If you have a tenant who is chronically late with rent payments, or if they’re downright destructive to your property, you might be eager to get rid of them as soon as possible. This is why the eviction process exists; it provides you with a legal path you can use to remove your tenant from the building as efficiently as possible while still making sure the tenant has some rights.
If you want to manage the eviction process carefully, you need to be careful not to evict a tenant too soon. So what steps should you follow to properly evict a tenant in Katy, Texas?
Why Eviction Should Be a Last Resort
First, understand that eviction should always be a last resort. Whenever possible, you should attempt to resolve conflicts through conversation and compromise, sometimes making sacrifices to continue a successful partnership. You should only pursue eviction when there are no other options left.
There are several reasons for this:
- Evictions are expensive. Evictions are expensive, and they’re expensive in more than one way. To file and follow through on an eviction, you’ll need to pay considerable legal fees, which scale in proportion to the complexity of the eviction case. On top of that, while you’re trying to evict your tenant, you won’t be generating stable rental income.
- Evictions are a hassle. Evictions are also complicated, and they can grow to become more complicated over time. If you don’t have sufficient evidence on your side, or if the process is held up in court, you may have to deal with significant extra headaches.
- Most problems can be resolved without eviction. Finally, remember that most problems can be resolved without resorting to eviction. Simply reminding the tenant about the stipulations of the lease agreement, or negotiating a system to secure payment of back rent can be more than enough to resolve the situation.
Reasons for Eviction
In Texas, there are several legitimate reasons that can (and usually should) lead to eviction.
- Rent payment issues. Your tenant is legally obligated to pay rent if they want to continue living in your property. Texas laws stipulate a two day grace period, so as long as your tenant pays rent within two days of its due date, they’re considered in good standing. After that, rent is late, and you’re free to charge a late fee as outlined in your lease agreement. But if your tenant continues to refuse to pay rent, you’ll have legal options available to you. After one or two months of missed rent payments, you should be actively talking to your tenant to figure out what’s going on. If they refuse to cooperate with you, and/or if the rent payments continue to be ignored, it’s time to pursue an eviction.
- Violations of the lease. If the tenant has deliberately or egregiously violated the lease, you can also consider eviction. Minor issues, like forgetting about trash day, shouldn’t be a big deal. But if your tenant is consistently making disruptive noise, causing property damage, or violating the lease by having pets or extra roommates, you’ll want to take action. Again, eviction shouldn’t be your first thought; try having a conversation with your tenant so you can resolve the issue peacefully and in a mutually acceptable way. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to take more formal legal action.
- Illegal activities. In Texas, eviction is typically permitted if you have evidence that the tenant is conducting illegal activities in or around the property. For example, if they’re selling or using illegal drugs, and you have evidence that can prove it, you can move to evict. Depending on the severity of the infraction, this is typically a motivation that justifies immediate eviction.
- Property foreclosure. If your property is being foreclosed on, you can also evict the tenant, for obvious reasons. The tenant does not have much control over this.
- Non-renewal of lease. The tenant can also choose to not renew their lease. In most situations, the tenant will leave voluntarily if this is the case. However, if they refuse to leave, you’ll need to move to eviction quickly.
The 3-Day Notice to Vacate
In most counties in Texas, you’ll be legally responsible to provide a 3-day notice to vacate the premises in alignment with rent payment issues, violations of the lease, or illegal activities.
You’ll need to include several pieces of information in this notice, including a description of the parties involved and official reasoning for why you’re submitting this notice. The tenant then has three days to move out. If they don’t, you’ll need to get a court order.
The 30-Day Notice to Vacate
If the property is foreclosed on or if the tenant doesn’t renew the lease, and the tenant refuses to leave, you’ll need to give a 30-day notice to vacate. Again, the tenant can leave during this time with no repercussions; if they refuse to leave, you’ll need to escalate your legal action.
How to Make Eviction Easier on Yourself
Evictions can be messy and expensive, but there are some steps you can take to make evictions easier on yourself:
- Hire a property management company. Everything related to property management gets easier when you have a property management company working for you. Your property managers will help you with everything from tenant screening to sending eviction notices, so you can focus on more important things.
- Keep solid records. Always keep organized and backed up files on everything related to your tenant. Collect and preserve evidence of their lease agreement violations, their payments, and any destructive or illegal activities in which they’ve partaken. If the evidence is on your side, eviction will go much smoother.
- Talk to a lawyer. Evictions can be legally complicated, so make sure to talk to a lawyer to resolve any questions you might have.
- Practice thorough tenant screening. The more effectively you screen your tenants, the less often you’ll need to evict.
Evictions can be difficult, but you don’t have to manage them alone. If you work with a property management company, most of these issues will be resolved proactively – and you’ll have active support if you do need to pursue eviction. For more information on our property management services, or for help with your eviction, contact Green Residential today!