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Landlord/Tenant Law

This legal research guide provides information about landlord and tenant law that is helpful to both the practitioner and the public looking for legal information.

Evictions


Note Eviction procedures may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the Eviction page on the COVID-19 & Texas Law research guide for current information related to COVID-19 and evictions.

General Overviews of the Eviction Process

If you are facing the possibility of eviction, getting an understanding of how the process works may help you feel less anxious about what will happen. The video and links below contain general overviews of how evictions happen and can help you know what to expect.

Important Terms

There are many legal terms used in the eviction process that non-lawyers may not know. Below are some terms and their definitions that are helpful to understand when facing an eviction. Other sections on this page will provide more information about how they factor in to the process.

Timeframes in the Eviction Process

Eviction proceedings do not mean that a tenant will immediately be removed from their home. Before a landlord can obtain a "writ of possession," which is when a constable will remove a tenant's property from the rental, there are many possible steps in the process that each take a certain amount of time.

Please note that the specific circumstances of your situation may result in a slightly varied timeline. This is a general example of how long it may take for an eviction suit to take from start to finish.

Retaliation

When common problems like mold, pests, or repairs arise, many tenants fear retaliation from their landlords if they complain. Section 92.331 of the Texas Property Code describes unlawful landlord retaliation, noting:

A landlord may not retaliate against a tenant by taking an action described by Subsection (b) because the tenant:
  (1) in good faith exercises or attempts to exercise against a landlord a right or remedy granted to the tenant by lease, municipal ordinance, or federal or state statute;
  (2) gives a landlord a notice to repair or exercise a remedy under this chapter;
  (3) complains to a governmental entity responsible for enforcing building or housing codes, a public utility, or a civic or nonprofit agency, and the tenant:
    (A) claims a building or housing code violation or utility problem; and
    (B) believes in good faith that the complaint is valid and that the violation or problem occurred; or
  (4) establishes, attempts to establish, or participates in a tenant organization.

Under this law, a landlord may not retaliate by:

Section 92.333 goes on to describe what remedies a tenant may pursue, including, "a civil penalty of one month's rent plus $500, actual damages, court costs, and reasonable attorney's fees in an action for recovery of property damages, moving costs, actual expenses, civil penalties, or declaratory or injunctive relief, less any delinquent rents or other sums for which the tenant is liable to the landlord."

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

Specific Types of Evictions