Houston’s Eviction Laws: Legal Considerations for Landlords and Tenants

Eviction is a difficult and often emotionally challenging experience that affects many individuals in Houston. Understanding Houston’s eviction laws is crucial for both landlords and tenants to navigate the legal aspects of this process effectively. Whether you are a tenant fighting to stay in your home or a landlord seeking to enforce your rights, having a solid understanding of the legal framework surrounding eviction can make a significant difference.

At Pathway Property Lawyers, we understand the intricacies of Houston’s real estate laws and are happy to provide insight and guidance to you and your family as you navigate challenging eviction issues. However, it is also important to familiarize yourself with Houston’s eviction laws, so you can better protect your rights and make informed decisions during this challenging time.

Understanding Houston’s Eviction Law Process

Eviction refers to the legal process through which a landlord seeks to regain possession of a rental property from a tenant. It is essential to understand that eviction is not a casual or arbitrary action. It is a structured legal procedure governed by specific Houston laws and regulations. Eviction carries significant legal implications for both landlords and tenants, making it crucial to have a clear understanding of the process and your rights within it.

Houston follows a specific eviction process that must be followed by landlords seeking to evict tenants. Familiarizing yourself with the steps involved in Houston’s eviction process will enable you to anticipate and respond effectively to each stage.

Providing Proper Notice

Before initiating an eviction lawsuit, landlords in Houston must provide tenants with proper notice. The specific notice required depends on the reason for eviction. For example, if the eviction is due to non-payment of rent, the landlord must serve a Notice to Vacate, giving the tenant a specified amount of time to pay the overdue rent or vacate the premises. Once a tenant receives a notice to vacate, they only have three days to pay the rent or leave the rental property.

Under the federal CARES Act, specific eviction cases require a 30-day notice period. This requirement applies to properties that participate in certain federal programs or properties where the owner holds a mortgage that is federally-backed. In such cases, landlords must provide tenants with a 30-day notice before initiating eviction proceedings.

Filing and Serving an Eviction Lawsuit

If the tenant fails to comply with the notice provided (pay rent or move out), the next step for the landlord is to file an eviction lawsuit (Tex. Prop. Code § 24.005 (2021). This involves preparing the necessary legal documents, such as a Complaint for Eviction, which outlines the reasons for eviction and any other relevant information.

Once the eviction lawsuit is filed, the landlord must ensure that the tenant is properly served with the lawsuit papers.

Attending Court Hearings

After being served with the eviction lawsuit, the tenant has the opportunity to respond and present their case in court. Both the landlord and tenant will be required to attend court hearings, where they can present evidence, argue their positions, and address any legal issues related to the eviction. The court will evaluate the evidence and make a decision based on the merits of the case.

Enforcement and Potential Involvement of Law Enforcement

If the court grants an eviction judgment in favor of the landlord, and the tenant fails to comply with the judgment by vacating the premises, the landlord must seek assistance from law enforcement to physically remove the tenant. It is illegal for a landlord to take matters into their own hands. The only person who can legally remove a tenant from a property in Texas is an officer of the law.

Legal Obligations for Landlords

Lease agreements play a crucial role in eviction cases as they outline the terms and conditions of the rental arrangement between the landlord and tenant. Landlords need to ensure that lease agreements are well-drafted, clearly defining the rights and responsibilities of both parties. These agreements can serve as evidence in eviction cases and help establish the grounds for eviction.

While landlords have the right to pursue eviction in certain circumstances, there are prohibited practices and illegal eviction methods. Engaging in such practices can result in legal consequences for the landlord. Examples of prohibited practices may include changing locks without proper notice, shutting off utilities, or using physical force to remove a tenant. Landlords must know these prohibitions and adhere to ethical and legal standards when pursuing eviction.

Tenant Rights, Responsibilities, and Protections

Tenants in Houston are entitled to certain rights and protections under the law. For example, tenants have the right to a habitable living environment, privacy, and protection against discrimination.

Tenants have responsibilities as well. Timely payment of rent is a fundamental obligation, and failure to do so can provide grounds for eviction. Additionally, tenants are responsible for maintaining the property in a reasonable manner and reporting any necessary repairs to the landlord. If a tenant fails to fulfill these responsibilities, they can be evicted based on non-compliance.

If you’re facing an eviction, there are ways you can fight back. Your attorney can use some common defense strategies to potentially contest the eviction. Common defense strategies may include challenging the validity of the eviction notice, presenting evidence of landlord misconduct, or asserting a legal defense specific to the circumstances.

Contact Our Houston Real Estate Lawyers

If you’re facing an eviction or a landlord trying to evict your tenant, it is important to consult with an experienced lawyer before moving forward. At Pathway Property Lawyers, our Houston real estate attorneys can help you through this difficult time. We know Houston eviction laws inside and out, and use this knowledge to give our clients an advantage in disputes and legal matters.

To learn more about your legal options, please call us at (832) 364-6234 or complete our confidential contact form. Our team safeguards your rights and property and guides you through the legal complexities.



Pathways Property Lawyers

At Pathways Property Lawyers, our Houston attorneys are here to answer all your legal questions and help you protect your rights regarding personal, business, commercial or investment properties. Call us or fill out our confidential contact form to learn more about your legal options.

Our law firm has considerable experience in Texas real estate law. We advise our clients on issues related to real estate transactions and litigation throughout Southeast Texas. In addition to real estate, our Houston lawyers have experience in other related areas of law, such as family law, business law, estate planning and probate. This allows us to assist clients with all related legal issues, and to take an holistic approach to your specific matter.


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