Can I evict my tenant during the coronavirus crisis? (Texas specific).

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I’ve represented hundreds of eviction cases on behalf of my clients who own residential and commercial rental properties in and around the Houston area and the corona virus crisis impacting all of us has led to an increased number of calls from landlords.

The main reason for the increase is the mandated shelter in place policies and the economic impact – whether through reduced hours or temporary closing of their place of employment. As rent is the largest monthly expense for most people, I’ve been experiencing a large number of calls from my landlord/clients who ask me if eviction is even possible during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The short answer is you can file an eviction to evict a tenant, but the courts won’t hear the case. What does this mean? It means the landlords still need to send the 3-day notice to vacate. On the 4th day the landlord can then file the eviction case at the local Justice of the Peace. However, instead of the clerk handing you a piece of paper with the court date in two weeks, the court clerk will instead hand you just a receipt confirming the service and filing fees have been paid.

This may be good news for both the tenant and landlord. For example, the tenant doesn’t pay, therefore the landlord can’t use the tenant’s rent to cover the mortgage. After a few months, the bank calls the landlord to seek mortgage payments – however, like the landlord, the bank/lender also cannot file the eviction. If this quarantine occurs for a long time, the end result will harm to the banks and lien holders.

If you are a landlord or tenant and have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Please note:

  1. This is only specific for Texas eviction laws, each state has their own so please verify with a licensed attorney in your state;
  2. This post is for general information purposes only, as each legal issue is unique, you must consult with an attorney licensed in your state for the most accurate legal advice.

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