Texas Lockout Without Going to Court

This is a discussion on Texas Lockout Without Going to Court within the Landlord vs Tenant Issues forum, part of the REAL ESTATE & PROPERTY LAW category; Can a landlord lock you out of your house that you are renting without going to court?...

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Old Oct 13th, 2010, 10:16 PM   #1
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Exclamation Texas Lockout Without Going to Court

Can a landlord lock you out of your house that you are renting without going to court?
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Old Oct 13th, 2010, 11:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Texas Lockout Without Going to Court

I wish to inform you that a landlord cannot lock you out of your home without going to court. It is necessary that an eviction notice must be obtained from court before a tenant can be moved out. Further, while the premises are with tenant then tenant is having possession and right to use premises which may not be stopped by landlord without following process of law. You may inform law enforcement agency in this regard and can obtain possession. The landlord cannot lock out a premises for failure to pay rent without giving a three days notice to the tenant. Further, the landlord must provide a key of the new lock any time of the day or night within two hours on demand by the tenant even if the rent has still not been paid. Alternatively, if the landlord fails to provide a key then the tenant may approach the Justice of Peace. The tenant may file a 'writ of reentry'. The landlord will be ordered to provide a key to the tenant.

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Old Oct 13th, 2010, 11:37 PM   #3
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Exclamation Re: Texas Lockout Without Going to Court

I'm a month behind in my rent and they add late fees and charges to deliver notices to the house that adds to 300 dollars and they want to change the locks on Friday.
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Old Oct 14th, 2010, 03:01 AM   #4
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Default Re: Texas Lockout Without Going to Court

Apparently, Texas law does allow for lockouts in nonpayment of rent situations. The specific law is as follows:

If a tenant is delinquent with paying all or part of the rent, a landlord may change the lock on the tenant’s door.
Tex. Prop. Code § 92.0081(b)(3).

The landlord must provide the tenant notice of a proposed lockout five days prior to the proposed lockout (if notice mailed) or three days prior to the proposed lockout (if notice hand delivered or posted on the inside of tenant’s main entry door).
Tex. Prop. Code § 92.0081(d)(2).

This pre-lockout notice must inform tenant of the earliest date of the proposed lockout, the amount of rent the tenant must pay to avoid the lockout, and the name and address of where the rent may be paid.
Tex. Prop. Code § 92.0081(d)(2).

Additionally, at the time of any lock change, a landlord must provide a written notice on tenant’s front door stating that tenant may obtain a new key, regardless of whether or not the tenant pays the delinquent rent. The notice must state the on-site location where a tenant may go to pick up a new key 24 hours a day or a telephone number that the tenant may call to have a key delivered to tenant within 2 hours.
Tex. Prop. Code § 92.0081(c)(1).

A landlord in an unlawful exclusion situation must provide the tenant with a new key without regard to whether the tenant pays the delinquent rent.
Tex. Prop. Code § 92.0081(f).

A tenant in an unlawful exclusion situation may recover possession or terminate the lease. The tenant may also recover actual damages, one month’s rent plus $500, court costs, and attorney fees.
Tex. Prop. Code § 92.0081(h).

If a landlord refuses to provide a tenant with a new key, the landlord is liable for an additional civil penalty of one month’s rent.
Tex. Prop. Code § 92.0081(i).

*For leases entered into after 1/1/08: *
the landlord’s right to change the locks because of non-payment must be contained in the lease.

The pre-lockout notice must contain in underlined or bold print the tenant’s right to receive a key to the new lock at any hour regardless of whether the tenant pays the delinquent rent.

The tenant may recover actual damages, one month’s rent plus $1,0000, court costs, and attorney fees.
Tex. Prop. Code § 92.0081(h)(2).
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Old Oct 14th, 2010, 05:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: Texas Lockout Without Going to Court

Great post, thank you Sandy!
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Old Oct 14th, 2010, 12:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: Texas Lockout Without Going to Court

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Originally Posted by forum_admin View Post
Great post, thank you Sandy!
Thank YOU.

VERY Informative. And here I thought that lockout was illegal pretty much everywhere. Interesting, though, on this one. They can lock you out, but even if you don't pay, the landlord is obligated to offer a key to the changed locks to the tenant so they can gain access again. So what stops the LL and tenant from doing this over and over again? It defeats the perceived goal of a lockout, doesn't it? Kind of a strange law, and if that tenant doesn't know his rights, the LL probably gets away with this over and over again these days in Texas.
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Old Oct 14th, 2010, 03:02 PM   #7
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Big Grin Re: Texas Lockout Without Going to Court

Thank you Sandy! It was very informitive. Your a very smart person!!
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Old Oct 14th, 2010, 06:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: Texas Lockout Without Going to Court

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If the lockout notice doesn't have everything legally it is to have on it like due amount, or place to pick up the new key, can the lockout still happen?
This part is what pertains to you:

This pre-lockout notice must inform tenant of the earliest date of the proposed lockout, the amount of rent the tenant must pay to avoid the lockout , and the name and address of where the rent may be paid.
Tex. Prop. Code § 92.0081(d)(2).

Simply put, if your LL did not have the legally required elements of the pre-lockout notice (i.e., the amount of rent that needs to be paid to prevent the lockout and, if the lease was executed on or after 1/1/08, part about your right to receive a key to the new lock), then the notice is defective and the LL can face penalties as indicated if he follows through with the actual lockout. Yes, he CAN do it, but then he opens himself up to a civil suit and monetary penalties against him by doing so with a legally defective notice.

Only the actual lockout notice (after the fact) needs to include where to get a new key once the locks have been changed.
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Old Oct 14th, 2010, 09:06 PM   #9
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Smile Re: Texas Lockout Without Going to Court

Thank you Sandy, The pre didn't have the thing about getting the new key. You have very helpful!!
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Old Feb 4th, 2013, 10:47 PM   #10
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Default Re: Texas Lockout Without Going to Court

My understanding is that in Texas the landlord can lock out a tenant, and the tenant must go to the local JP, at which point the landlord must provide access to the premises. The point is communication. I think my landlord is doing it as a preliminary to filing an eviction proceeding and hoping, probably in vain, that the idiots will get the point and dematerialize.

Mind you, everyone in the building wishes they'd dematerialize. It isn't only landlords who can be nasty.
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