If my has not paid rent and does not have a lease, what are my rights?

UPDATED: Jan 6, 2012

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If my has not paid rent and does not have a lease, what are my rights?

I own my own home. I rent my upstairs to a family. They are always late on rent. I verbally told them at the end of last month that I expect rent by the 6th of last month; they are to move out by the first of next month. They still have not paid rent yet. What are my rights? Can I lock them out? They are not on a lease and they did not pay a deposit.

Asked on January 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you have a verbal lease with a family for a section of your home, it appears that the  term is a month-to-month lease under the laws of your state. You cannot legally lock out your tenants from the unit they are occupying.

I suggest that you consult with a landlord tenant attorney as how to remove your non-paying tenants. Typically one serves the tenants with a 3 day notice to pay or quit. If the back rent is not paid in that time period and the tenants are still in posession, then your alternative is to file an unlawful detainer action. Another option is to serve a 30 day notice to end the tenancy on them.

I suggest that landlords always have a written lease with their tenants as opposed to oral ones.

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