If you are a Texas landlord, you must legally terminate a tenancy before you start the eviction process. To do this, give the tenant a written notice setting out the cause for the eviction and requiring the tenant to leave the property within the period of time prescribed by state law. If the tenant refuses to move out after the allotted time expires, file an eviction lawsuit.
Texas Eviction Letter Time Frame
Under Texas law, a landlord must take action to end a tenancy before starting an eviction procedure. That requires written notice to the tenant, sometimes called a notice to vacate or a Texas eviction letter. The letter includes the reason the landlord is terminating the tenancy and the time for the tenant to get out.
The process of writing a Texas eviction letter is complicated by the fact that the time frame for terminating a tenancy varies depending on the cause. For example, if the tenant is late paying rent, the landlord must give a three-day notice to vacate. If the tenant has not violated her lease and the landlord simply wants her out, he must give a 30-day notice to vacate. And he can terminate the tenancy in this manner only if it is a month-to-month tenancy and not a set-term lease.
A landlord who is not certain of the time frame for a particular circumstance should consult an attorney. If an eviction letter is not accurate, the tenant will not have to move out and may ask for reimbursement for attorney fees.
Read More: How to Write an Eviction Letter
Texas Eviction Letter Contents
A Texas landlord can draft an eviction letter or use a Texas eviction notice template available on the internet. In either case, the notice must contain certain information, including:
- the names of the tenants
- the rental unit address
- the reason for the notice, if the tenant is evicted for cause
- the date the notice is served
- how the notice is served
- the number of days the tenant has to move out
- the final date and time for the tenant to leave the property
- a statement that the landlord may pursue legal action if the tenant does not move
In Texas, the landlord is not obliged to accept late rent. He can serve a three-day notice the day after the rent is due and need not give the tenant the option to pay rent due instead of moving out. However, if he intends to make this offer to the tenant, it must appear in the notice.
Service of Eviction Letter Texas
The landlord must serve the notice on the tenant in one of four ways. He (or his agent) can hand it to the tenant personally, post the letter on the inside of the front door if he can enter the rental unit legally, or mail a copy to the tenant with return receipt requested. If none of these options is possible, the landlord can post it on the outside of the rental unit door.
Make sure you serve the notice correctly. If you do not, then the tenant can successfully defend an eviction lawsuit on the basis of improper service. This means the judge has no option but to throw eviction the case out. Having the case dismissed does not mean that you cannot evict the evict. However, you will be right back at square one and the only option is to serve another eviction notice, and start the process again right from the start.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.