I have been reading through the Texas Property code as I am going through a "more intense than normal" eviction. The tenant has threatened damage to the property (most likely has already done this) and direct threats as well. This is to the point I have gone to the police and constable's station to find out what to do next.
I have already filed a eviction for the tenant however this unit is part of a duplex and the next door neighbor is getting a water bill for $650+ and I have a reason to believe the tenant has mucked with the plumbing.
There is also a leak in the ceiling I was able to observe while standing at the doorway to the unit.
At this point I am trying to gain access to the property to do maintenance on the unit (fix the ceiling and the main cause of this issue) and do a inspection of the unit while i'm at it. The tenant has not agreed to allow access however my lease says I can gain access at any time.
I have as a courtesy been providing the tenant 24 hours notice that I am about to come enter the unit the next day. Then if the tenant refuses to allow me to access the property then I will call the police or constable and tell them the tenant is not allowing my access. Hopefully this is the correct procedure.
I have been going through the Texas Property Code and have been unable to find the section which provides information on my ability to gain access to the property (which would supersede my lease). Does anyone know which chapter may contain this information. The closest chapters I have read through that might contain this information were Chapter 24 and Chapter 92 which neither contained information about landlord access itself.
Any help would be appreciated, after doing over 40 - 50 evictions, this one has been "interesting" and I want to make sure the moves I make are in best faith.
Link below is from the Austin tenants Council:
What If you had to turn off water for a emergency repair and needed to inspect their apartment before turning it back on,, might be worth a try.
Camp out till they are gone and then enter, leave a note you've been in for repairs..
If a tenant made a verbal threat to me I'd call cops on the spot and make a formal complaint against tenant.
I had a tenant threaten to set my building on fire,, I called the fire department and they sent out a truck with a fire chief on board, he didn't take it lightly told the guy it was a felony act he was threatening and with that report I had the guy evicted for cause , a quick expedited court hearing and out in quick time..
Originally posted by @Jim Cummings :
Link below is from the Austin tenants Council:
Hello, @Jim Cummings , thank you for providing this information. At least now I know that this is not addressed in the property code. I've dealt with a large number of evictions however an inconvenience and costly they may be. However this one in particular with the $700 water bill and the fact that it's a duplex so access to the unit is needed to address problems that affect the other side makes this interesting.
With that said the link you gave is a tenant rights site so I have to remain aware that it may be biased and it's a little unclear as it's a obvious gray area that still needs to be worked out. I would think that if landlords wanted to push forward an agenda to allow emergency access to their properties (for maintenance) then this situation would be a great example.
Normally when you have a tenant who threatens to harm the property, you have no proof that the action is taking place and you aren't able to prove it until it's too late and the tenant has already moved out and you regain access to the property. However in this situation, there is a sensor within the unit which is providing feedback to strange things that are taking place within the unit. This being the water bill and the outside meters and the outside spigots. When I turn off the water to the neighbor, the water on the vengeful tenant's side stops working. The tenant has taken the plumbing apart and altered it to their advantage. The neighbor feels terrorized as well. Also, due to the duplex nature of the property there is no clear property line and the attic is a shared space.
This is a interesting situation and I had to bring it up somewhere, the property does make money and should be able to afford within itself the damages caused. If I wasn't in school and also working right now, I would probably try and pump money into this legally to push the envelope on the legal system. You cannot have a system in place that never allows access under any circumstances, that doesn't make sense as the landlord has a interest in keeping the property safe with maintenance. Water can be a very destructive and costly element. Generally, all landlords want is to collect their rent and ensure that their property is unharmed.
Does anyone know what apartment complexes do in situations like this? Picture a leaking third floor which is causing extensive damage on the 1st and second floor. and the tenant on the 3rd floor does not allow access. The eviction takes 2 weeks to 2 months(depending on appeals, pauper, etc). I wonder how that plays out.
The cops were called in regards to the threat. I had a cop, a constable and a paid security agent(not a cop though) with me in front of the unit. I was still unable to gain access to the property. The officers said they had to be neutral in the situation and therefor were unable to force entry. I am still unsure if I am able to pay for a off-duty constable to come with me and gain access but everything i have seen up to this point directs me that it would not work as well. I have not seen any writ I can have executed that allows access either. Also, the water has already been shut off in my eyes. They are just using the neighbors water.
At this point the date of your eviction hearing must be close. If you want to address the roof, there is no need for entry.
I would just let it go and be prepared to go all the way to the Writ of possession. Get a crew ready to move him out
Also, be prepared for the appeal using the Paupers' Affidavit but keep in mind that they will have to pay a months rent in order to move forward. I have never actually had a tenant ever follow through
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