It’s definitely a headache and a hassle, but it’s an inevitable part of being a landlord – evicting a tenant. No matter how well you screen tenants, no matter how many background checks you run and references you get, sometimes you get a nightmare tenant or several – and then you have to evict them. To do so, you must adhere to a set legal process. So, especially concerning eviction notices, here are a few tips on how to evict a tenant in Houston.
Keep in Mind . . .
Tenant laws vary from state to state, so you should familiarize yourself with the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA), now adopted by 21 states. In every state, however, so-called “self-help” evictions are illegal. You cannot remove a tenant or her possessions or turn off utilities outside the legal process – which begins with the eviction notice.
Knowing how to evict a tenant in Houston involves, first of all, knowing the valid conditions that will allow you to initiate a successful eviction process. While non-payment of rent is the number-one reason for eviction, there are many others besides. And the reason for eviction determines the kind of eviction notice you’ll need to serve.
Eviction Notice for Cause – The three basic kinds of notices for cause are:
Pay Rent or Quit Notice – Used when the tenant owes rent and gives a short time to pay what is owed, usually 5 or 10 days.
Cure or Quit Notice – Used in the case of violation of specific lease-agreement terms or conditions, such as smoking in a non-smoking unit, with a specific period of time, say, 30 days, to correct the violation(s).
Unconditional Quit Notice – Used when you need a tenant to vacate without an opportunity to pay rent owed or rectify violations. In some states, the unconditional quit notice can be used only in specific situations.
Eviction Notice Without Cause – Without any violations or wrongdoing on the part of the tenant, you still may need to end a month-by-month tenancy, for example, if you need to sell the property. In this case, you will need to use the eviction without cause notice, giving a 30- or 60-day notice to vacate depending on your state’s laws.
If after you’ve taken all the steps involved in how to evict a tenant in Houston, issuing the proper eviction notice and giving the legally required amount of time for the issue to be corrected, things still may be far from over. A tenant may simply refuse to correct problems/violations or vacate the premises. In such a situation, you will need to initiate an eviction lawsuit.
You will first need to file the requisite documents at your county courthouse. Then, if you win the lawsuit, you’ll receive a court order for possession of the property. But you still can’t go in and throw the tenant and her possessions out on your own. Someone from the local sheriff’s department will have to remove the tenant for you, and you’ll have to pay a fee for this service.
If you’re a landlord, you need to know how to evict a tenant in Houston because you will have to face that situation at some point. But even though you go into it prepared, it can still be a fairly stressful hassle with a lot of legal pieces that have to be in place. And you also need some knowledge of your state-specific laws. As a result, many people have found that the better option for them is to sell the property rather than having to deal with bad tenants and the eviction process.