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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27621
Experience:  JA Mentor
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There is a man and his wife who are living in their trailer

Customer Question

There is a man and his wife who are living in their trailer on my property in Grimes County TX. Our original agreement (verbal only) was that they could stay rent free, only paying for electricity because he was going to do remodeling work on my home. He said the job would take no more than two months, but six months has passed and he not even halfway done and appears to be in no hurry to finish. I gave him verbal notice this past Monday (the 27th) at noon that he had 72 hours to pack up his possessions and leave and it appears he is ignoring that. What is the best way to get him off my property?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation. When you agreed to allow this man to stay in your property in exchange for doing work on it and paying utilities, you created an enforceable oral lease. That means that he is your tenant, even with nothing in writing, and normal landlord/tenant laws apply. And that unfortunately means the "best" way to get him off your property—The legal way—is not going to be the fastest. When someone fails to comply with the terms of a rental agreement, they're entitled to three days written notice to either correct the problem (meaning, do the work) or leave. Tex. Prop. Code, Section 24.005. An oral notice to vacate is invalid. If he does the work that he was supposed to do, he'll get to stay. That doesn't necessarily mean that he has to finish it. The judge will want to see that he's making reasonable efforts toward completion. Without a written agreement stating something like "Time is of the essence," a delay in remodeling isn't automatically a breach of the contract. Alternatively, you're allowed to give written notice to vacate at any time at least 30 days before the end of the month. So, a written notice to leave now would be effective at the end of August. This is all extremely important, because if you turn off the utilities, change the locks, or otherwise try to remove him from the premises without going through the court system, he can sue you for a court order requiring you to turn them back on or let him back in. Tex. Prop. Code, Sections 92.009 and 92.0091. The only legal way to remove someone from leased premises is to serve them with a written notice to vacate, wait for the time in the notice to expire, then go to court and file a lawsuit for Unlawful Detainer if they're still there. I apologize that this was probably not the Answer you were hoping to receive. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand.Good luck.

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