What to do about a holdover tenant?

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What to do about a holdover tenant?

I purchased a house to be my primary residence. It was rented when I made the agreement to purchase. Previous owners informed tenants of the purchase on the 1st of September. We closed on the house on October 26th. They had more than 30 days notice, but not written notice, by the previous owner/landlord. Their rental agreement was oral and month-to-month only. They were told again on October 26th, to move (verbal) by December 1st. On November 30, the landlord/tenant agreement expired but they still did not move. I have been blocked by the tenant from moving into my own house. How do I handle this and can I change the locks?

Asked on December 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First of all, is there a lease? If so, then you purchased the rproperty "subject to" the lease. Therefore that you will have to abide by its terms; that means allowing the tenants to stay until the lease expires.

If there is no lease, then they will be considered to be month-to-month tenants. So the first thing to do if to give these tenants a written 30-day notice. If they still fail to vacate, then you will have to file an "unlawful detainer" in court; this is an eviction lawsuit. Once the court issues you a "writ of possession", you can then take back the premises; you can have a sheriff remove them by force if necessary.

In the meantime, take no self-help measures such as changing the locks, etc. You could fing yourself in legal trouble if you do.


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