New regulations have changed the way landlords handle evictions in the state of Texas. Changes to the Texas Property Code went into effect on January 1, 2016, that alter the ways in which property managers and landlords can deliver notice of eviction to their tenants. Consulting with an experienced Sugar Land real estate law firm can provide added support for property managers in dealing with tenant issues and disputes more effectively. Here are some facts every landlord should know about eviction in Texas.
Changes to the Eviction Notice Law
Texas law allows landlords to notify tenants of eviction proceedings in three primary ways:
- By personally delivering a notice to the tenant or to a resident of the property who is over the age of 16
- By attaching a notice to the inside of the main entry door of the residential or commercial property
- By sending the notice to the tenant by regular, registered or certified mail and requesting return receipt service
The regulations allow for alternative methods of giving notice in some specific cases:
- If the residence or office has no mailbox and it is deemed dangerous to deliver the notice personally due to aggressive animals, hazardous conditions or other risks
- If an alarm system or other security device prevents entry into the residence or office space
In these cases, tenants may be notified to vacate the premises with a notice attached outside the front door. According to the new regulations, landlords can no longer simply affix the notice to the outside of the main entry door:
- The notice must be sealed in an envelope that bears the tenant’s name, address and the words IMPORTANT NOTICE in all capital letters.
- The same notice must be mailed from within the same county by 5 p.m. on the date of the delivery.
The new rules also clarify that the notice to vacate is considered to be delivered to the tenant on the date it was affixed to the front door and placed in the mail. This applies even if the tenant does not actually receive it for some time after that date.
Legal Reasons to Evict a Tenant
Texas law requires that landlords present valid grounds for evicting a tenant. Some of the most common reasons for eviction include the following:
- Failing to pay rent on time or at all
- Using the rental property for illegal purposes
- Causing damage to the property
- Violating the signed lease agreement by keeping pets or allowing people not listed on the lease to live in the rental property
Additionally, if the lease agreement has concluded and tenants are renting month-to-month, the landlord or the tenant can terminate the arrangement at any time. If the tenant refuses to leave, however, eviction proceedings may be necessary to free up the rental property for other uses.
The Eviction Process
Landlords can serve tenants with an eviction notice just one day after rent payment has not been made. The tenant generally has three days to pay the rent before eviction proceedings can be continued. If full payment is not made within this time, landlords can pursue legal methods to remove the tenants from the property and to collect unpaid rent. Retaining the services of experienced Sugar Land civil litigation lawyers to oversee this process can help property managers avoid errors that could limit their ability to collect payments and to evict tenants from their rental properties.
The Sugar Land commercial litigation experts at Lambert & Jakob can provide solid support for landlords and property owners in navigating the eviction process. Our attorneys have the experience and the expertise needed to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today at 713-640-5700 to discuss your case with our real estate law professionals. We look forward to the opportunity to serve your legal needs.