Eviction has many myths surrounding it, as does lease termination. The Austin Tenant’s Council sets the record straight on both parts of rental law.
One of the common misconceptions about eviction is that the process takes at least a month. In truth, a tenant can be evicted in just two weeks. Another myth is that landlords have the right to remove the tenant’s belongings if the tenant doesn’t vacate by the date specified in the notice to vacate. The truth is that landlords cannot remove belongings from an apartment except if there is an abandonment or they are exercising a landlord’s liens. A landlord can only remove belongings after an eviction judgement by a court and if accompanied by a sheriff or constable.
The landlord also is not required to give a 30-day notice to vacate the property before evicting the tenant. The law only requires a 72 hour notice for eviction before an eviction lawsuit is filed. Another myth is that if a tenant has been late paying the rent, the landlord can’t evict the tenant if the rent is later paid in full. In actuality, a landlord can continue with eviction even if the rent is paid in full after the tenant falls behind in rent.
Most leases include a noisy neighbor clause, but it only gives the landlord the right to evict noisy neighbors, it does not require them to.
The landlord also does not have to have a reason to not renew a lease. Either the landlord or tenant can end the lease at the end of the lease term. The exception to this is low income housing. One myth many tenants hold to be true is that if you break a lease, you only lose your deposit. You are actually liable for any damages incurred by the landlord because you broke the lease and for all rent payments for the lease term if the unit is not leased to another tenant.
Another assumption is that a tenant can break a lease if the tenant suffers losses or anguish because of an unsecure environment, robberies or break-ins. In actuality, it can be difficult to prove that the landlord acted in bad faith and you may still be liable for rent and even damages to the landlord.