Texas has strict procedures that a landlord must follow to evict a tenant. Laws and rules governing eviction are in Chapter 24 of the Texas Property Code and Rule 510 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
For a more detailed overview of the Texas eviction process, see the Eviction Process page of our Landlord/Tenant Law guide.
Depending on the situation, the eviction timeline typically follows this order:
- Notice to vacate
- Eviction suit is filed
- Eviction hearing and judgment
- Eviction appeal, if necessary
- Writ of Possession
Notice to Vacate
Before a landlord can start formal eviction proceedings, they must notify the tenant about the need to fix a certain problem or move out. This "notice to vacate" is required by Section 24.005 of the Texas Property Code. The notice must be issued in writing before the landlord can file an eviction case.
A landlord is required to give the tenant at least 3 days to move out unless the lease agreement says otherwise. If the landlord participates in certain federal programs or has a federally backed mortgage, the notice period is 30 days. This is part of the federal CARES Act.
Eviction Suit is Filed
If the tenant does not move out by the time specified in the notice to vacate, the landlord can file an eviction suit in the Justice of the Peace court. The court will set a hearing date at least 10 days after the petition is filed. Tenants can file an answer, but this is not required.
Hearing & Judgement
A hearing will take place no sooner than 10 days after the suit is filed and no later than 21 days. At the hearing, each side will have a chance to state their case to the judge.
It’s very important to attend the hearing. Not showing up might result in a default judgment, meaning that the case is automatically decided in favor of the landlord. You can ask the court to set aside a default judgment if you have a very good reason for missing the hearing.
After the hearing, the judge will issue a judgment in favor of either the landlord or the tenant.
If the judge issues a judgment in favor of the landlord, the tenant can appeal. The tenant has 5 days to file an appeal after the judgment is issued.
Appealing an eviction can be complicated. Please see the Appealing an Eviction page of our Landlord/Tenant Law guide for more details.
Writ of Possession
If the tenant loses the appeal or does not appeal after the initial judgment is issued, the landlord can ask the judge to issue a writ of possession. This order allows the landlord to take possession of the property.
The landlord can get a writ of possession 6 days after the final judgment is issued. The tenant will receive a 24-hour notice to vacate. If the tenant does not vacate the property, the constable will remove the tenant and their personal property from the rental.
The law can be complex, so if you are at risk of an eviction, it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney before taking any action. For more information on finding an attorney, please see the library's Legal Help page.
Related FAQs & Guides