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Texas Eviction Notice basics

A Texas Eviction Notice is the first step towards legally evicting a tenant. We provide a 3-Day Notice to Quit for with cause situations and a 30-Day Termination Notice for no cause eviction situations. Both letters let your renters know that you are electing to end the tenancy agreement.

Use the Texas Eviction Notice document if:

  • Your tenant has failed to pay the rent.
  • Your tenant has violated any provision of the lease or rental agreement.
  • The lease or rental agreement has expired and the tenant has remained on the property.
  • You wish to terminate a month-to-month tenancy.

As with all states, in Texas, you need to follow the formal, legal eviction process. If you do not follow the legal process, you may lose your case or even be liable for damages. This document can start the process of ending the tenancy relationship, if the tenants do not comply with this notice, you will need to file with the courts an eviction lawsuit or a forcible detainer suit.

The Rocket Lawyer document builder can make a Texas 3-Day Notice (with cause) to Vacate or a 30-Day Notice to Terminate (no cause or end of lease). If you need a different property management document, see our landlord legal documents.

Other names for this eviction document: Texas Notice to Quit, Texas Eviction Letter

Do I need a Notice to Vacate or a Notice to Terminate?

In Texas, a 3-Day Notice to Vacate is used when you have cause to evict. Cause may be that they have not paid their rent or they have violated the terms of the lease. A 30-Day Notice to Terminate is used in situations without a cause such as a signed lease does not exist, or the lease is going to expire and you do not want to renew it (holdovers). If the tenants do not comply to the terms of the notice, then you need to file with the courts to start the formal process towards an eviction order. Basically, these notices let the renter know that you plan to end the tenancy.

What information do I need to make a Texas 3-Day Notice?

To make a 3-Day Notice to Vacate or a 30-Day Notice to Terminate you simply need to submit a bit of information then the legal document builder will create the notice for you including the required legal language.

The information you need to complete the notice includes:

  • Address of property and landlord or property management company
  • Names of everyone listed on the lease
  • Type of notice to be created: failure to pay, violation of the lease, holdover, or end month-to-month
  • Time to vacate according to lease, at least three days in Texas
  • Amount of rent due, if applicable, also dates covered and late fee
  • Description of the lease violation, if applicable
  • If you want to include an Affidavit of Service (proof of document delivery)
  • Date landlord will sign the notice
  • Exact time and date tenant must leave or pay by

Once you complete the notice, it can be downloaded or printed in PDF or Word format. You can also edit the online file at any time. Make sure to keep a copy for your records with the delivery date included.

How do I deliver the Eviction Notice?

You can deliver the notice in person or by mail. If you deliver in person, you need to leave the notice with someone 16 years of age or older. You can also post the notice to the tenant's main door. If you post the notice to their door it must be in a sealed envelope with the tenant's name, address and in all caps "IMPORTANT DOCUMENT" written clearly across the front of the envelope. Notices must be delivered before 5pm. If you cannot reach the main entrance because of a hostile animal, or other, you can affix the notice to the outer door or gate. We recommend that you take a picture of the notice on the door for your records. Rocket Lawyer also provides the option of completing an Affidavit of Service to document the delivery. To help ensure you win your case, it is best if you do your due diligence to make sure the tenants receive the notice. The notice period starts on the day the notice is delivered.

How to file a forcible detainer suit

Evictions are handled by the Justice of the Peace Court in Texas. Prior to 2013, laws varied greatly due to the judges interpretation of the laws now the 254 counties follow a more standardized process. In Texas, you have to file against each adult in the residence even if they are not named on the lease. If you've already delivered the 3-Day or 30-Day Eviction notice and the tenants do not comply, you then file a Forcible Detainer and Forcible Entry and Detainer with the precinct in the county that the property is located. You'll need to pay filing and constable fees. If you have questions, you can call the local clerk for more specific information.

To learn more about the process in general, see our free legal help articles on eviction.

Don't perform a "self-help" or DIY eviction

No matter how upset or stressed you may be, you should not try to perform a "self-help" or "constructive" eviction. DIY eviction tactics are illegal in all states including Texas. If you do not adhere to the legal process, you may lose your case or even be sued by your tenants.

You cannot:

  • Change the locks or block entry to the premises
  • Move their possessions or bar entry to their things
  • Contact them excessively or harass them or their family
  • Unlawfully trespass onto the property
  • Slander the tenant
  • Shut off utilities or services

You also cannot evict based on discrimination or retaliation. If you do not know what might be considered harassment or discrimination, consult with a lawyer.

Texas Evictions: Tenant Rights

Most landlord-tenant laws lean towards benefiting the landlord or property owners. Like all states, including Texas, you do have tenant rights. Your first action should always be to try to work out an arrangement with the landlord before it goes to court. It is in your best interest to not have an eviction and judgment on your public records. If you cannot afford the full rent, maybe you can work out a prorated amount to give you time to move. Whatever payment arrangement is made, get it in writing and stick to the agreement.

Here are some answers to some common TX eviction questions:

How long do I have to respond to a complaint?
Once an officer of the law delivers the complaint to you, you have 14 days to file an answer to the complaint. Keep in mind that you still will owe rent during those two weeks. If you lose your case, you have five days to move before being forcibly removed.

If I fix my lease violation, can I stay in the rental?
It is the landlord's option in Texas. Even if you comply, by moving your old car or getting rid of an unapproved pet, they can still decide that you need to move.

Do I need to attend the court hearing?
Yes, if you plan to contest the eviction. If you do not appear, a default judgment may be entered against you. Responding to the complaint basically means you want to contest the eviction.

Is it worth it to fight an eviction?
It depends on your circumstances. If you lose your case, you will have to move, pay everything due, and also likely have to pay the landlord's court and attorney fees (plus your own). You'll also have a judgment and eviction added to your rental history. You'll need to decide if it financially makes sense to you. If you can settle with your landlord out of the courts, it may work best for everyone. You may also be able to find low-cost mediation services in your area.

What is a Pauper's Affidavit?
If you are low-income or jobless, you may be able to file a Pauper's Affidavit with the court stating that you are unable to pay the cost of appealing. If the court approves the Affidavit, you may be relieved from having to pay the required courts filing fees.

What happens if I am evicted in Texas?
A sheriff or constable will deliver a Writ of Possession. They can forcibly remove you if you do not comply. In Texas, they can move your items outside the rental property, into a closed storage container OR to a storage facility. They may put a lien against your items to retrieve them, or if you cannot recover them, they may be disposed of according to the local laws. If you feel this process was not handled properly, you may be able to file a suit in the justice court. You may want to consult with a lawyer for assistance.

To learn more about basic tenant rights, see Tenant Rights 101: What Tenants Need to Know.

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