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Forcible Entry and Detainer in Texas

As a landlord, you will from time to time, encounter a tenant who refuses to vacate a premises. While a landlord has a right to evict a tenant in such a situation, it is important to ensure that proper procedure as required by the Texas Property Code is followed.

Requirements include that there is a landlord-tenant relationship and either the tenant has violated a term of the lease agreement or they lack authority to be on the premises. There is a requirement of at least three days written notice. This is important. Property owners should make a habit of handling any interaction with their tenants in a written manner to ensure compliance with the Property Code and to provide a complete record of those interactions.

While you are entitled to file an action to recover delinquent rent in addition to the eviction proceeding, you need to make a decision based on the likelihood of recovery. Because tenants are granted exemptions from property that may be attached, you may find it more cost-effective to negotiate with the tenant if you are hoping to recover some of the rental value at issue.

The three-day notice period is the default and if it has been changed by the terms of the lease, that period then controls. You may be able to recover attorney's fees in addition to the eviction and the delinquent rent, but it too, has a specific written notice requirement. 

It is important to recognize the technical nature of property law, and that strict adherence to these requirements is important. Failure to follow that procedure may compromise your case.

It can help to work with a real estate attorney when drawing up residential and commercial leases and to rely on an attorney when needing to remove tenants from your property, as they can work to ensure the process is done properly.

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