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Texas Landlord Tenant Information

State of Texas Eviction Law

Property Code

Sec. 91.001. Notice for Terminating Certain Tenancies.
(a) A monthly tenancy or a tenancy from month to month may be terminated by the tenant or the landlord giving notice of termination to the other.
(b) If a notice of termination is given under Subsection (a) and if the rent-paying period is at least one month, the tenancy terminates on whichever of the following days is the later:
(1) the day given in the notice for termination; or
(2) one month after the day on which the notice is given.
(c) If a notice of termination is given under Subsection (a) and if the rent-paying period is less than a month, the tenancy terminates on whichever of the following days is the later:
(1) the day given in the notice for termination; or
(2) the day following the expiration of the period beginning on the day on which notice is given and extending for a number of days equal to the number of days in the rent-paying period.
(d) If a tenancy terminates on a day that does not correspond to the beginning or end of a rent-paying period, the tenant is liable for rent only up to the date of termination.
(e) Subsections (a), (b), (c), and (d) do not apply if:
(1) a landlord and a tenant have agreed in an instrument signed by both parties on a different period of notice to terminate the tenancy or that no notice is required; or
(2) there is a breach of contract recognized by law.
Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3625, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 200, Sec. 3, eff. Aug. 26, 1985.

Sec. 24.001. Forcible Entry and Detainer.
(a) A person commits a forcible entry and detainer if the person enters the real property of another without legal authority or by force and refuses to surrender possession on demand.
(b) For the purposes of this chapter, a forcible entry is:
(1) an entry without the consent of the person in actual possession of the property;
(2) an entry without the consent of a tenant at will or by sufferance; or
(3) an entry without the consent of a person who acquired possession by forcible entry.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3514, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.
Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 688, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 24.002. Forcible Detainer.
(a) A person who refuses to surrender possession of real property on demand commits a forcible detainer if the person:
(1) is a tenant or a subtenant wilfully and without force holding over after the termination of the tenant's right of possession;
(2) is a tenant at will or by sufferance, including an occupant at the time of foreclosure of a lien superior to the tenant's lease; or
(3) is a tenant of a person who acquired possession by forcible entry.
(b) The demand for possession must be made in writing by a person entitled to possession of the property and must comply with the requirements for notice to vacate under Section 24.005.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3514, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.
Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 200, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1985; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 688, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 24.003. Substitution of Parties. If a tenancy for a term expires while the tenant's suit for forcible entry is pending, the landlord may prosecute the suit in the tenant's name for the landlord's benefit and at the landlord's expense.
It is immaterial whether the tenant received possession from the landlord or became a tenant after obtaining possession of the property.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3515, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.
Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 891, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1985.

Sec. 24.004. Jurisdiction.
A justice court in the precinct in which the real property is located has jurisdiction in forcible entry and detainer and forcible detainer suits.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3515, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.
Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 891, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1985.

Sec. 24.005. Notice to Vacate Prior to Filing Eviction Suit.
(a) If the occupant is a tenant under a written lease or oral rental agreement, the landlord must give a tenant who defaults or holds over beyond the end of the rental term or renewal period at least three days' written notice to vacate the premises before the landlord files a forcible detainer suit, unless the parties have contracted for a shorter or longer notice period in a written lease or agreement. A landlord who files a forcible detainer suit on grounds that the tenant is holding over beyond the end of the rental term or renewal period must also comply with the tenancy termination requirements of Section 91.001.
(b) If the occupant is a tenant at will or by sufferance, the landlord must give the tenant at least three days' written notice to vacate before the landlord files a forcible detainer suit unless the parties have contracted for a shorter or longer notice period in a written lease or agreement. If a building is purchased at a tax foreclosure sale or a trustee's foreclosure sale under a lien superior to the tenant's lease and the tenant timely pays rent and is not otherwise in default under the tenant's lease after foreclosure, the purchaser must give a residential tenant of the building at least 30 days' written notice to vacate if the purchaser chooses not to continue the lease. The tenant is considered to timely pay the rent under this subsection if, during the month of the foreclosure sale, the tenant pays the rent for that month to the landlord before receiving any notice that a foreclosure sale is scheduled during the month or pays the rent for that month to the foreclosing lienholder or the purchaser at foreclosure not later than the fifth day after the date of receipt of a written notice of the name and address of the purchaser that requests payment. Before a foreclosure sale, a foreclosing lienholder may give written notice to a tenant stating that a foreclosure notice has been given to the landlord or owner of the property and specifying the date of the foreclosure.

(c) If the occupant is a tenant of a person who acquired possession by forcible entry, the landlord must give the person at least three days' written notice to vacate before the landlord files a forcible detainer suit.

(d) In all situations in which the entry by the occupant was a forcible entry under Section 24.001, the person entitled to possession must give the occupant oral or written notice to vacate before the landlord files a forcible entry and detainer suit. The notice to vacate under this subsection may be to vacate immediately or by a specified deadline.

(e) If the lease or applicable law requires the landlord to give a tenant an opportunity to respond to a notice of proposed eviction, a notice to vacate may not be given until the period provided for the tenant to respond to the eviction notice has expired.

(f) The notice to vacate shall be given in person or by mail at the premises in question. Notice in person may be by personal delivery to the tenant or any person residing at the premises who is 16 years of age or older or personal delivery to the premises and affixing the notice to the inside of the main entry door. Notice by mail may be by regular mail or by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the premises in question.

(g) The notice period is calculated from the day on which the notice is delivered.

(h) A notice to vacate shall be considered a demand for possession for purposes of Subsection (b) of Section 24.002.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3515, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.
Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 891, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 688, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 24.006. Attorney's Fees and Costs of Suit.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), to be eligible to recover attorney's fees in a forcible entry and detainer suit or a forcible detainer suit, a landlord must give a tenant who is unlawfully retaining possession of the landlord's premises a written demand to vacate the premises. The demand must state that if the tenant does not vacate the premises before the 11th day after the date of receipt of the notice and if the landlord files suit, the landlord may recover attorney's fees. The demand must be sent by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, at least 10 days before the date the suit is filed.

(b) If the landlord provides the tenant notice under Subsection (a) or if a written lease entitles the landlord to recover attorney's fees, a prevailing landlord is entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees from the tenant.

(c) If the landlord provides the tenant notice under Subsection (a) or if a written lease entitles the landlord or the tenant to recover attorney's fees, the prevailing tenant is entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees from the landlord. A prevailing tenant is not required to give notice in order to recover attorney's fees under this subsection.

(d) The prevailing party is entitled to recover all costs of court.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3516, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.
Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 891, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 688, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 24.0061. Writ of Possession.

(a) A landlord who prevails in a forcible entry and detainer or a forcible detainer action is entitled to a judgment for possession of the premises and a writ of possession. In this chapter, "premises" means the unit that is occupied or rented and any outside area or facility that the tenant is entitled to use under a written lease or oral rental agreement, or that is held out for the use of tenants generally.

(b) A writ of possession may not be issued before the sixth day after the date on which the judgment for possession is rendered unless a possession bond has been filed and approved under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and judgment for possession is thereafter granted by default.

(c) The writ of possession shall order the officer executing the writ to deliver possession of the premises to the landlord and to:

(1) instruct the tenant and all persons claiming under the tenant to leave the premises immediately, and, if the persons fail to comply, physically remove them;

(2) instruct the tenant to remove or to allow the landlord, the landlord's representatives, or other persons acting under the officer's supervision to remove all personal property from the rental unit other than personal property claimed to be owned by the landlord; and

(3) place, or have an authorized person place, the removed personal property outside the rental unit at a nearby location, but not blocking a public sidewalk, passageway, or street and not while it is raining, sleeting, or snowing.
(d) The writ of possession shall authorize the officer, at the officer's discretion, to:

(1) post a written warning on the exterior of the front door of the rental unit, notifying the tenant that the writ has been issued and that it will be executed on or after a specific date and time stated in the warning; and

(2) engage the services of a bonded or insured warehouseman to remove and store, subject to applicable law, part or all of the property at no cost to the landlord or the officer executing the writ.

(e) The officer may not require the landlord to store the property.

(f) The writ of possession shall contain notice to the officer that under Section 7.003, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, the officer is not liable for damages resulting from the execution of the writ if the officer executes the writ in good faith and with reasonable diligence.

(g) An officer may, if necessary, use reasonable force in executing a writ under this section.

Added by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 319, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 314, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 745, Sec. 6, eff. June 20, 1987;
Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1089, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1987; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 2, Sec. 13.01, eff. Aug. 28, 1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 688, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 24.0062. Warehouseman's Lien.

(a) If personal property is removed from a tenant's premises as the result of an action brought under this chapter and stored in a bonded or insured public warehouse, the warehouseman has a lien on the property to the extent of any reasonable storage and moving charges incurred by the warehouseman. The lien does not attach to any property until the property has been stored by the warehouseman.

(b) If property is to be removed and stored in a public warehouse under a writ of possession, the officer executing the writ shall, at the time of execution, deliver in person to the tenant, or by first class mail to the tenant's last known address not later than 72 hours after execution of the writ if the tenant is not present, a written notice stating the complete address and telephone number of the location at which the property may be redeemed and stating that:

(1) the tenant's property is to be removed and stored by a public warehouseman under Section 24.0062 of the Property Code;

(2) the tenant may redeem any of the property, without payment of moving or storage charges, on demand during the time the warehouseman is removing the property from the tenant's premises and before the warehouseman permanently leaves the tenant's premises;

(3) within 30 days from the date of storage, the tenant may redeem any of the property described by Section 24.0062(e), Property Code, on demand by the tenant and on payment of the moving and storage charges reasonably attributable to the items being redeemed;

(4) after the 30-day period and before sale, the tenant may redeem the property on demand by the tenant and on payment of all moving and storage charges; andv (5) subject to the previously stated conditions, the warehouseman has a lien on the property to secure payment of moving and storage charges and may sell all the property to satisfy reasonable moving and storage charges after 30 days, subject to the requirements of Section 24.0062(j) of the Property Code.

(c) The statement required by Subsection (b)(2) must be underlined or in boldfaced print.

(d) On demand by the tenant during the time the warehouseman is removing the property from the tenant's premises and before the warehouseman permanently leaves the tenant's premises, the warehouseman shall return to the tenant all property requested by the tenant, without charge.

(e) On demand by the tenant within 30 days after the date the property is stored by the warehouseman and on payment by the tenant of the moving and storage charges reasonably attributable to the items being redeemed, the warehouseman shall return to the tenant at the warehouse the following property:

(1) wearing apparel;

(2) tools, apparatus, and books of a trade or profession;

(3) school books;

(4) a family library;

(5) family portraits and pictures;

(6) one couch, two living room chairs, and a dining table and chairs;

(7) beds and bedding;

(8) kitchen furniture and utensils;

(9) food and foodstuffs;

(10) medicine and medical supplies;

(11) one automobile and one truck;

(12) agricultural implements;

(13) children's toys not commonly used by adults;

(14) goods that the warehouseman or the warehouseman's agent knows are owned by a person other than the tenant or an occupant of the residence;

(15) goods that the warehouseman or the warehouseman's agent knows are subject to a recorded chattel mortgage or financing agreement; and

(16) cash.

(f) During the first 30 days after the date of storage, the warehouseman may not require payment of removal or storage charges for other items as a condition for redeeming the items described by Subsection (e).

(g) On demand by the tenant to the warehouseman after the 30-day period and before sale and on payment by the tenant of all unpaid moving and storage charges on all the property, the warehouseman shall return all the previously unredeemed property to the tenant at the warehouse.

(h) A warehouseman may not recover any moving or storage charges if the court determines under Subsection (i) that the warehouseman's moving or storage charges are not reasonable.

(i) Before the sale of the property by the warehouseman, the tenant may file suit in the justice court in which the eviction judgment was rendered, or in another court of competent jurisdiction in the county in which the rental premises are located, to recover the property described by Subsection (e) on the ground that the landlord failed to return the property after timely demand and payment by the tenant, as provided by this section. Before sale, the tenant may also file suit to recover all property moved or stored by the warehouseman on the ground that the amount of the warehouseman's moving or storage charges is not reasonable. All proceedings under this subsection have precedence over other matters on the court's docket. The justice court that issued the writ of possession has jurisdiction under this section regardless of the amount in controversy.

(j) Any sale of property that is subject to a lien under this section shall be conducted in accordance with Sections 7.210, 9.301-9.318, and 9.501-9.507 of the Business & Commerce Code.v (k) In a proceeding under this section, the prevailing party is entitled to recover actual damages, reasonable attorney's fees, court costs, and, if appropriate, any property withheld in violation of this section or the value of that property if it has been sold.

Added by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 747, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Renumbered from Sec. 24.009 and amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 314, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 745, Sec. 7, eff. June 20, 1987; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 48, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Sec. 24.007. Appeal.
A final judgment of a county court in a forcible entry and detainer suit or a forcible detainer suit may not be appealed on the issue of possession unless the premises in question are being used for residential purposes only. A judgment of a county court may not under any circumstances be stayed pending appeal unless, within 10 days of the signing of the judgment, the appellant files a supersede as bond in an amount set by the county court. In setting the supersedeas bond the county court shall provide protection for the appellee to the same extent as in any other appeal, taking into consideration the value of rents likely to accrue during appeal, damages which may occur as a result of the stay during appeal, and other damages or amounts as the court may deem appropriate.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3516, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.
Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 891, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 24.008. Effect on Other Actions.
A forcible entry and detainer suit or a forcible detainer suit does not bar a suit for trespass, damages, waste, rent, or mesne profits.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3516, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.
Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 891, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1985.

Sec. 24.011. Nonlawyer Representation. In forcible detainer suits in justice court for nonpayment of rent or holding over beyond a rental term, the parties may represent themselves or be represented by their authorized agents, who need not be attorneys. In any forcible detainer or forcible entry and detainer suit in justice court, an authorized agent requesting or obtaining a default judgment need not be an attorney.

Added by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 891, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1985. Renumbered from Sec. 24.009 by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 167, Sec. 5.01(a)(49), eff. Sept. 1, 1987.

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