In Texas, the eviction process is governed by specific legal procedures that landlords must meticulously follow. Tenants also have defined rights in these situations. This guide will walk you through the steps of eviction in Texas, helping landlords understand their responsibilities and tenants learn about their protections.

The Eviction Process in Texas - Step by Step

Much like eviction laws in every state, including the state of Texas, you cannot just evict someone for the fun of it. There are eviction laws that require a legitimate, legal reason, and it has to be a reason that can be proven in court. Here are the reasons why someone in Texas might be evicted, along with the various stages of the Texas eviction process.

1. Reasons for Eviction

Sometimes, Texas landlords may find themselves in a tough spot where they need tenants to leave under Texas law. This can happen for a few reasons, including the three most common ones:

Not Paying Rent: When tenants don't pay rent as agreed in the written lease (or verbal lease), it puts landlords in a difficult situation, and an eviction lawsuit might become necessary.

Breaking Lease Rules: Lease agreements have rules that both tenants and property managers need to follow. In the event of a lease violation that goes unresolved, it can lead to eviction from their rental unit.

Illegal Activities on the Property: Engaging in illegal activities on the property is a serious issue. Landlords may need to take action to maintain a safe and lawful environment for everyone.

2. Notice to Leave

The process begins with the Texas landlord formally telling the tenant they have to leave. This notice is a crucial first step:

  • Legally Compliant Notice: Landlords must provide a written notice that follows the law. This notice specifies the reasons for eviction and outlines when and how it should be delivered to the tenant.
  • The notice must be delivered in a specific manner, and allow for a specific amount of time for the tenant to remedy the situation, or vacate the premises.

3. Going to Court

If the tenant doesn't remedy the situation, or leave, after receiving the proper notice, the Property Manager can take the matter to court:

  • Filing an Eviction Suit: To start the court process, landlords need to file what's called an eviction suit. This formal legal action takes place in JP Court (Justice of The Peace Court).

4. Facing the Judge

Both the landlord and tenant have to appear in court to discuss the situation:

  • Eviction Hearing: The court sets up a hearing where both parties present their sides. The landlord and tenant must be prepared and bring any relevant documents or evidence supporting their arguments.
    • In unpaid rent cases, it's usually a cut-and-dry, straight-to-the-point hearing as long as the landlord can establish a history of accurate accounting records. This is generally where it's beneficial to have property management accounting software like TenantCloud do all the record-keeping for you.

5. Winning in Court

If the court decides in favor of the landlord, they receive a judgment:

  • Court Judgment: The judgment is a legal decision stating that the eviction is justified. Following a favorable judgment, the landlord can proceed with obtaining a Writ of Possession.

6. Time to Go

The final step is when the tenant is legally required to leave the property:

  • Executing the Writ of Possession: The landlord obtains a Writ of Possession, an official order allowing them to remove the tenant if they haven't left voluntarily. Law enforcement is responsible for executing this writ if the tenant does not willfully leave the rental property by the timeframe specified by the court.

This marks the end of the eviction process. Still, the landlord may also pursue judgment against the tenant in the form of financial compensation if there are additional, unrecouped damages and costs associated with the tenant who was evicted.

Understanding and Managing Costs

Evicting a tenant comes with financial responsibilities for landlords and tenants. Let's break down the costs involved.

1. Financial Implications for Landlords

Court Fees: Landlords must pay fees for filing an eviction suit in court. These fees cover the administrative costs of processing the case.

Attorney Fees: In some cases, especially if the tenant files an appeal to a county court, landlords may need to hire an attorney to navigate the legal complexities of the eviction process. Attorney fees can vary based on the complexity of the case.

Potential Loss of Rental Income: During the eviction process, the rental property may not have rental revenue, even if the eviction is not for non-payment of rent. This leads to a loss of rental income until the eviction process plays out and a new tenant can be found.

2. Tenant Considerations

Tenants facing eviction also experience financial and personal challenges; here are some to consider:

Financial Impact on Tenants: An eviction can lead to immediate financial strain for tenants. They may need to find alternative housing quickly, incurring moving costs and potential storage fees.

Future Renting Difficulties: Evictions can make it harder for tenants to secure new rental housing. Landlords often check rental histories, and an eviction record may lead to rejections from future landlords.

Credit Implications: Evictions can negatively impact a tenant's credit score. This can affect a tenant's ability to secure future rentals, loans, credit cards, or even employment.

Balancing these financial considerations is essential for landlords and tenants, as it contributes to a fair understanding of the real costs of eviction.

Legal Rights, Defenses & Compliance

Tenants and landlords have specific rights and compliance requirements during the eviction process, ensuring a fair and just procedure. Here are a few things you must take into account for evictions in Texas.

1. Tenant Rights

Right to Proper Notice: Tenants have the right to receive a legally compliant notice to vacate. This notice must clearly state the reasons for eviction and provide a reasonable period to respond or vacate the property.

Right to a Fair Court Hearing: Tenants have the right to present their side of the story in court. This includes providing evidence, witnesses, or any relevant information that supports their case.

2. Legal Defenses for Tenants

Tenants facing eviction can explore various legal defenses to protect their rights:

Proof of Rent Payment: If tenants have proof of paying rent, such as receipts or bank statements, this can serve as a strong defense against eviction for non-payment.

Challenging the Validity of Eviction Notice: Tenants may challenge the validity of the eviction notice. This could include issues like improper notice delivery or failure to address required information.

Retaliation Claims: If tenants believe the eviction is in retaliation for asserting their legal rights or complaining about property conditions, they may use this as a defense.

3. Landlord Legal Compliance

Landlords must strictly adhere to legal procedures to ensure a fair and lawful eviction process:

Following the Correct Notice Procedures: Landlords must issue notices in accordance with state law, specifying the reasons for eviction and providing the required notice period.

Respecting Lease Agreement Terms: Landlords should follow the terms outlined in the lease agreement. Deviating from these terms without legal justification may weaken their case.

Avoiding Self-Help Eviction: Landlords should never resort to self-help eviction methods, such as changing locks or forcibly removing tenants, as this is illegal and can lead to legal consequences.

Emphasizing these rights and defenses helps maintain a balanced and lawful eviction process, ensuring that both landlords and tenants understand and protect their legal interests.

The Aftermath of Eviction

1. Impact on Tenants

Life After Leaving: When tenants have to leave a property due to eviction, it can affect them in a few ways:

Finding a New Place: It might be harder for tenants to find a new place to live. Landlords often check rental histories, and an eviction record can make things challenging.

Money Matters: Leaving a property quickly can be costly. Tenants may need to spend money on moving, finding new housing, and sometimes storing their belongings.

Credit Concerns: An eviction can also affect a tenant's credit score. This may make it tough to get loans, credit cards, or even certain jobs in the future.

2. Ethical and Community Considerations for Landlords

Thinking About What's Right: Landlords play a big role in the community, and how they handle evictions can have a wider impact:

  • Community Stability: Frequent evictions can make a community feel less stable. It's essential for landlords to consider the impact on the overall community environment and how to resolve the situation in the best way possible, including providing your tenant's with resources. For example, if a tenant is struggling with paying rent, provide them with rental assistance resources that offer services in the area of the rental property.
  • Doing Things Fairly: Landlords must do things in a fair and ethical way. Not only is that the right thing to do, it's also governed by law. Treating tenants with respect and following the law helps maintain a positive and healthy community.
  • Policy Discussions: Landlords can also be part of policy discussions about housing and tenant rights. Getting involved in these conversations can lead to positive changes in the community.


Eviction is not a simple matter—it's a serious legal process that impacts both landlords and tenants. Here's why understanding, respect, and knowledge are crucial:

Navigate with Clarity: Knowing each step of the eviction process is like having a map in a challenging journey, which is why we wrote this article. It helps everyone involved understand what's happening and what likely comes next. Though, is it no replacement for solid legal advice from an attorney who is familiar with landlord-tenant law and your specific case.

Respect Legal and Ethical Boundaries: Following the law and doing things ethically is like playing fair. It ensures that both landlords and tenants are treated justly throughout the process and avoid costly mistakes.

Stay Informed: Knowledge is power. Being aware of rights and responsibilities is like having a guidebook, helping landlords and tenants make informed decisions.

By approaching eviction with understanding, respect, and knowledge, everyone involved can face the challenges more fairly and with greater clarity.

Pro Tip: It's important to learn how to run a credit check on a tenant along with the best practices for your tenant screening process to reduce the risk of evictions.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What if your tenant moves out after receiving the eviction notice but does not pay what is owed? 

If your tenant moves out after receiving an eviction notice but still owes money, you can pursue the unpaid rent through legal means. Filing a small claims lawsuit or taking the matter to a collections agency are common options to recover the owed amount.

2. How do you evict a tenant in Texas who lives with me? 

Evicting a tenant in Texas who lives with you involves following the standard eviction process, which includes issuing a notice to vacate and, if necessary, filing an eviction suit in court. The landlord must adhere to legal procedures regardless of the relationship with the tenant.

3. How do you determine what justice of the peace court your eviction case is in? 

To determine the justice of the peace court for your eviction case in Texas, you should look at the precinct map for the county where the rental property is located. Each precinct has its own justice of the peace court, and the precinct number will guide you to the correct court for filing your case.

4. Can a landlord evict a tenant without going to court in Texas?

In Texas, landlords cannot evict a tenant without going to court. The legal process must be followed, starting with the issuance of a notice to vacate. If the tenant does not comply, the landlord can file an eviction suit, and the case will be heard in court to determine the outcome. Self-help eviction methods, such as changing locks or removing belongings, are illegal and can lead to severe legal and financial consequences for the landlord.