Most of us worry about paying rent at some point in our lives. With everything going on in the world today, you can hope that your landlord is understanding if you need a bit more time to come up with your rent money. If you are facing eviction in Texas, there may be laws to delay eviction. Because of the pandemic, many laws have been temporarily changed in your favor.

Learn about your rights as a tenant and find relief from eviction.

Landlords Don’t Want to Evict You

Often, landlords have been in your shoes also and do not want to evict you. Having tenants move in and out of their house causes more damage and wear on the house. This gives you room to negotiate.

Many landlords also use a real estate brokerage service to find another tenant. This process costs the landlord time and money. Generally real estate professionals charge an entire month’s rent to find a tenant and it can take months to find someone suitable. During this time, the landlord loses money.

It is in your landlord’s best interest to work things out with you if you are taking good care of the place and you are open to negotiation.

Work it Out

Your best chance to try to work out a solution with your Landlord is BEFORE they have started the eviction process. Talk to your landlord early on if you can’t pay rent and ask for mercy. Lay out a payment schedule that you can agree to in order to catch up on missed payments.

If you have violated a term of the lease and your landlord knows this, communicate your regret and offer to pay for the damage or remedy the issue immediately.

Federal Relief from Eviction

Because of the times we are living in, you may find federal relief from eviction. The Center for Disease Control has put a hold on all residential evictions from September 4 – December 31, 2020. You must meet certain requirements and sign a declaration to qualify. Visit the CDC website for more info at CDC Memorandum.

According to texaslawhelp.org,

the CARES Act still requires affected federal properties to give tenants a 30-Day Notice to Vacate. Affected properties include any property that is “insured, guaranteed, supplemented, or assisted in any way, by any officer or agency of the Federal Government.” That means you are entitled to a 30-Day Notice to Vacate if your landlord participates in any qualifying federal housing program, such as Section 8 or Housing Choice or the property has been partially purchased by or received loans from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

If you are not covered by these eviction laws and you have not negotiated an agreeable settlement with your landlord, they may choose to move forward in the eviction process.

Serving Notice

If you are behind on your rent or have broken your lease in some way, your Landlord may give you a three day written notice to vacate the premises. This notice is delivered in person, attached to your door, or mailed to you. At this point it’s a good idea to contact an attorney who can advise you on how to stop the eviction process before it is too late. 

Even though Texas has extended coverage against evictions on leases, that gapstop ends soon in many areas of Texas. Even if you fix your violation or catch up on your rent, that does NOT mean that your landlord has to stop the eviction process in Texas. Your attorney will know which laws may apply to your particular situation and can walk you through the possible ways to find relief from eviction in these turbulent times.

Filing the Suit 

If the landlord decides to continue moving toward eviction, they will wait three days after serving you a notice before filing their suit in Court. Now is the time to look at whether the landlord filed the suit properly. If they chose to deliver your notice in a way other than specified by law, you may have a cause for delay in the case moving forward. Again, in this situation an attorney can help you see if the landlord is acting in accordance with local and state law.

The Legal Citation

At this point your landlord may file a petition with the Court. If this happens, the Constable will serve a citation to you. This is the landlord’s legal notice to you that they are attempting to evict you.

The Hearing

If you have refused to leave, the next part of the eviction process involves going to a hearing. Your landlord will attempt to prove the right to evict you by presenting a preponderance of evidence that you have violated the terms of your lease or have not paid your rent. 

You should bring any evidence including proof of payments, pictures proving the state of the property, citations, notes, or any communications by email or text with your landlord. At the hearing, you will present this evidence to show that you are entitled to stay at the premises. This could include any legal violations on the part of the landlord that would prevent them from having a case against you.

Make an Appeal Against Eviction

In TX, there is a mandatory 5 day appeal period after the hearing in which you can appeal to the court to rehear your side of the story. If you lose at the hearing and want to make an appeal, an attorney can help you win the next round if you have a case. Consult a lawyer to find out what laws may apply in your situation if you have not already done so.

Legally Evicted

If you are still on the premises 5 days after your landlord wins the suit in Court, they can file a Writ of Possession which will send officers of the law to enforce the court ruling.

The Process

According to TX Eviction Process it takes approximately three weeks for an eviction to happen.

  •  3 days from notice to vacate to filing of suit
  •  8-10 days to serve the citation -The law requires the defendant have a least six days no more than 10 days notice before the hearing.
  •  5 days to appeal the suit following the hearing required by law.
  •  2 days -Constable is required by law to post a 24 hour vacate notice on the Writ of Possession
  • 20-23 days is the minimum amount of time to evict someone in any County in Texas. It must also be noted that any eviction suit is subject to appeal to the County Courts

Seek Wise Counsel

If you are facing eviction in Texas because you can’t pay your rent, there may be federal, state, or local laws to prevent this. Because of the pandemic, many laws have been temporarily changed in your favor. It can be difficult to understand what your rights as a tenant are. It is wise in this situation to contact a knowledgeable attorney to walk you through your rights as a tenant. A lawyer will know the applicable laws and be able to help you get through this process.