|Texas Eviction Process - Overview|
Texas Eviction Process
In Texas, the action of forcible entry and detainer is governed by statutes and by rules of civil procedure.
TEXAS PROPERTY CODE CHAPTER 24. FORCIBLE ENTRY AND DETAINER
(a) A person who refuses to surrender possession of real property on demand commits a forcible detainer if the person:
(1) is a tenant or a subtenant wilfully and without force holding over after the termination of the tenant's right of possession;
(2) is a tenant at will or by sufferance, including an occupant at the time of foreclosure of a lien superior to the tenant's lease; or
(3) is a tenant of a person who acquired possession by forcible entry.
(b) The demand for possession must be made in writing by a person entitled to possession of the property and must comply with the requirements for notice to vacate under Section 24.005.
Texas Property Code § 24.002 (2010)
§ 24.003. Substitution of Parties
If a tenancy for a term expires while the tenant's suit for forcible entry is pending, the landlord may prosecute the suit in the tenant's name for the landlord's benefit and at the landlord's expense. It is immaterial whether the tenant received possession from the landlord or became a tenant after obtaining possession of the property.
§ 24.004. Jurisdiction
A justice court in the precinct in which the real property is located has jurisdiction in eviction suits. Eviction suits include forcible entry and detainer and forcible detainer suits.
Texas Property Code § 24.004 (2010)
§ 24.005. Notice to Vacate Prior to Filing Eviction Suit
(b) If the occupant is a tenant at will or by sufferance, the landlord must give the tenant at least three days' written notice to vacate before the landlord files a forcible detainer suit unless the parties have contracted for a shorter or longer notice period in a written lease or agreement. If a building is purchased at a tax foreclosure sale or a trustee's foreclosure sale under a lien superior to the tenant's lease and the tenant timely pays rent and is not otherwise in default under the tenant's lease after foreclosure, the purchaser must give a residential tenant of the building at least 30 days' written notice to vacate if the purchaser chooses not to continue the lease. The tenant is considered to timely pay the rent under this subsection if, during the month of the foreclosure sale, the tenant pays the rent for that month to the landlord before receiving any notice that a foreclosure sale is scheduled during the month or pays the rent for that month to the foreclosing lienholder or the purchaser at foreclosure not later than the fifth day after the date of receipt of a written notice of the name and address of the purchaser that requests payment. Before a foreclosure sale, a foreclosing lienholder may give written notice to a tenant stating that a foreclosure notice has been given to the landlord or owner of the property and specifying the date of the foreclosure.
(c) If the occupant is a tenant of a person who acquired possession by forcible entry, the landlord must give the person at least three days' written notice to vacate before the landlord files a forcible detainer suit.
(d) In all situations in which the entry by the occupant was a forcible entry under Section 24.001, the person entitled to possession must give the occupant oral or written notice to vacate before the landlord files a forcible entry and detainer suit. The notice to vacate under this subsection may be to vacate immediately or by a specified deadline.
(e) If the lease or applicable law requires the landlord to give a tenant an opportunity to respond to a notice of proposed eviction, a notice to vacate may not be given until the period provided for the tenant to respond to the eviction notice has expired.
(f) The notice to vacate shall be given in person or by mail at the premises in question. Notice in person may be by personal delivery to the tenant or any person residing at the premises who is 16 years of age or older or personal delivery to the premises and affixing the notice to the inside of the main entry door. Notice by mail may be by regular mail, by registered mail, or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the premises in question. If the dwelling has no mailbox and has a keyless bolting device, alarm system, or dangerous animal that prevents the landlord from entering the premises to leave the notice to vacate on the inside of the main entry door, the landlord may securely affix the notice on the outside of the main entry door.
(g) The notice period is calculated from the day on which the notice is delivered.
(h) A notice to vacate shall be considered a demand for possession for purposes of Subsection (b) of Section 24.002.
(i) If before the notice to vacate is given as required by this section the landlord has given a written notice or reminder to the tenant that rent is due and unpaid, the landlord may include in the notice to vacate required by this section a demand that the tenant pay the delinquent rent or vacate the premises by the date and time stated in the notice.
§ 24.0051. Procedures Applicable in Suit to Evict and Recover Unpaid Rent
(b) A landlord may recover unpaid rent under this section regardless of whether the tenant vacated the premises after the date the landlord filed the sworn statement and before the date the court renders judgment.
(c) In a suit to recover possession of the premises, whether or not unpaid rent is claimed, the citation required by Rule 739, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, must include the following notice to the defendant:
FAILURE TO APPEAR FOR TRIAL MAY RESULT IN A DEFAULT JUDGMENT BEING ENTERED AGAINST YOU.
(d) In a suit described by Subsection (c), the citation required by Rule 739, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, must include the following notice to the defendant on the first page of the citation in English and Spanish and in conspicuous bold print:
SUIT TO EVICT
THIS SUIT TO EVICT INVOLVES IMMEDIATE DEADLINES. CALL THE STATE BAR OF TEXAS TOLL-FREE AT 1-877-9TEXBAR IF YOU NEED HELP LOCATING AN ATTORNEY. IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY, YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR FREE OR LOW-COST LEGAL ASSISTANCE.
HISTORY: Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1464, effective September 1, 1999; Acts 2005, 79th Leg., ch. 712 (S.B. 439), § 1, effective September 1, 2005; am. Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 812 (S.B. 1483), § 1, effective September 1, 2007.