What You Need To Know About Eviction in Texas

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For evictions in Texas, landlords must provide at least three days’ notice before filing an eviction lawsuit, depending on the cause for eviction. Landlords cannot force a tenant off the premises—only a sheriff or constable can remove a tenant from the property.
No matter where you live or who your landlord is, eviction is one of the scariest situations to face as a tenant. The possibility of having your residence taken from you on a whim is unnerving—and more tenants than ever are facing this situation because of rising living costs. 
Thankfully, there are ways to prepare for and resist eviction if a notice is ever posted on your door. Jerry, the super app designed to save you money on car and renters insurance, has created a guide arming you with what you should know about eviction in Texas. We’ll go over the causes for eviction, what the process looks like, and how you can protect yourself. 
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Texas eviction 101: the three ways you can be evicted 

Regardless of the reason your landlord decides to file for eviction, they must deliver a written notice to you at least three days before they file the lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit with the court is the only legal way to evict a tenant in Texas, and the landlord has to follow a strict set of legal procedures to be successful. 
There are three main reasons you may be evicted in Texas:
  • Failure to pay rent: Your landlord must give you at least three days’ notice before filing an eviction for failure to pay rent. In Texas, your landlord doesn’t have to give you the opportunity to cure this situation, so you may have to leave or face legal consequences. 
  • Illegal activities, agreement breach, or damage to the property: Your landlord must give youat least three days’ notice before filing an eviction if you cause serious damage to your unit or permit illegal activities to take place in the unit. All damages, lease agreement breaches, and illegal activities are considered “incurable,” meaning the landlord does not need to provide tenants with the opportunity to fix the problem. You’ll have to move out or face legal consequences. 
  • Expired lease/end of lease period: Your landlord must provide you with appropriate notice before filing an eviction if your lease has expired. 
  • If your lease has expired, your landlord must give you 3 days’ notice to quit. 
  • If you pay less than month to month, the landlord must provide notice equal to one rental period. If you pay month to month, your landlord must give 30 days’ notice. If you pay more than once a month, your landlord must give you notice equal to one rental period
In all of the above cases, your landlord has a legal right to file an eviction lawsuit against you after the appropriate notice period ends, even if you have the means to fix the root problem. 
If your landlord wins in court, a sheriff or constable will remove you from the premises. Your landlord cannot force you off the premises under any circumstance. 
Key Takeaway Your landlord may file an eviction lawsuit if they give you a written notice that correlates with one of the valid causes above. Texas does not require landlords to give you the chance to remedy the problem before taking the case to court. 
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A timeline of eviction in Texas 

Your landlord has to provide at least three days’ notice depending on the cause for eviction, but the legal process of filing an eviction lawsuit and attending the hearing can take much longer. 
If you’re facing potential eviction in Texas, here’s how long you can expect that process to take:
StepHow long it typically takesWhat to expect
Written notice is posted3-30 daysThe tenant receives a notice to quit the premises or face eviction.
A petition is filed and servedAt least 6 days before the hearingIf the tenant doesn’t leave the premises after the notice period is up, the landlord must file a petition outlining the details of the lawsuit. The petition is served by a sheriff or constable once it’s filed.
Court hearing10-21 days after the petition is filedThe landlord and tenant will bring required documents and any other evidence to present in court. A judgment will be made based on what’s presented. If the tenant fails to show, the court will rule in favor of the landlord.
Writ of Possession6 days after court rulingThe Writ of Possession is the tenant’s final notice to leave. If they still do not leave after 24 hours, a sheriff or constable will remove the tenant from the premises.
Overall, the eviction process can take anywhere from 4-10 weeks, but it could take even longer in certain circumstances. The process can be unpredictable, so it’s important to understand your position and rights. 

How to resist eviction in Texas 

Eviction can be a scary experience, but that doesn’t mean you’re powerless in this situation. Here are a few different ways to resist eviction in Texas: 
  • Ask your landlord for a chance to fix the problem: In Texas, landlords do not have to give their tenants a chance to fix the cause of eviction. That being said, it’s worth talking to your landlord about fixing the problem instead of going through with the eviction. They may be amenable to your situation and potential solution!
  • Document any legal mistakes: Landlords have a responsibility to follow proper legal procedure if they’d like to evict a tenant. If your landlord gave no notice, gave fewer days than you’re entitled to, or even tried to force you off the property by cutting off utilities or changing locks, you could have the lawsuit thrown out. 
  • Keep your landlord accountable for improper property maintenance: If your landlord is evicting you over a maintenance issue you’ve brought to their attention without receiving a response, they could be held liable for the damage instead of you. Your case could be dismissed in this situation. 
  • Watch out for discrimination: Do you feel like your landlord is actually evicting you based on your race, sex, gender, nationality, disability status, or religion? This is housing-based discrimination and it’s illegal in Texas. If appropriate, document every instance of discrimination and present your evidence in court. 
If the court finds that your landlord has made a legal mistake or committed housing-based discrimination, you could sue your landlord for damages. Plus, you’ll get to stay where you live!

How to save money on car and renters insurance 

As the cost of living and housing prices continue to steadily rise, it is becoming easier each day to become a victim of the housing crisis. Many tenants would be more comfortable with extra money to save each month. That’s where Jerry, the auto and renters insurance super app, can help keep more money in your wallet each month
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