First Tenant issue - Texas - Abandment

I just experienced my first issue with tenants. Here are the details:

Looks like the family got some immigration problem and abandand the home. This months rent was due but not paid so called but home telphone was disconnected. Went to home a lot of trash outside on the easement in front yard. Called the eployer he said he has not come to
work since last 4 weeks. I got a call from a son who is living out of areas said all this to me. NOW what should do?

  1. give formal notice to vacant the property on non-payment bases?
  2. How can I know that I legally terminate the lease since they are probably deported by now?
  3. When should I change the locks and start the renting out?

Please help

Post whatever legal inspection notice (24 hr?) that is requred in your area and then go inspect the property. If their belongings are all gone (with the exception of their trash), then I would change the locks; clean the property; and re-rent it. Take pictures to document that they abandoned the property and took their stuff with them.

If they are gone but their “valuables” are still there, you’ve got a more difficult decision. Legally, you should obviously evict them to regain possession. However, if I KNEW that they were gone, I would take their stuff to the dump; clean up the property; and re-rent it. This is not the right way to do things and you run the risk that the deadbeat will re-appear wanting their stuff. I actually had a tenant reappear while we were loading up her couch to take it to the dump. We had already taken several loads of her stuff to the dump. She threatened to sue and I said “go ahead”. Of course, the proper way to handle this situation is to evict the deadbeat, but when they’re obviously already gone, I usually don’t do that.

If you inspect the property and you can’t confirm that they’re gone, then you need to evict them.

That’s what I would do.

Good Luck,


If all their stuff is gone, I’d photograph , clean up and rerent.

If all their stuff is there, I’d evict for non-payment. If they got deported, they could very easily be back very soon and expect to have all their stuff back. Please note that it is all very valuable stuff, antiques, family heirlooms, as soon as you’ve thrown it away.

If their stuff is there and you are sure they are gone, file for eviction and shuffle the stuff around while you clean and paint around it. If there is a garage, move it to the garage until you’ve got the court’s permission to evict.

I don’t think INS will give you any information, but it is worth a phone call to see if they will verify that the family got deported.

And to emphasize: just because they got deported doesn’t mean they are gone. They will visit family for a little while and then be right back across the border, expecting their house and stuff to still be there. So CYA.

Can some please refresh me how I would file eviction on non-payment? I am in Collin County in DFW area.


In Texas you give them a 3 day letter to pay or leave. If they are not there serve it to their last know location (your rent house) You tape it to the inside of the main entry door and take a picture of it there. After the 3 days has expired go to the local Justice of the Peace office in the precent where the rent house is. Fill out the form for eviction and you will have to have a copy of the 3 day letter. Give them $92 and they will give you a court date. They will attempt to serve the tenant. Go to court the day of the hearing with your lease and receipt book. The judge will look at your lease to establish how much the tenant should pay you. He will then ask the tenant to prove that he paid. If he can’t the judge will issue a writ of possion. On the date of the writ you will have your house back. If the tenant doesn’t show up the judge will issue a writ of possion and you will have your house back.

If the tenant does give you some money apply any money to fees first and then to rent. The judge will NOT evict for fees. He will evict for rent. So if the rent is $500/month and the tenant pas you $500 but it is 3 days late at $25/day and you have already filed for eviction. Write 3 different receipts one for $75 for late fees one for $92 court fees and one for $333 for rent. He can still be evicted for the $167 in past due rent. But the judge will not evict for $167 in fees.

The abandonment approach is quicker than the eviction approach. The TX Property Code doesn’t define “abandonment”, so hopefully your lease does.

Our lease states under what conditions the property is considered “abandoned”. We’ve used this approach several times (when we’re sure that the tenants aren’t coming back).

Maybe the tenant’s son can get you the key with move-out notice so you don’t have to go through eviction?


I’ve been doing this in Collin county for a while now. If you haven’t defined abandonment in terms of your lease you will need to file eviction to cover all of your bases.

Check out the Collin site for further info.

I use standard TREC lease agreement with some rules of mine… so it should cover the topic right?

if I see nothing in rent or don’t see anything in the home through window and can verify with city and electricity that utilities are off on the property … should cover?