the landlord may give to the local sheriff in order to have the tenant forcefully evicted if necessary.
This overview of the eviction process in Texas is not complete by any means—There are many more details, rules, and requirements that must be followed by any landlord looking to evict a client. However, this should outline the major steps necessary when filing an eviction lawsuit. If you are a landlord looking to evict your tenant, San Antonio Eviction Lawyer Nathaniel Gilbert can help make the process as painless as possible, with flat fee packages for uncontested evictions starting at $1,000.00. Click here to learn more about how The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert serves Texas Landlords, or to schedule a free consultation.