Help, the landlord locked me out, what can I do? Am I evicted?

black and grey keys
Photo by George Becker on

Unfortunately, there are many scrupulous landlords out there who take non-payment of rent matters into their own hands instead of going through the legal process. This results in me receiving calls from tenants who come back from work only to find the locks changed or another lock on the door preventing them from getting in.

Can a landlord lock you out?
Yes a landlord can lock out a tenant, but the landlord provide conntact information where the tenant can call at anytime to get access into the apartment.

What does the law say about locking out a tenant?
The law controlling landlord/tenant rights in Texas is found in the Property Code. Specifically, the law about lockouts is found here:

Section 92.0081:

(c) If a landlord or a landlord’s agent changes the door lock of a tenant who is delinquent in paying rent, the landlord or the landlord’s agent must place a written notice on the tenant’s front door stating:

(1) an on-site location where the tenant may go 24 hours a day to obtain the new key or a telephone number that is answered 24 hours a day that the tenant may call to have a key delivered within two hours after calling the number;

What if the landlord refuses to let me back in?
If a landlord refuses to let you into your apartment/house, then you have been wrongfully evicted and the landlord is subject to damages. Contact David Hsu now by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at


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

woman in gray shirt sitting on bed
Photo by Andrew Neel on

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

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.