Texas Laws - Property Code
PROPERTY CODE
TITLE 4. ACTIONS AND REMEDIES

TITLE 4. ACTIONS AND REMEDIES (1280)(1-click HTML)

CHAPTER 21. EMINENT DOMAIN (1281)(1-click HTML)

SUBCHAPTER A. JURISDICTION (1282)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 21.001. CONCURRENT JURISDICTION. (1283)(1-click HTML)

District courts and county courts at law have concurrent jurisdiction in eminent domain cases. A county court has no jurisdiction in eminent domain cases. (1284)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3498, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1285)

Sec. 21.002. TRANSFER OF CASES. (1286)(1-click HTML)

If an eminent domain case is pending in a county court at law and the court determines that the case involves an issue of title or any other matter that cannot be fully adjudicated in that court, the judge shall transfer the case to a district court. (1287)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3498, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1288)

Sec. 21.003. DISTRICT COURT AUTHORITY. (1289)(1-click HTML)

A district court may determine all issues, including the authority to condemn property and the assessment of damages, in any suit: (1290)

(1) in which this state, a political subdivision of this state, a person, an association of persons, or a corporation is a party; and (1291)

(2) that involves a claim for property or for damages to property occupied by the party under the party's eminent domain authority or for an injunction to prevent the party from entering or using the property under the party's eminent domain authority. (1292)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3498, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1293)

SUBCHAPTER B. PROCEDURE (1294)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 21.011. STANDARD PROCEDURE. (1295)(1-click HTML)

Exercise of the eminent domain authority in all cases is governed by Sections 21.012 through 21.016 of this code. (1296)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3498, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1297)

Sec. 21.0111. DISCLOSURE OF CERTAIN INFORMATION REQUIRED; INITIAL OFFER. (1298)(1-click HTML)

(a) An entity with eminent domain authority that wants to acquire real property for a public use shall, by certified mail, return receipt requested, disclose to the property owner at the time an offer to purchase or lease the property is made any and all appraisal reports produced or acquired by the entity relating specifically to the owner's property and prepared in the 10 years preceding the date of the offer. (1299)

(b) A property owner shall disclose to the entity seeking to acquire the property any and all current and existing appraisal reports produced or acquired by the property owner relating specifically to the owner's property and used in determining the owner's opinion of value. Such disclosure shall take place not later than the earlier of: (1300)

(1) the 10th day after the date of receipt of an appraisal report; or (1301)

(2) the third business day before the date of a special commissioner's hearing if an appraisal report is to be used at the hearing. (1302)

(c) An entity seeking to acquire property that the entity is authorized to obtain through the use of eminent domain may not include a confidentiality provision in an offer or agreement to acquire the property. The entity shall inform the owner of the property that the owner has the right to: (1303)

(1) discuss any offer or agreement regarding the entity's acquisition of the property with others; or (1304)

(2) keep the offer or agreement confidential, unless the offer or agreement is subject to Chapter 552, Government Code. (1305)

(d) A subsequent bona fide purchaser for value from the acquiring entity may conclusively presume that the requirement of this section has been met. This section does not apply to acquisitions of real property for which an entity does not have eminent domain authority. (1306)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 566, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1995. (1307)

Amended by: (1308)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2011. (1309)

Sec. 21.0112. PROVISION OF LANDOWNER'S BILL OF RIGHTS STATEMENT REQUIRED. (1310)(1-click HTML)

(a) Not later than the seventh day before the date a governmental or private entity with eminent domain authority makes a final offer to a property owner to acquire real property, the entity must send by first-class mail or otherwise provide a landowner's bill of rights statement provided by Section 402.031, Government Code, to the last known address of the person in whose name the property is listed on the most recent tax roll of any appropriate taxing unit authorized by law to levy property taxes against the property. In addition to the other requirements of this subsection, an entity with eminent domain authority shall provide a copy of the landowner's bill of rights statement to a landowner before or at the same time as the entity first represents in any manner to the landowner that the entity possesses eminent domain authority. (1311)

(b) The statement must be: (1312)

(1) printed in an easily readable font and type size; and (1313)

(2) if the entity is a governmental entity, made available on the Internet website of the entity if technologically feasible. (1314)

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1201 (H.B. 1495), Sec. 3, eff. February 1, 2008. (1315)

Amended by: (1316)

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1145 (H.B. 2685), Sec. 1, eff. January 15, 2010. (1317)

Sec. 21.0113. BONA FIDE OFFER REQUIRED. (1318)(1-click HTML)

(a) An entity with eminent domain authority that wants to acquire real property for a public use must make a bona fide offer to acquire the property from the property owner voluntarily. (1319)

(b) An entity with eminent domain authority has made a bona fide offer if: (1320)

(1) an initial offer is made in writing to a property owner; (1321)

(2) a final offer is made in writing to the property owner; (1322)

(3) the final offer is made on or after the 30th day after the date on which the entity makes a written initial offer to the property owner; (1323)

(4) before making a final offer, the entity obtains a written appraisal from a certified appraiser of the value of the property being acquired and the damages, if any, to any of the property owner's remaining property; (1324)

(5) the final offer is equal to or greater than the amount of the written appraisal obtained by the entity; (1325)

(6) the following items are included with the final offer or have been previously provided to the owner by the entity: (1326)

(A) a copy of the written appraisal; (1327)

(B) a copy of the deed, easement, or other instrument conveying the property sought to be acquired; and (1328)

(C) the landowner's bill of rights statement prescribed by Section 21.0112; and (1329)

(7) the entity provides the property owner with at least 14 days to respond to the final offer and the property owner does not agree to the terms of the final offer within that period. (1330)

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2011. (1331)

Sec. 21.012. CONDEMNATION PETITION. (1332)(1-click HTML)

(a) If an entity with eminent domain authority wants to acquire real property for public use but is unable to agree with the owner of the property on the amount of damages, the entity may begin a condemnation proceeding by filing a petition in the proper court. (1333)

(b) The petition must: (1334)

(1) describe the property to be condemned; (1335)

(2) state with specificity the public use for which the entity intends to acquire the property; (1336)

(3) state the name of the owner of the property if the owner is known; (1337)

(4) state that the entity and the property owner are unable to agree on the damages; (1338)

(5) if applicable, state that the entity provided the property owner with the landowner's bill of rights statement in accordance with Section 21.0112; and (1339)

(6) state that the entity made a bona fide offer to acquire the property from the property owner voluntarily as provided by Section 21.0113. (1340)

(c) An entity that files a petition under this section must provide a copy of the petition to the property owner by certified mail, return receipt requested. (1341)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3498, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1342)

Amended by: (1343)

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1201 (H.B. 1495), Sec. 4, eff. February 1, 2008. (1344)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2011. (1345)

Sec. 21.0121. CONDEMNATION TO ACQUIRE WATER RIGHTS. (1346)(1-click HTML)

(a) In addition to the contents prescribed by Section 21.012(b), a condemnation petition filed by a political subdivision of this state for the purpose of acquiring rights to groundwater or surface water must state that the facts to be proven are that the political subdivision has: (1347)

(1) prepared a drought contingency plan; (1348)

(2) developed and implemented a water conservation plan that will result in the highest practicable levels of water conservation and efficiency achievable in the political subdivision's jurisdiction; (1349)

(3) made a bona fide good faith effort to obtain practicable alternative water supplies to the water rights the political subdivision proposes to condemn; (1350)

(4) made a bona fide good faith effort to acquire the rights to the water the political subdivision proposes to condemn by voluntary purchase or lease; and (1351)

(5) made a showing that the political subdivision needs the water rights to provide for the domestic needs of the political subdivision within the next 10-year period. (1352)

(b) A court shall deny the right to condemn unless the political subdivision proves to the court that the political subdivision has met the requirements of Subsection (a). (1353)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1032, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (1354)

Sec. 21.013. VENUE; FEES AND PROCESSING FOR SUIT FILED IN DISTRICT COURT. (1355)(1-click HTML)

(a) The venue of a condemnation proceeding is the county in which the owner of the property being condemned resides if the owner resides in a county in which part of the property is located. Otherwise, the venue of a condemnation proceeding is any county in which at least part of the property is located. (1356)

(b) Except where otherwise provided by law, a party initiating a condemnation proceeding in a county in which there is one or more county courts at law with jurisdiction shall file the petition with any clerk authorized to handle such filings for that court or courts. (1357)

(c) A party initiating a condemnation proceeding in a county in which there is not a county court at law must file the condemnation petition with the district clerk. The filing fee shall be due at the time of filing in accordance with Section 51.317, Government Code. (1358)

(d) District and county clerks shall assign an equal number of eminent domain cases in rotation to each court with jurisdiction that the clerk serves. (1359)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3499, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 760, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 756, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 1999. (1360)

Sec. 21.014. SPECIAL COMMISSIONERS. (1361)(1-click HTML)

(a) The judge of a court in which a condemnation petition is filed or to which an eminent domain case is assigned shall appoint three disinterested real property owners who reside in the county as special commissioners to assess the damages of the owner of the property being condemned. The judge appointing the special commissioners shall give preference to persons agreed on by the parties. The judge shall provide each party a reasonable period to strike one of the three commissioners appointed by the judge. If a person fails to serve as a commissioner or is struck by a party to the suit, the judge shall appoint a replacement. (1362)

(b) The special commissioners shall swear to assess damages fairly, impartially, and according to the law. (1363)

(c) Special commissioners may compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of testimony, administer oaths, and punish for contempt in the same manner as a county judge. (1364)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3499, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1365)

Amended by: (1366)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 10, eff. September 1, 2011. (1367)

Sec. 21.015. HEARING. (1368)(1-click HTML)

(a) The special commissioners in an eminent domain proceeding shall promptly schedule a hearing for the parties at the earliest practical time but may not schedule a hearing to assess damages before the 20th day after the date the special commissioners were appointed. The special commissioners shall schedule a hearing for the parties at a place that is as near as practical to the property being condemned or at the county seat of the county in which the proceeding is being held. (1369)

(b) After notice of the hearing has been served, the special commissioners shall hear the parties at the scheduled time and place or at any other time or place to which they may adjourn the hearing. (1370)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3500, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1371)

Amended by: (1372)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 11, eff. September 1, 2011. (1373)

Sec. 21.016. NOTICE. (1374)(1-click HTML)

(a) Each party in an eminent domain proceeding is entitled to written notice issued by the special commissioners informing the party of the time and place of the hearing. (1375)

(b) Notice of the hearing must be served on a party not later than the 20th day before the day set for the hearing. A person competent to testify may serve the notice. (1376)

(c) A person who serves a notice shall return the original notice to the special commissioners on or before the day set for hearing. The person shall write a return of service on the notice that states how and when it was served. (1377)

(d) Notice may be served: (1378)

(1) by delivering a copy of the notice to the party or to the party's agent or attorney; (1379)

(2) if the property being condemned belongs to a deceased's estate or to a minor or other legally disabled person and the person or estate has a legal representative, by delivering a copy of the notice to the legal representative; or (1380)

(3) if the property being condemned belongs to a nonresident of this state and there has been no personal service on the owner, if the identity or the residence of the property owner is unknown, or if the property owner avoids service of notice by hiding, by publication in the same manner as service of citation by publication in other civil cases in the district courts or county courts at law. (1381)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3500, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1382)

Amended by: (1383)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 12, eff. September 1, 2011. (1384)

Sec. 21.017. ALTERNATIVE PLEADINGS. (1385)(1-click HTML)

(a) This state, a political subdivision of this state, a person, an association of persons, or a corporation that is a party to a suit covered by Section 21.003 of this code by petition, cross-bill, or plea of intervention may assert a claim to the property or, alternatively, seek to condemn the property. (1386)

(b) A plea under this section is not an admission of an adverse party's title to the property in controversy. (1387)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3501, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1388)

Sec. 21.018. APPEAL FROM COMMISSIONERS' FINDINGS. (1389)(1-click HTML)

(a) A party to a condemnation proceeding may object to the findings of the special commissioners by filing a written statement of the objections and their grounds with the court that has jurisdiction of the proceeding. The statement must be filed on or before the first Monday following the 20th day after the day the commissioners file their findings with the court. (1390)

(b) If a party files an objection to the findings of the special commissioners, the court shall cite the adverse party and try the case in the same manner as other civil causes. (1391)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3501 ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1392)

Sec. 21.019. DISMISSAL OF CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS. (1393)(1-click HTML)

(a) A party that files a condemnation petition may move to dismiss the proceedings, and the court shall conduct a hearing on the motion. However, after the special commissioners have made an award, in an effort to obtain a lower award a condemnor may not dismiss the condemnation proceedings merely to institute new proceedings that involve substantially the same condemnation against the same property owner. (1394)

(b) A court that hears and grants a motion to dismiss a condemnation proceeding made by a condemnor under Subsection (a) shall make an allowance to the property owner for reasonable and necessary fees for attorneys, appraisers, and photographers and for the other expenses incurred by the property owner to the date of the hearing. (1395)

(c) A court that hears and grants a motion to dismiss a condemnation proceeding made by a property owner seeking a judicial denial of the right to condemn or that otherwise renders a judgment denying the right to condemn may make an allowance to the property owner for reasonable and necessary fees for attorneys, appraisers, and photographers and for the other expenses incurred by the property owner to the date of the hearing or judgment. (1396)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3501, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 483, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1987. (1397)

Sec. 21.0195. DISMISSAL OF CERTAIN CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS; TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. (1398)(1-click HTML)

(a) This section applies only to the dismissal of a condemnation proceeding that involves the Texas Department of Transportation. (1399)

(b) The department may move to dismiss a proceeding it files, and the court shall conduct a hearing on the motion. The court may grant the motion only if the court determines that the property owner's interest will not be materially affected by the dismissal. The department may not dismiss the condemnation proceedings merely to institute new proceedings that involve substantially the same condemnation against the same property owner solely to obtain a lower condemnation award. (1400)

(c) If a court dismisses a condemnation proceeding on the motion of the department or as a result of the failure of the department to bring the proceeding properly, the court shall make an allowance to the property owner for the value of the department's use of the property while in possession of the property, any damage that the condemnation has caused to the property owner, and any expenses the property owner has incurred in connection with the condemnation, including reasonable and necessary fees for attorneys. (1401)

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1171, Sec. 1.46(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (1402)

Sec. 21.020. REINSTATEMENT OF CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS. (1403)(1-click HTML)

If a condemnor moves to dismiss a condemnation proceeding and subsequently files a petition to condemn substantially the same property interest from the same property owner, the court may not appoint new special commissioners but shall enter the award of the special commissioners in the first proceeding as the award in the second. The court shall award the property owner triple the amount of the expenses that were allowed the property owner prior to the dismissal of the first proceeding. (1404)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3502, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1405)

Sec. 21.021. POSSESSION PENDING LITIGATION. (1406)(1-click HTML)

(a) After the special commissioners have made an award in a condemnation proceeding, except as provided by Subsection (c) of this section, the condemnor may take possession of the condemned property pending the results of further litigation if the condemnor: (1407)

(1) pays to the property owner the amount of damages and costs awarded by the special commissioners or deposits that amount of money with the court subject to the order of the property owner; (1408)

(2) deposits with the court either the amount of money awarded by the special commissioners as damages or a surety bond in the same amount issued by a surety company qualified to do business in this state, conditioned to secure the payment of an award of damages by the court in excess of the award of the special commissioners; and (1409)

(3) executes a bond that has two or more good and solvent sureties approved by the judge of the court in which the proceeding is pending and conditioned to secure the payment of additional costs that may be awarded to the property owner by the trial court or on appeal. (1410)

(b) A court shall hold money or a bond deposited under Subdivision (1) or (2) of Subsection (a) to secure the payment of the damages that have been or that may be awarded against the condemnor. (1411)

(c) This state, a county, or a municipal corporation or an irrigation, water improvement, or water power control district created under legal authority is not required to deposit a bond or the amount equal to the award of damages under Subdivisions (2) and (3) of Subsection (a). (1412)

(d) If a condemnor deposits money with a court under Subdivision (2) of Subsection (a), the condemnor may instruct the court to deposit or invest the money in any account with or certificate or security issued by a state or national bank in this state. The court shall pay the interest that accrues from the deposit or investment to the condemnor. (1413)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3502, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1984, 68th Leg., 2nd C.S., ch. 18, Sec. 1(b), eff. Oct. 2, 1984. (1414)

Sec. 21.0211. PAYMENT OF AD VALOREM TAXES. (1415)(1-click HTML)

(a) A court may not authorize withdrawal of any money deposited under Section 21.021 unless the petitioner for the money files with the court: (1416)

(1) a tax certificate issued under Section 31.08, Tax Code, by the tax collector for each taxing unit that imposes ad valorem taxes on the condemned property showing that there are no delinquent taxes, penalties, interest, or costs owing on the condemned property or on any larger tract of which the condemned property forms a part; and (1417)

(2) in the case of a whole taking that occurs after the date the ad valorem tax bill for taxes imposed by a taxing unit on the property is sent, a tax receipt issued under Section 31.075, Tax Code, by the tax collector of the taxing unit that imposes ad valorem taxes showing that the taxes on the condemned property for the current tax year, prorated under Section 26.11, Tax Code, have been paid. (1418)

(b) For purposes of Subsection (a)(2), a "case of a whole taking" means a case in which the location, size, and boundaries of the property assessed for ad valorem taxes are identical to that of the condemned property. (1419)

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1126 (H.B. 2491), Sec. 27, eff. September 1, 2005. (1420)

Sec. 21.022. AUTHORITY OF COURTS. (1421)(1-click HTML)

Laws that formerly governed the performance of functions by county clerks and judges in eminent domain proceedings are applicable to the clerks and judges of district courts and county courts at law. (1422)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3503, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1423)

Sec. 21.023. DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION REQUIRED AT TIME OF ACQUISITION. (1424)(1-click HTML)

An entity with eminent domain authority shall disclose in writing to the property owner, at the time of acquisition of the property through eminent domain, that: (1425)

(1) the owner or the owner's heirs, successors, or assigns may be entitled to: (1426)

(A) repurchase the property under Subchapter E; or (1427)

(B) request from the entity certain information relating to the use of the property and any actual progress made toward that use; and (1428)

(2) the repurchase price is the price paid to the owner by the entity at the time the entity acquired the property through eminent domain. (1429)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1307, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2004. (1430)

Amended by: (1431)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 13, eff. September 1, 2011. (1432)

Sec. 21.025. PRODUCTION OF INFORMATION BY CERTAIN ENTITIES. (1433)(1-click HTML)

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, an entity that is not subject to Chapter 552, Government Code, and is authorized by law to acquire private property through the use of eminent domain is required to produce information as provided by this section if the information is: (1434)

(1) requested by a person who owns property that is the subject of a proposed or existing eminent domain proceeding; and (1435)

(2) related to the taking of the person's private property by the entity through the use of eminent domain. (1436)

(b) An entity described by Subsection (a) is required under this section only to produce information relating to the condemnation of the specific property owned by the requestor as described in the request. A request under this section must contain sufficient details to allow the entity to identify the specific tract of land in relation to which the information is sought. (1437)

(c) The entity shall respond to a request in accordance with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure as if the request was made in a matter pending before a state district court. (1438)

(d) Exceptions to disclosure provided by this chapter and the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure apply to the disclosure of information under this section. (1439)

(e) Jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of this section resides in: (1440)

(1) the court in which the condemnation was initiated; or (1441)

(2) if the condemnation proceeding has not been initiated: (1442)

(A) a court that would have jurisdiction over a proceeding to condemn the requestor's property; or (1443)

(B) a court with eminent domain jurisdiction in the county in which the entity has its principal place of business. (1444)

(f) If the entity refuses to produce information requested in accordance with this section and the court determines that the refusal violates this section, the court may award the requestor's reasonable attorney's fees incurred to compel the production of the information. (1445)

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 14, eff. September 1, 2011. (1446)

SUBCHAPTER C. DAMAGES AND COSTS (1447)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 21.041. EVIDENCE. (1448)(1-click HTML)

As the basis for assessing actual damages to a property owner from a condemnation, the special commissioners shall admit evidence on: (1449)

(1) the value of the property being condemned; (1450)

(2) the injury to the property owner; (1451)

(3) the benefit to the property owner's remaining property; and (1452)

(4) the use of the property for the purpose of the condemnation. (1453)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3504, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1454)

Sec. 21.042. ASSESSMENT OF DAMAGES. (1455)(1-click HTML)

(a) The special commissioners shall assess damages in a condemnation proceeding according to the evidence presented at the hearing. (1456)

(b) If an entire tract or parcel of real property is condemned, the damage to the property owner is the local market value of the property at the time of the special commissioners' hearing. (1457)

(c) If a portion of a tract or parcel of real property is condemned, the special commissioners shall determine the damage to the property owner after estimating the extent of the injury and benefit to the property owner, including the effect of the condemnation on the value of the property owner's remaining property. (1458)

(d) In estimating injury or benefit under Subsection (c), the special commissioners shall consider an injury or benefit that is peculiar to the property owner and that relates to the property owner's ownership, use, or enjoyment of the particular parcel of real property, including a material impairment of direct access on or off the remaining property that affects the market value of the remaining property, but they may not consider an injury or benefit that the property owner experiences in common with the general community, including circuity of travel and diversion of traffic. In this subsection, "direct access" means ingress and egress on or off a public road, street, or highway at a location where the remaining property adjoins that road, street, or highway. (1459)

(e) If a portion of a tract or parcel of real property is condemned for the use, construction, operation, or maintenance of the state highway system or of a county toll project described by Chapter 284, Transportation Code, that is eligible for designation as part of the state highway system, or for the use, construction, development, operation, or maintenance of an improvement or project by a metropolitan rapid transit authority created before January 1, 1980, with a principal municipality having a population of less than 1.9 million and established under Chapter 451, Transportation Code, the special commissioners shall determine the damage to the property owner regardless of whether the property owner makes a claim for damages to the remaining property. In awarding compensation or assessing the damages, the special commissioners shall consider any special and direct benefits that arise from the highway improvement or the transit authority improvement or project that are peculiar to the property owner and that relate to the property owner's ownership, use, or enjoyment of the particular parcel of remaining real property. (1460)

(f) In awarding compensation or assessing damages for a condemnation by an institution of higher education, as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code, the special commissioners may not include in the compensation or damages any amount that compensates for, or is based on the present value of, an exemption from ad valorem taxation applicable to the property before its condemnation. (1461)

(g) Notwithstanding Subsection (d), if a portion of a tract or parcel of real property that, for the then current tax year was appraised for ad valorem tax purposes under a law enacted under Section 1-d or 1-d-1, Article VIII, Texas Constitution, and is outside the municipal limits or the extraterritorial jurisdiction of a municipality with a population of 5,000 or more is condemned for state highway purposes, the special commissioners shall consider the loss of reasonable access to or from the remaining property in determining the damage to the property owner. (1462)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3504, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1984, 68th Leg., 2nd C.S., ch. 29, Sec. 1, eff. Oct. 2, 1984; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 734, Sec. 5, eff. June 15, 1989; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.244, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 669, Sec. 117, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1266, Sec. 1.15, eff. June 20, 2003. (1463)

Amended by: (1464)

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 281 (H.B. 2702), Sec. 2.94, eff. June 14, 2005. (1465)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 15, eff. September 1, 2011. (1466)

Sec. 21.0421. ASSESSMENT OF DAMAGES: GROUNDWATER RIGHTS. (1467)(1-click HTML)

(a) In a condemnation proceeding initiated by a political subdivision under this chapter, the special commissioners or court shall admit evidence relating to the market value of groundwater rights as property apart from the land in addition to the local market value of the real property if: (1468)

(1) the political subdivision proposes to condemn the fee title of real property; and (1469)

(2) the special commissioners or court finds, based on evidence submitted at the hearing, that the real property may be used by the political subdivision to develop or use the rights to groundwater for a public purpose. (1470)

(b) The evidence submitted under Subsection (a) on the market value of the groundwater rights as property apart from the land shall be based on generally accepted appraisal methods and techniques, including the methods of appraisal under Subchapter A, Chapter 23, Tax Code. (1471)

(c) If the special commissioners or court finds that the real property may be used by the political subdivision to develop or use the rights to groundwater for a public purpose, the special commissioners or court may assess damages to the property owner based on: (1472)

(1) the local market value of the real property, excluding the value of the groundwater in place, at the time of the hearing; and (1473)

(2) the market value of the groundwater rights as property apart from the land at the time of the hearing. (1474)

(d) In assessing damages based on the market value of groundwater rights under Subsection (c)(2), the special commissioners or court shall consider: (1475)

(1) the amount of groundwater the political subdivision can reasonably be expected to produce from the property on an annual basis; (1476)

(2) the number of years the political subdivision can reasonably be expected to produce groundwater from the property; (1477)

(3) the quality of the groundwater; (1478)

(4) the location of the real property in relation to the political subdivision for conveyance purposes; (1479)

(5) any potential environmental impact of producing groundwater from the real property; (1480)

(6) whether or not the real property is located within the boundaries of a political subdivision that can regulate the production of groundwater from the real property; (1481)

(7) the cost of alternative water supplies to the political subdivision; and (1482)

(8) any other reasonable factor that affects the market value of a groundwater right. (1483)

(e) This section does not: (1484)

(1) authorize groundwater rights appraised separately from the real property under this section to be appraised separately from real property for property tax appraisal purposes; or (1485)

(2) subject real property condemned for the purpose described by Subsection (a) to an additional tax as provided by Section 23.46 or 23.55, Tax Code. (1486)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1032, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (1487)

Sec. 21.043. DISPLACEMENT FROM DWELLING OR PLACE OF BUSINESS. (1488)(1-click HTML)

(a) A property owner who is permanently physically displaced from the property owner's dwelling or place of business and who is not entitled to reimbursement for moving expenses under another law may recover, in addition to the property owner's other damages, the reasonable expenses of moving the property owner's personal property from the dwelling or place of business. (1489)

(b) A recovery under this section may not exceed the market value of the property being moved. The maximum distance of movement to be considered is 50 miles. (1490)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3504, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1491)

Sec. 21.044. DAMAGES FROM TEMPORARY POSSESSION. (1492)(1-click HTML)

(a) If a court finally determines that a condemnor who has taken possession of property pending litigation did not have the right to condemn the property, the court may award to the property owner the damages that resulted from the temporary possession. (1493)

(b) The court may order the payment of damages awarded under this section from the award or other money deposited with the court. However, if the award paid to or appropriated by the property owner exceeds the court's final determination of the value of the property, the court shall order the property owner to return the excess to the condemnor. (1494)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3505, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1495)

Sec. 21.045. TITLE ACQUIRED. (1496)(1-click HTML)

Except where otherwise expressly provided by law, the interest acquired by a condemnor under this chapter does not include the fee simple title to real property, either public or private. An interest acquired by a condemnor is not lost by the forfeiture or expiration of the condemnor's charter and is subject to an extension of the charter or the grant of a new charter without a new condemnation. (1497)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3505, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1498)

Sec. 21.046. RELOCATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. (1499)(1-click HTML)

(a) A department, agency, instrumentality, or political subdivision of this state shall provide a relocation advisory service for an individual, a family, a business concern, a farming or ranching operation, or a nonprofit organization that is compatible with the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, 42 U.S.C.A. 4601, et seq. (1500)

(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state shall, as a cost of acquiring real property, pay moving expenses and rental supplements, make relocation payments, provide financial assistance to acquire replacement housing, and compensate for expenses incidental to the transfer of the property if an individual, a family, the personal property of a business, a farming or ranching operation, or a nonprofit organization is displaced in connection with the acquisition. (1501)

(c) A department, agency, instrumentality, or political subdivision of this state that initiates a program under Subsection (b) shall adopt rules relating to the administration of the program. (1502)

(d) Neither this state nor a political subdivision of this state may authorize expenditures under Subsection (b) that exceed payments authorized under the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, 42 U.S.C.A. 4601, et seq. (1503)

(e) If a person moves or discontinues the person's business, moves personal property, or moves from the person's dwelling as a direct result of code enforcement, rehabilitation, or a demolition program, the person is considered to be displaced because of the acquisition of real property. (1504)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3505, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1505)

Amended by: (1506)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 16, eff. September 1, 2011. (1507)

Sec. 21.047. ASSESSMENT OF COSTS AND FEES. (1508)(1-click HTML)

(a) Special commissioners may adjudge the costs of an eminent domain proceeding against any party. If the commissioners award greater damages than the condemnor offered to pay before the proceedings began or if the decision of the commissioners is appealed and a court awards greater damages than the commissioners awarded, the condemnor shall pay all costs. If the commissioners' award or the court's determination of the damages is less than or equal to the amount the condemnor offered before proceedings began, the property owner shall pay the costs. (1509)

(b) A condemnor shall pay the initial cost of serving a property owner with notice of a condemnation proceeding. If the property owner is ordered to pay the costs of the proceeding, the condemnor may recover the expense of notice from the property owner as part of the costs. (1510)

(c) A court that has jurisdiction of an eminent domain proceeding may tax $10 or more as a reasonable fee for each special commissioner as part of the court costs of the proceeding. (1511)

(d) If a court hearing a suit under this chapter determines that a condemnor did not make a bona fide offer to acquire the property from the property owner voluntarily as required by Section 21.0113, the court shall abate the suit, order the condemnor to make a bona fide offer, and order the condemnor to pay: (1512)

(1) all costs as provided by Subsection (a); and (1513)

(2) any reasonable attorney's fees and other professional fees incurred by the property owner that are directly related to the violation. (1514)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3506, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1515)

Amended by: (1516)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 17, eff. September 1, 2011. (1517)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 18, eff. September 1, 2011. (1518)

Sec. 21.048. STATEMENT OF DAMAGES AND COSTS. (1519)(1-click HTML)

After the special commissioners in an eminent domain proceeding have assessed the damages, they shall: (1520)

(1) make a written statement of their decision stating the damages, date it, sign it, and file it and all other papers connected with the proceeding with the court on the day the decision is made or on the next working day after the day the decision is made; and (1521)

(2) make and sign a written statement of the accrued costs of the proceeding, naming the party against whom the costs are adjudged, and file the statement with the court. (1522)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3507, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1984, 68th Leg., 2nd C.S., ch. 18, Sec. 1(c), eff. Oct. 2, 1984. (1523)

Sec. 21.049. NOTICE OF DECISION OF SPECIAL COMMISSIONERS. (1524)(1-click HTML)

The judge of a court hearing a proceeding under this chapter shall inform the clerk of the court as to a decision by the special commissioners on the day the decision is filed or on the next working day after the day the decision is filed. Not later than the next working day after the day the decision is filed, the clerk shall send notice of the decision by certified or registered United States mail, return receipt requested, to the parties in the proceeding, or to their attorneys of record, at their addresses of record. (1525)

Added by Acts 1984, 68th Leg., 2nd C.S., ch. 18, Sec. 1(d), eff. Oct. 2, 1984. (1526)

SUBCHAPTER D. JUDGMENT (1527)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 21.061. JUDGMENT ON COMMISSIONERS' FINDINGS. (1528)(1-click HTML)

If no party in a condemnation proceeding files timely objections to the findings of the special commissioners, the judge of the court that has jurisdiction of the proceeding shall adopt the commissioners' findings as the judgment of the court, record the judgment in the minutes of the court, and issue the process necessary to enforce the judgment. (1529)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3507, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1530)

Sec. 21.062. WRIT OF POSSESSION. (1531)(1-click HTML)

If a condemnor in a condemnation proceeding has taken possession of property pending litigation and the court finally decides that the condemnor does not have the right to condemn the property, the court shall order the condemnor to surrender possession of the property and issue a writ of possession to the property owner. (1532)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3507, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1533)

Sec. 21.063. APPEAL. (1534)(1-click HTML)

(a) The appeal of a judgment in a condemnation proceeding is as in other civil cases. (1535)

(b) A court hearing an appeal from the decision of a trial court in a condemnation proceeding may not suspend the judgment of the trial court pending the appeal. (1536)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3507, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1537)

Sec. 21.064. INJUNCTIVE RELIEF. (1538)(1-click HTML)

(a) A court hearing a suit covered by Section 21.003 of this code may grant injunctive relief under the rules of equity. (1539)

(b) Instead of granting an injunction under this section, a court may require a condemnor to provide security adequate to compensate the property owner for damages that might result from the condemnation. (1540)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3508, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1541)

Sec. 21.065. VESTED INTEREST. (1542)(1-click HTML)

A judgment of a court under this chapter vests a right granted to a condemnor. (1543)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3508, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1544)

SUBCHAPTER E. REPURCHASE OF REAL PROPERTY FROM CONDEMNING ENTITY (1545)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 21.101. RIGHT OF REPURCHASE. (1546)(1-click HTML)

(a) A person from whom a real property interest is acquired by an entity through eminent domain for a public use, or that person's heirs, successors, or assigns, is entitled to repurchase the property as provided by this subchapter if: (1547)

(1) the public use for which the property was acquired through eminent domain is canceled before the property is used for that public use; (1548)

(2) no actual progress is made toward the public use for which the property was acquired between the date of acquisition and the 10th anniversary of that date; or (1549)

(3) the property becomes unnecessary for the public use for which the property was acquired, or a substantially similar public use, before the 10th anniversary of the date of acquisition. (1550)

(b) In this section, "actual progress" means the completion of two or more of the following actions: (1551)

(1) the performance of a significant amount of labor to develop the property or other property acquired for the same public use project for which the property owner's property was acquired; (1552)

(2) the provision of a significant amount of materials to develop the property or other property acquired for the same public use project for which the property owner's property was acquired; (1553)

(3) the hiring of and performance of a significant amount of work by an architect, engineer, or surveyor to prepare a plan or plat that includes the property or other property acquired for the same public use project for which the property owner's property was acquired; (1554)

(4) application for state or federal funds to develop the property or other property acquired for the same public use project for which the property owner's property was acquired; (1555)

(5) application for a state or federal permit to develop the property or other property acquired for the same public use project for which the property owner's property was acquired; (1556)

(6) the acquisition of a tract or parcel of real property adjacent to the property for the same public use project for which the owner's property was acquired; or (1557)

(7) for a governmental entity, the adoption by a majority of the entity's governing body at a public hearing of a development plan for a public use project that indicates that the entity will not complete more than one action described by Subdivisions (1)-(6) before the 10th anniversary of the date of acquisition of the property. (1558)

(c) A district court may determine all issues in any suit regarding the repurchase of a real property interest acquired through eminent domain by the former property owner or the owner's heirs, successors, or assigns. (1559)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1307, Sec. 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2004. (1560)

Amended by: (1561)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 19, eff. September 1, 2011. (1562)

Sec. 21.102. NOTICE TO PREVIOUS PROPERTY OWNER REQUIRED. (1563)(1-click HTML)

Not later than the 180th day after the date an entity that acquired a real property interest through eminent domain determines that the former property owner is entitled to repurchase the property under Section 21.101, the entity shall send by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the property owner or the owner's heirs, successors, or assigns a notice containing: (1564)

(1) an identification, which is not required to be a legal description, of the property that was acquired; (1565)

(2) an identification of the public use for which the property had been acquired and a statement that: (1566)

(A) the public use was canceled before the property was used for the public use; (1567)

(B) no actual progress was made toward the public use; or (1568)

(C) the property became unnecessary for the public use, or a substantially similar public use, before the 10th anniversary of the date of acquisition; and (1569)

(3) a description of the person's right under this subchapter to repurchase the property. (1570)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1307, Sec. 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2004. (1571)

Amended by: (1572)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 19, eff. September 1, 2011. (1573)

Sec. 21.1021. REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION REGARDING CONDEMNED PROPERTY. (1574)(1-click HTML)

(a) On or after the 10th anniversary of the date on which real property was acquired by an entity through eminent domain, a property owner or the owner's heirs, successors, or assigns may request that the condemning entity make a determination and provide a statement and other relevant information regarding: (1575)

(1) whether the public use for which the property was acquired was canceled before the property was used for the public use; (1576)

(2) whether any actual progress was made toward the public use between the date of acquisition and the 10th anniversary of that date, including an itemized description of the progress made, if applicable; and (1577)

(3) whether the property became unnecessary for the public use, or a substantially similar public use, before the 10th anniversary of the date of acquisition. (1578)

(b) A request under this section must contain sufficient detail to allow the entity to identify the specific tract of land in relation to which the information is sought. (1579)

(c) Not later than the 90th day following the date of receipt of the request for information, the entity shall send a written response by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the requestor. (1580)

Amended by: (1581)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 19, eff. September 1, 2011. (1582)

Sec. 21.1022. LIMITATIONS PERIOD FOR REPURCHASE RIGHT. (1583)(1-click HTML)

Notwithstanding Section 21.103, the right to repurchase provided by this subchapter is extinguished on the first anniversary of the expiration of the period for an entity to provide notice under Section 21.102 if the entity: (1584)

(1) is required to provide notice under Section 21.102; (1585)

(2) makes a good faith effort to locate and provide notice to each person entitled to notice before the expiration of the deadline for providing notice under that section; and (1586)

(3) does not receive a response to any notice provided under that section in the period for response prescribed by Section 21.103. (1587)

Amended by: (1588)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 19, eff. September 1, 2011. (1589)

Sec. 21.103. RESALE OF PROPERTY; PRICE. (1590)(1-click HTML)

(a) Not later than the 180th day after the date of the postmark on a notice sent under Section 21.102 or a response to a request made under Section 21.1021 that indicates that the property owner, or the owner's heirs, successors, or assigns, is entitled to repurchase the property interest in accordance with Section 21.101, the property owner or the owner's heirs, successors, or assigns must notify the entity of the person's intent to repurchase the property interest under this subchapter. (1591)

(b) As soon as practicable after receipt of a notice of intent to repurchase under Subsection (a), the entity shall offer to sell the property interest to the person for the price paid to the owner by the entity at the time the entity acquired the property through eminent domain. The person's right to repurchase the property expires on the 90th day after the date on which the entity makes the offer. (1592)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1307, Sec. 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2004. (1593)

Amended by: (1594)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 81 (S.B. 18), Sec. 19, eff. September 1, 2011. (1595)

CHAPTER 22. TRESPASS TO TRY TITLE (1596)(1-click HTML)

Sec. 22.001. TRESPASS TO TRY TITLE. (1597)(1-click HTML)

(a) A trespass to try title action is the method of determining title to lands, tenements, or other real property. (1598)

(b) The action of ejectment is not available in this state. (1599)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3509, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1600)

Sec. 22.002. TITLE SUFFICIENT TO MAINTAIN ACTION. (1601)(1-click HTML)

A headright certificate, land scrip, bounty warrant, or other evidence of legal right to located and surveyed land is sufficient title to maintain a trespass to try title action. (1602)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3509, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1603)

Sec. 22.003. FINAL JUDGMENT CONCLUSIVE. (1604)(1-click HTML)

A final judgment that establishes title or right to possession in an action to recover real property is conclusive against the party from whom the property is recovered and against a person claiming the property through that party by a title that arises after the action is initiated. (1605)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3509, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1606)

Sec. 22.004. EFFECT OF FORMER LAW. (1607)(1-click HTML)

This chapter does not affect rights that existed before the introduction of the common law in this state. Those rights are defined by the principles of the law in effect at the time the rights accrued. (1608)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3509, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1609)

SUBCHAPTER B. JUDGMENT AND DAMAGES (1610)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 22.021. CLAIM FOR IMPROVEMENTS. (1611)(1-click HTML)

(a) A defendant in a trespass to try title action who is not the rightful owner of the property, but who has possessed the property in good faith and made permanent and valuable improvements to it, is either: (1612)

(1) entitled to recover the amount by which the estimated value of the defendant's improvements exceeds the estimated value of the defendant's use and occupation of and waste or other injury to the property; or (1613)

(2) liable for the amount by which the value of the use and occupation of and waste and other injury to the property exceeds the value of the improvements and for costs. (1614)

(b) In estimating values of improvements or of use and occupation: (1615)

(1) improvements are valued at the time of trial, but only to the extent that the improvements increased the value of the property; and (1616)

(2) use and occupation is valued for the time before the date the action was filed that the defendant was in possession of the property, but excluding the value resulting from the improvements made by the defendant or those under whom the defendant claims. (1617)

(c) The defendant who makes a claim for improvements must plead: (1618)

(1) that the defendant and those under whom the defendant claims have had good faith adverse possession of the property in controversy for at least one year before the date the action began; (1619)

(2) that they or the defendant made permanent and valuable improvements to the property while in possession; (1620)

(3) the grounds for the claim; (1621)

(4) the identity of the improvements; and (1622)

(5) the value of each improvement. (1623)

(d) The defendant is not liable for damages under this section for injuries or for the value of the use and occupation more than two years before the date the action was filed, and the defendant is not liable for damages or for the value of the use and occupation in excess of the value of the improvements. (1624)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3509, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1625)

Sec. 22.022. WRIT OF POSSESSION. (1626)(1-click HTML)

If in a trespass to try title action the plaintiff obtains a judgment for the contested property, but the defendant obtains a judgment for the value of the defendant's improvements in excess of the defendant's liability for use, occupation, and damages, the court may not issue a writ of possession until the first anniversary of the judgment unless the plaintiff pays to the clerk of the court for the benefit of the defendant the amount of the judgment in favor of the defendant plus interest. (1627)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3510, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1628)

Sec. 22.023. FAILURE TO PAY. (1629)(1-click HTML)

(a) If after a trespass to try title action a plaintiff does not pay a judgment awarded to a defendant, plus accrued interest, before the first anniversary of the judgment and if the defendant, before the sixth month after the first anniversary of the judgment, pays the value of the property, less the value of the defendant's improvements, to the clerk of the court for the benefit of the plaintiff, the plaintiff may not obtain a writ of possession or maintain any proceeding against the defendant or the defendant's heirs or assigns for the property awarded to the plaintiff in the trespass to try title action. (1630)

(b) If an eligible defendant does not exercise the option under this section, a plaintiff may apply for a writ of possession as in other cases. (1631)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3511, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1632)

Sec. 22.024. PAYMENTS INTO COURT. (1633)(1-click HTML)

If a party in a trespass to try title action makes a payment to the clerk of a court under this subchapter, the clerk shall enter a dated memorandum of the payment on the page of the record on which the judgment was entered. The clerk shall pay the money on demand to the person entitled to the payment, who shall indicate receipt of the payment by dating and signing the record on the same page on which the judgment was entered. (1634)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3511, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1635)

SUBCHAPTER C. REMOVAL OF IMPROVEMENTS (1636)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 22.041. PLEA FOR REMOVAL OF IMPROVEMENTS. (1637)(1-click HTML)

(a) A defendant in a trespass to try title action who is not the rightful owner of the property in controversy may remove improvements made to the property if: (1638)

(1) the defendant, and those under whom the defendant claims, possessed the property, and made permanent and valuable improvements to it, without intent to defraud; and (1639)

(2) the improvements can be removed without substantial and permanent damage to the property. (1640)

(b) The pleadings of a defendant who seeks to remove improvements must contain: (1641)

(1) a statement that the defendant, and those under whom the defendant claims, adversely possessed the property, and made permanent and valuable improvements to it, without intent to defraud; (1642)

(2) a statement identifying the improvements; and (1643)

(3) an offer to provide a surety bond in an amount and conditioned as required by this section. (1644)

(c) Before removing the improvements, the defendant must post a surety bond in an amount determined by the court, conditioned on the removal of the improvements in a manner that substantially restores the property to the condition it was in before the improvements were made. (1645)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3511, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1646)

Sec. 22.042. REFEREE. (1647)(1-click HTML)

A court that authorizes a defendant in a trespass to try title action to remove improvements shall appoint a referee to supervise the removal. The court may require the referee to make reports to the court concerning the removal. (1648)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3512, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1649)

Sec. 22.043. RETAINED JURISDICTION. (1650)(1-click HTML)

A court that authorizes a defendant in a trespass to try title action to remove improvements retains jurisdiction of the action until the court makes a final disposition of the case and a final determination of the rights, duties, and liabilities of the parties and sureties. (1651)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3512, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1652)

Sec. 22.044. CONDITION FOR REMOVAL. (1653)(1-click HTML)

Before a court in a trespass to try title action authorizes a defendant to remove improvements, the court may require the defendant to satisfy a money judgment in favor of the plaintiff that arises out of a claim of the plaintiff in the action. (1654)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3512, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1655)

Sec. 22.045. CUMULATIVE REMEDIES. (1656)(1-click HTML)

The remedy of removing improvements may be pleaded as an alternative to all other remedies at law or in equity. (1657)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3513, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1658)

CHAPTER 23. PARTITION (1659)(1-click HTML)

Sec. 23.001. PARTITION. (1660)(1-click HTML)

A joint owner or claimant of real property or an interest in real property or a joint owner of personal property may compel a partition of the interest or the property among the joint owners or claimants under this chapter and the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. (1661)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3513, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1662)

Sec. 23.002. VENUE AND JURISDICTION. (1663)(1-click HTML)

(a) A joint owner or a claimant of real property or an interest in real property may bring an action to partition the property or interest in a district court of a county in which any part of the property is located. (1664)

(b) A joint owner of personal property must bring an action to partition the property in a court that has jurisdiction over the value of the property. (1665)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3513, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1666)

Sec. 23.003. EFFECT ON FUTURE INTERESTS. (1667)(1-click HTML)

A partition of real property involving an owner of a life estate or an estate for years and other owners of equal or greater estate does not prejudice the rights of an owner of a reversion or remainder interest. (1668)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3513, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1669)

Sec. 23.004. EFFECT OF PARTITION. (1670)(1-click HTML)

(a) A person allotted a share of or an interest in real property in a partition action holds the property or interest in severalty under the conditions and covenants that applied to the property prior to the partition. (1671)

(b) A court decree confirming a report of commissioners in partition of real property gives a recipient of an interest in the property a title equivalent to a conveyance of the interest by a warranty deed from the other parties in the action. (1672)

(c) Except as provided by this chapter, a partition of real property does not affect a right in the property. (1673)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3513, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. (1674)

Sec. 23.005. FEES. (1675)(1-click HTML)

The judge of a court that hears an action to partition real property shall examine the report of the commissioners appointed to partition the property and shall determine from the report and from evidence submitted by the parties the complexity and difficulty of making the partition. The court shall then award the commissioners, and any surveyor appointed by the court or retained by the commissioners, a reasonable fee for the services rendered. The fees awarded shall be taxed and collected as costs of court in the same manner as the other costs in the action. (1676)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3514, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 443, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991. (1677)

Sec. 23.006. ACCESS EASEMENT FOR PARTITIONED PROPERTY. (1678)(1-click HTML)

(a) Unless waived by the parties in an action to partition property under this chapter, the commissioners appointed to partition property shall grant a nonexclusive access easement on a tract of partitioned property for the purpose of providing reasonable ingress to and egress from an adjoining partitioned tract that does not have a means of access through a public road or an existing easement appurtenant to the tract. The order granting the access easement shall contain a legal description of the easement. (1679)

(b) Unless waived by the parties in writing in a private partition agreement, the property owner of a partitioned tract that has a means of access through a public road or an existing easement appurtenant to the tract shall grant in the private partition agreement a nonexclusive access easement on the owner's partitioned tract for the purpose of providing reasonable ingress to and egress from an adjoining partitioned tract that does not have a means of access through a public road or an existing easement appurtenant to the tract. (1680)

(c) The access easement may not be a width greater than a width prescribed by a municipality or county for a right-of-way on a street or road. The access easement route must be the shortest route to the adjoining tract that: (1681)

(1) causes the least amount of damage to the tract subject to the easement; and (1682)

(2) is located the greatest reasonable distance from the primary residence and related improvements located on the tract subject to the easement. (1683)

(d) The adjoining tract owner who is granted an access easement under this section shall maintain the easement and keep the easement open for public use. (1684)

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 647, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (1685)

CHAPTER 24. FORCIBLE ENTRY AND DETAINER (1686)(1-click HTML)

Sec. 24.001. FORCIBLE ENTRY AND DETAINER. (1687)(1-click HTML)

(a) A person commits a forcible entry and detainer if the person enters the real property of another without legal authority or by force and refuses to surrender possession on demand. (1688)

(b) For the purposes of this chapter, a forcible entry is: (1689)

(1) an entry without the consent of the person in actual possession of the property; (1690)

(2) an entry without the consent of a tenant at will or by sufferance; or (1691)

(3) an entry without the consent of a person who acquired possession by forcible entry. (1692)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3514, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 688, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. (1693)

Sec. 24.002. FORCIBLE DETAINER. (1694)(1-click HTML)

(a) A person who refuses to surrender possession of real property on demand commits a forcible detainer if the person: (1695)

(1) is a tenant or a subtenant wilfully and without force holding over after the termination of the tenant's right of possession; (1696)

(2) is a tenant at will or by sufferance, including an occupant at the time of foreclosure of a lien superior to the tenant's lease; or (1697)

(3) is a tenant of a person who acquired possession by forcible entry. (1698)

(b) The demand for possession must be made in writing by a person entitled to possession of the property and must comply with the requirements for notice to vacate under Section 24.005. (1699)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3514, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 200, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1985; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 688, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. (1700)

Sec. 24.003. SUBSTITUTION OF PARTIES. (1701)(1-click HTML)

If a tenancy for a term expires while the tenant's suit for forcible entry is pending, the landlord may prosecute the suit in the tenant's name for the landlord's benefit and at the landlord's expense. It is immaterial whether the tenant received possession from the landlord or became a tenant after obtaining possession of the property. (1702)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3515, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 891, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1985. (1703)

Sec. 24.004. JURISDICTION; DISMISSAL. (1704)(1-click HTML)

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a justice court in the precinct in which the real property is located has jurisdiction in eviction suits. Eviction suits include forcible entry and detainer and forcible detainer suits. A justice court has jurisdiction to issue a writ of possession under Sections 24.0054(a), (a-2), and (a-3). (1705)

(b) A justice court does not have jurisdiction in a forcible entry and detainer or forcible detainer suit and shall dismiss the suit if the defendant files a sworn statement alleging the suit is based on a deed executed in violation of Chapter 21A, Business & Commerce Code. (1706)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3515, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 891, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1985; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1205, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (1707)

Amended by: (1708)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 958 (H.B. 1111), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2012. (1709)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1242 (S.B. 1320), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2011. (1710)

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 161 (S.B. 1093), Sec. 22.002(28), eff. September 1, 2013. (1711)

Sec. 24.005. NOTICE TO VACATE PRIOR TO FILING EVICTION SUIT. (1712)(1-click HTML)

(a) If the occupant is a tenant under a written lease or oral rental agreement, the landlord must give a tenant who defaults or holds over beyond the end of the rental term or renewal period at least three days' written notice to vacate the premises before the landlord files a forcible detainer suit, unless the parties have contracted for a shorter or longer notice period in a written lease or agreement. A landlord who files a forcible detainer suit on grounds that the tenant is holding over beyond the end of the rental term or renewal period must also comply with the tenancy termination requirements of Section 91.001. (1713)

(b) If the occupant is a tenant at will or by sufferance, the landlord must give the tenant at least three days' written notice to vacate before the landlord files a forcible detainer suit unless the parties have contracted for a shorter or longer notice period in a written lease or agreement. If a building is purchased at a tax foreclosure sale or a trustee's foreclosure sale under a lien superior to the tenant's lease and the tenant timely pays rent and is not otherwise in default under the tenant's lease after foreclosure, the purchaser must give a residential tenant of the building at least 30 days' written notice to vacate if the purchaser chooses not to continue the lease. The tenant is considered to timely pay the rent under this subsection if, during the month of the foreclosure sale, the tenant pays the rent for that month to the landlord before receiving any notice that a foreclosure sale is scheduled during the month or pays the rent for that month to the foreclosing lienholder or the purchaser at foreclosure not later than the fifth day after the date of receipt of a written notice of the name and address of the purchaser that requests payment. Before a foreclosure sale, a foreclosing lienholder may give written notice to a tenant stating that a foreclosure notice has been given to the landlord or owner of the property and specifying the date of the foreclosure. (1714)

(c) If the occupant is a tenant of a person who acquired possession by forcible entry, the landlord must give the person at least three days' written notice to vacate before the landlord files a forcible detainer suit. (1715)

(d) In all situations in which the entry by the occupant was a forcible entry under Section 24.001, the person entitled to possession must give the occupant oral or written notice to vacate before the landlord files a forcible entry and detainer suit. The notice to vacate under this subsection may be to vacate immediately or by a specified deadline. (1716)

(e) If the lease or applicable law requires the landlord to give a tenant an opportunity to respond to a notice of proposed eviction, a notice to vacate may not be given until the period provided for the tenant to respond to the eviction notice has expired. (1717)

(f) Except as provided by Subsection (f-1), the notice to vacate shall be given in person or by mail at the premises in question. Notice in person may be by personal delivery to the tenant or any person residing at the premises who is 16 years of age or older or personal delivery to the premises and affixing the notice to the inside of the main entry door. Notice by mail may be by regular mail, by registered mail, or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the premises in question. (1718)

(f-1) As an alternative to the procedures of Subsection (f), a landlord may deliver the notice to vacate by securely affixing to the outside of the main entry door a sealed envelope that contains the notice and on which is written the tenant's name, address, and in all capital letters, the words "IMPORTANT DOCUMENT" or substantially similar language and, not later than 5 p.m. of the same day, depositing in the mail in the same county in which the premises in question is located a copy of the notice to the tenant if: (1719)

(1) the premises has no mailbox and has a keyless bolting device, alarm system, or dangerous animal that prevents the landlord from entering the premises to affix the notice to vacate to the inside of the main entry door; or (1720)

(2) the landlord reasonably believes that harm to any person would result from personal delivery to the tenant or a person residing at the premises or from personal delivery to the premises by affixing the notice to the inside of the main entry door. (1721)

(f-2) Notice to vacate under Subsection (f-1) is considered delivered on the date the envelope is affixed to the outside of the door and is deposited in the mail, regardless of the date the notice is received. (1722)

(g) The notice period is calculated from the day on which the notice is delivered. (1723)

(h) A notice to vacate shall be considered a demand for possession for purposes of Subsection (b) of Section 24.002. (1724)

(i) If before the notice to vacate is given as required by this section the landlord has given a written notice or reminder to the tenant that rent is due and unpaid, the landlord may include in the notice to vacate required by this section a demand that the tenant pay the delinquent rent or vacate the premises by the date and time stated in the notice. (1725)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3515, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 891, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 688, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1205, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (1726)

Amended by: (1727)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1198 (S.B. 1367), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2016. (1728)

Sec. 24.0051. PROCEDURES APPLICABLE IN SUIT TO EVICT AND RECOVER UNPAID RENT. (1729)(1-click HTML)

(a) In a suit filed in justice court in which the landlord files a sworn statement seeking judgment against a tenant for possession of the premises and unpaid rent, personal service on the tenant or service on the tenant under Rule 742a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, is procedurally sufficient to support a default judgment for possession of the premises and unpaid rent. (1730)

(b) A landlord may recover unpaid rent under this section regardless of whether the tenant vacated the premises after the date the landlord filed the sworn statement and before the date the court renders judgment. (1731)

(c) In a suit to recover possession of the premises, whether or not unpaid rent is claimed, the citation required by Rule 739, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, must include the following notice to the defendant: (1732)

FAILURE TO APPEAR FOR TRIAL MAY RESULT IN A DEFAULT JUDGMENT BEING ENTERED AGAINST YOU. (1733)

(d) In a suit described by Subsection (c), the citation required by Rule 739, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, must include the following notice to the defendant on the first page of the citation in English and Spanish and in conspicuous bold print: (1734)

SUIT TO EVICT (1735)

THIS SUIT TO EVICT INVOLVES IMMEDIATE DEADLINES. A TENANT WHO IS SERVING ON ACTIVE MILITARY DUTY MAY HAVE SPECIAL RIGHTS OR RELIEF RELATED TO THIS SUIT UNDER FEDERAL LAW, INCLUDING THE SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT (50 U.S.C. APP. SECTION 501 ET SEQ.), OR STATE LAW, INCLUDING SECTION 92.017, TEXAS PROPERTY CODE. CALL THE STATE BAR OF TEXAS TOLL-FREE AT 1-877-9TEXBAR IF YOU NEED HELP LOCATING AN ATTORNEY. IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY, YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR FREE OR LOW-COST LEGAL ASSISTANCE. (1736)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1464, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (1737)

Amended by: (1738)

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 712 (S.B. 439), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005. (1739)

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 812 (S.B. 1483), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007. (1740)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 252 (H.B. 1127), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2012. (1741)

Sec. 24.00511. APPEAL BOND FOR CERTAIN EVICTION SUITS. (1742)(1-click HTML)

(a) In a residential eviction suit for nonpayment of rent, the justice court shall state in the court's judgment the amount of the appeal bond, taking into consideration the money required to be paid into the court registry under Section 24.0053. (1743)

(b) In addition to meeting all other requirements of law, the bond must require the surety to provide the surety's contact information, including an address, phone number, and e-mail address, if any. If any of the contact information changes, the surety shall inform the court of the surety's new contact information. (1744)

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1027 (H.B. 1334), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2016. (1745)

Sec. 24.00512. CONTEST OF CERTAIN APPEAL BONDS. (1746)(1-click HTML)

(a) This section does not apply to an appeal bond issued by a corporate surety authorized by the Texas Department of Insurance to engage in business in this state. (1747)

(b) If a party appeals the judgment of a justice court in a residential eviction suit for nonpayment of rent by filing an appeal bond, the opposing party may contest the bond amount, form of the bond, or financial ability of a surety to pay the bond by filing a written notice with the justice court contesting the appeal bond on or before the fifth day after the date the appeal bond is filed and serving a copy on the other party. After the notice is filed, the justice court shall notify the other party and the surety of the contest. (1748)

(c) Not later than the fifth day after the date the contest is filed, the justice court shall hold a hearing to hear evidence to determine whether to approve or disapprove the amount or form of the bond or the surety. (1749)

(d) If a party contests the amount or form of the bond, the contesting party has the burden to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the amount or form of the bond, as applicable, is insufficient. If a party contests the financial ability of a surety to pay the bond, the party filing the bond must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the surety has sufficient nonexempt assets to pay the appeal bond. If the justice court determines that the amount or form of the bond is insufficient or the surety does not have sufficient nonexempt assets to pay the appeal bond, the justice court must disapprove the bond. If the surety fails to appear at the contest hearing, the failure to appear is prima facie evidence that the bond should be disapproved. (1750)

(e) Not later than the fifth day after the date the justice court disapproves an appeal bond, the party appealing may make a cash deposit, file a sworn statement of inability to pay with the justice court, or appeal the decision disapproving the appeal bond to the county court. If the party appealing fails to make a cash deposit, file a sworn statement of inability to pay, or appeal the decision disapproving the appeal bond, the judgment of the justice court becomes final and a writ of possession and other processes to enforce the judgment must be issued on the payment of the required fee. (1751)

(f) If an appeal is filed, the justice court shall transmit to the county court the contest to the appeal bond and all relevant documents. The county court shall docket the appeal, schedule a hearing to be held not later than the fifth day after the date the appeal is docketed, notify the parties and the surety of the hearing time and date, and hear the contest de novo. The failure of the county court to hold a timely hearing is not grounds for approval or denial of the appeal. A writ of possession may not be issued before the county court issues a final decision on the appeal bond. (1752)

(g) After the contest is heard by the county court, the county clerk shall transmit the transcript and records of the case to the justice court. If the county court disapproves the appeal bond, the party may, not later than the fifth day after the date the court disapproves the appeal bond, perfect the appeal of the judgment on the eviction suit by making a cash deposit in the justice court in an amount determined by the county court or by filing a sworn statement of inability to pay with the justice court pursuant to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. If the tenant is the appealing party and a cash deposit in the required amount is not timely made or a sworn statement of inability to pay is not timely filed, the judgment of the justice court becomes final and a writ of possession and other processes to enforce the judgment must be issued on the payment of the required fee. If the landlord is the appealing party and a cash deposit is not timely made or a sworn statement of inability to pay is not timely filed, the judgment of the justice court becomes final. If the appeal bond is approved by the county court, the court shall transmit the transcript and other records of the case to the justice court, and the justice court shall proceed as if the appeal bond was originally approved. (1753)

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1027 (H.B. 1334), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2016. (1754)

Sec. 24.0052. TENANT APPEAL ON PAUPER'S AFFIDAVIT. (1755)(1-click HTML)

(a) If a tenant in a residential eviction suit is unable to pay the costs of appeal or file an appeal bond as required by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the tenant may appeal the judgment of the justice court by filing with the justice court, not later than the fifth day after the date the judgment is signed, a pauper's affidavit sworn before the clerk of the justice court or a notary public that states that the tenant is unable to pay the costs of appeal or file an appeal bond. The affidavit must contain the following information: (1756)

(1) the tenant's identity; (1757)

(2) the nature and amount of the tenant's employment income; (1758)

(3) the income of the tenant's spouse, if applicable and available to the tenant; (1759)

(4) the nature and amount of any governmental entitlement income of the tenant; (1760)

(5) all other income of the tenant; (1761)

(6) the amount of available cash and funds available in savings or checking accounts of the tenant; (1762)

(7) real and personal property owned by the tenant, other than household furnishings, clothes, tools of a trade, or personal effects; (1763)

(8) the tenant's debts and monthly expenses; and (1764)

(9) the number and age of the tenant's dependents and where those dependents reside. (1765)

(b) The justice court shall make available an affidavit form that a person may use to comply with the requirements of Subsection (a). (1766)

(c) The justice court shall promptly notify the landlord if a pauper's affidavit is filed by the tenant. (1767)

(d) A landlord may contest a pauper's affidavit on or before the fifth day after the date the affidavit is filed. If the landlord contests the affidavit, the justice court shall notify the parties and hold a hearing to determine whether the tenant is unable to pay the costs of appeal or file an appeal bond. The hearing shall be held not later than the fifth day after the date the landlord notifies the court clerk of the landlord's contest. At the hearing, the tenant has the burden to prove by competent evidence, including documents or credible testimony of the tenant or others, that the tenant is unable to pay the costs of appeal or file an appeal bond. (1768)

(e) If the justice court approves the pauper's affidavit of a tenant, the tenant is not required to pay the county court filing fee or file an additional affidavit in the county court under Subsection (a). (1769)

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1185 (H.B. 62), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005. (1770)

Sec. 24.00521. CONTEST OF CERTAIN APPEAL BONDS IN COUNTY COURT. (1771)(1-click HTML)

A contest under Section 24.00512 does not preclude a party from contesting the appeal bond in the county court after the county court has jurisdiction over the eviction suit. After the county court has jurisdiction over the eviction suit, the county court may modify the amount or form of the bond and determine the sufficiency of the surety. (1772)

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1027 (H.B. 1334), Sec. 2, eff. January 1, 2016. (1773)

Sec. 24.0053. PAYMENT OF RENT DURING APPEAL OF EVICTION. (1774)(1-click HTML)

(a) If the justice court enters judgment for the landlord in a residential eviction case based on nonpayment of rent, the court shall determine the amount of rent to be paid each rental pay period during the pendency of any appeal and shall note that amount in the judgment. If a portion of the rent is payable by a government agency, the court shall determine and note in the judgment the portion of the rent to be paid by the government agency and the portion to be paid by the tenant. The court's determination shall be in accordance with the terms of the rental agreement and applicable laws and regulations. This subsection does not require or prohibit payment of rent into the court registry or directly to the landlord during the pendency of an appeal of an eviction case based on grounds other than nonpayment of rent. (1775)

(a-1) In an eviction suit for nonpayment of rent, if a tenant files a pauper's affidavit in the period prescribed by Section 24.0052 or an appeal bond pursuant to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the justice court shall provide to the tenant a written notice at the time the pauper's affidavit or appeal bond is filed that contains the following information in bold or conspicuous type: (1776)

(1) the amount of the initial deposit of rent stated in the judgment that the tenant must pay into the justice court registry; (1777)

(2) whether the initial deposit must be paid in cash, cashier's check, or money order, and to whom the cashier's check or money order, if applicable, must be made payable; (1778)

(3) the calendar date by which the initial deposit must be paid into the justice court registry; (1779)

(4) for a court that closes before 5 p.m. on the date specified by Subdivision (3), the time the court closes; and (1780)

(5) a statement that failure to pay the required amount into the justice court registry by the date prescribed by Subdivision (3) may result in the court issuing a writ of possession without a hearing. (1781)

(a-2) The date by which an initial deposit must be paid into the justice court registry under Subsection (a-1)(3) must be within five days of the date the tenant files the pauper's affidavit as required by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. (1782)

(a-3) If a tenant files an appeal bond to appeal an eviction for nonpayment of rent, the tenant must, not later than the fifth day after the date the tenant filed the appeal bond, pay into the justice court registry the amount of rent to be paid in one rental pay period as determined by the court under Subsection (a). If the tenant fails to timely pay that amount into the justice court registry and the transcript has not yet been transmitted to the county court, the plaintiff may request a writ of possession. On request and payment of the applicable fee, the justice court shall issue the writ of possession immediately and without a hearing. Regardless of whether a writ of possession is issued, the justice court shall transmit the transcript and appeal documents to the county court for trial de novo on issues relating to possession, rent, or attorney's fees. (1783)

(a-4) On sworn motion and hearing, the plaintiff in the eviction suit may withdraw money deposited in the court registry before the final determination in the case, dismissal of the appeal, or order of the court after final hearing. The county court shall give precedence to a hearing or motion under this subsection. (1784)

(b) If an eviction case is based on nonpayment of rent and the tenant appeals by filing a pauper's affidavit, the tenant shall pay the rent, as it becomes due, into the justice court or the county court registry, as applicable, during the pendency of the appeal, in accordance with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and Subsection (a). If a government agency is responsible for all or a portion of the rent under an agreement with the landlord, the tenant shall pay only that portion of the rent determined by the justice court under Subsection (a) to be paid by the tenant during appeal, subject to either party's right to contest that determination under Subsection (c). (1785)

(c) If an eviction case is based on nonpayment of rent and the tenant's rent during the rental agreement term has been paid wholly or partly by a government agency, either party may contest the portion of the rent that the justice court determines must be paid into the county court registry by the tenant under this section. The contest must be filed on or before the fifth day after the date the justice signs the judgment. If a contest is filed, not later than the fifth day after the date the contest is filed the justice court shall notify the parties and hold a hearing to determine the amount owed by the tenant in accordance with the terms of the rental agreement and applicable laws and regulations. After hearing the evidence, the justice court shall determine the portion of the rent that must be paid by the tenant under this section. (1786)

(d) If the tenant objects to the justice court's ruling under Subsection (c) on the portion of the rent to be paid by the tenant during appeal, the tenant shall be required to pay only the portion claimed by the tenant to be owed by the tenant until the issue is tried de novo along with the case on the merits in county court. During the pendency of the appeal, either party may file a motion with the county court to reconsider the amount of the rent that must be paid by the tenant into the registry of the court. (1787)

(e) If either party files a contest under Subsection (c) and the tenant files a pauper's affidavit that is contested by the landlord under Section 24.0052(d), the justice court shall hold the hearing on both contests at the same time. (1788)

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1185 (H.B. 62), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005. (1789)

Amended by: (1790)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 958 (H.B. 1111), Sec. 2, eff. January 1, 2012. (1791)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1027 (H.B. 1334), Sec. 3, eff. January 1, 2016. (1792)

Sec. 24.0054. TENANT'S FAILURE TO PAY RENT DURING APPEAL. (1793)(1-click HTML)

(a) During an appeal of an eviction case for nonpayment of rent, the justice court on request shall immediately issue a writ of possession, without hearing, if: (1794)

(1) a tenant fails to pay the initial rent deposit into the justice court registry within five days of the date the tenant filed a pauper's affidavit as required by Rule 749b(1), Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, and Section 24.0053; (1795)

(2) the justice court has provided the written notice required by Section 24.0053(a-1); and (1796)

(3) the justice court has not yet forwarded the transcript and original papers to the county court as provided by Subsection (a-2). (1797)

(a-1) The sheriff or constable shall execute a writ of possession under Subsection (a) in accordance with Sections 24.0061(d) through (h). The landlord shall bear the costs of issuing and executing the writ of possession. (1798)

(a-2) The justice court shall forward the transcript and original papers in an appeal of an eviction case to the county court but may not forward the transcript and original papers before the sixth day after the date the tenant files a pauper's affidavit, except that, if the court confirms that the tenant has timely paid the initial deposit of rent into the justice court registry in accordance with Section 24.0053, the court may forward the transcript and original papers immediately. If the tenant has not timely paid the initial deposit into the justice court registry, the justice court on request shall issue a writ of possession notwithstanding the fact that the tenant has perfected an appeal by filing a pauper's affidavit that has been approved by the court. The justice court shall forward the transcript and original papers in the case to the county court for trial de novo, notwithstanding the fact that a writ of possession under this section has already been issued. (1799)

(a-3) Notwithstanding Subsections (a) and (a-2), the justice court may not issue a writ of possession if the tenant has timely deposited the tenant's portion of the rent claimed by the tenant under Section 24.0053(d). (1800)

(a-4) During an appeal of an eviction case for nonpayment of rent, if a tenant fails to pay rent into the justice court or county court registry as the rent becomes due under the rental agreement in accordance with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and Section 24.0053, the landlord may file with the county court a sworn motion that the tenant failed to pay rent as required. The landlord shall notify the tenant of the motion and the hearing date. (1801)

(b) If the county court finds that the tenant has not complied with the payment requirements of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and Section 24.0053, the county court shall immediately issue a writ of possession unless on or before the day of the hearing the tenant pays into the court registry: (1802)

(1) all rent not paid in accordance with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and Section 24.0053; and (1803)

(2) the landlord's reasonable attorney's fees, if any, in filing the motion. (1804)

(c) If the court finds that a tenant has failed to timely pay the rent into the court registry on more than one occasion: (1805)

(1) the tenant is not entitled to stay the issuance of the writ by paying the rent and the landlord's reasonable attorney's fees, if any; and (1806)

(2) the county court shall immediately issue a writ of possession. (1807)

(d) A writ of possession issued under Subsection (c) may not be executed before the sixth day after the date the writ is issued. (1808)

(e) In a motion or hearing under Subsection (a-4), or in a motion to dismiss an appeal of an eviction case in county court, the parties may represent themselves or be represented by their authorized agents, who need not be attorneys. (1809)

(f) During the appeal of an eviction case, if a government agency is responsible for payment of a portion of the rent and does not pay that portion to the landlord or into the justice court or county court registry, the landlord may file a motion with the county court requesting that the tenant be required to pay into the county court registry, as a condition of remaining in possession, the full amount of each rental period's rent, as it becomes due under the rental agreement. After notice and hearing, the court shall grant the motion if the landlord proves by credible evidence that: (1810)

(1) a portion of the rent is owed by a government agency; (1811)

(2) the portion of the rent owed by the government agency is unpaid; (1812)

(3) the landlord did not cause wholly or partly the agency to cease making the payments; (1813)

(4) the landlord did not cause wholly or partly the agency to pay the wrong amount; and (1814)

(5) the landlord is not able to take reasonable action that will cause the agency to resume making the payments of its portion of the total rent due under the rental agreement. (1815)

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1185 (H.B. 62), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005. (1816)

Amended by: (1817)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 958 (H.B. 1111), Sec. 3, eff. January 1, 2012. (1818)

Sec. 24.006. ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS OF SUIT. (1819)(1-click HTML)

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), to be eligible to recover attorney's fees in an eviction suit, a landlord must give a tenant who is unlawfully retaining possession of the landlord's premises a written demand to vacate the premises. The demand must state that if the tenant does not vacate the premises before the 11th day after the date of receipt of the notice and if the landlord files suit, the landlord may recover attorney's fees. The demand must be sent by registered mail or by certified mail, return receipt requested, at least 10 days before the date the suit is filed. (1820)

(b) If the landlord provides the tenant notice under Subsection (a) or if a written lease entitles the landlord to recover attorney's fees, a prevailing landlord is entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees from the tenant. (1821)

(c) If the landlord provides the tenant notice under Subsection (a) or if a written lease entitles the landlord or the tenant to recover attorney's fees, the prevailing tenant is entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees from the landlord. A prevailing tenant is not required to give notice in order to recover attorney's fees under this subsection. (1822)

(d) The prevailing party is entitled to recover all costs of court. (1823)

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3516, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 891, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 688, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1205, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (1824)

Sec. 24.0061. WRIT OF POSSESSION. (1825)(1-click HTML)

(a) A landlord who prevails in an eviction suit is entitled to a judgment for possession of the premises and a writ of possession. In this chapter, "premises" means the unit that is occupied or rented and any outside area or facility that the tenant is entitled to use under a written lease or oral rental agreement, or that is held out for the use of tenants generally. (1826)

(b) A writ of possession may not be issued before the sixth day after the date on which the judgment for possession is rendered unless a possession bond has been filed and approved under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and judgment for possession is thereafter granted by default. (1827)

(c) The court shall notify a tenant in writing of a default judgment for possession by sending a copy of the judgment to the premises by first class mail not later than 48 hours after the entry of the judgment. (1828)

(d) The writ of possession shall order the officer executing the writ to: (1829)

(1) post a written warning of at least 8-1/2 by 11 inches on the exterior of the front door of the rental unit notifying the tenant that the writ has been issued and that the writ will be executed on or after a specific date and time stated in the warning not sooner than 24 hours after the warning is posted; and (1830)

(2) when the writ is executed: (1831)

(A) deliver possession of the premises to the landlord; (1832)

(B) instruct the tenant and all persons claiming under the tenant to leave the premises immediately, and, if the persons fail to comply, physically remove them; (1833)

(C) instruct the tenant to remove or to allow the landlord, the landlord's representatives, or other persons acting under the officer's supervision to remove all personal property from the rental unit other than personal property claimed to be owned by the landlord; and (1834)

(D) place, or have an authorized person place, the removed personal property outside the rental unit at a nearby location, but not blocking a public sidewalk, passageway, or street and not while it is raining, sleeting, or snowing, except as provided by Subsection (d-1). (1835)

(d-1) A municipality may provide, without charge to the landlord or to the owner of personal property removed from a rental unit under Subsection (d), a portable, closed container into which the removed personal property shall be placed by the officer executing the writ or by the authorized person. The municipality may remove the container from the location near the rental unit and dispose of the contents by any lawful means if the owner of the removed personal property does not recover the property from the container within a reasonable time after the time the property is placed in the container. (1836)

(e) The writ of possession shall authorize the officer, at the officer's discretion, to engage the services of a bonded or insured warehouseman to remove and store, subject to applicable law, part or all of the property at no cost to the landlord or the officer executing the writ. (1837)

(f) The officer may not require the landlord to store the property. (1838)

(g) The writ of possession shall contain notice to the officer that under Section 7.003, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, the officer is not liable for damages resulting from the execution of the writ if the officer executes the writ in good faith and with reasonable diligence. (1839)

(h) A sheriff or constable may use reasonable force in executing a writ under this section. (1840)

Added by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 319, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 314, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 745, Sec. 6, eff. June 20, 1987; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1089, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1987; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 2, Sec. 13.01, eff. Aug. 28, 1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 688, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1205, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (1841)

Amended by: (1842)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 355 (H.B. 1853), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015. (1843)

Sec. 24.0062. WAREHOUSEMAN'S LIEN. (1844)(1-click HTML)

(a) If personal property is removed from a tenant's premises as the result of an action brought under this chapter and stored in a bonded or insured public warehouse, the warehouseman has a lien on the property to the extent of any reasonable storage and moving charges incurred by the warehouseman. The lien does not attach to any property until the property has been stored by the warehouseman. (1845)

(b) If property is to be removed and stored in a public warehouse under a writ of possession, the officer executing the writ shall, at the time of execution, deliver in person to the tenant, or by first class mail to the tenant's last known address not later than 72 hours after execution of the writ if the tenant is not present, a written notice stating the complete address and telephone number of the location at which the property may be redeemed and stating that: (1846)

(1) the tenant's property is to be removed and stored by a public warehouseman under Section 24.0062 of the Property Code; (1847)

(2) the tenant may redeem any of the property, without payment of moving or storage charges, on demand during the time the warehouseman is removing the property from the tenant's premises and before the warehouseman permanently leaves the tenant's premises; (1848)

(3) within 30 days from the date of storage, the tenant may redeem any of the property described by Section 24.0062(e), Property Code, on demand by the tenant and on payment of the moving and storage charges reasonably attributable to the items being redeemed; (1849)

(4) after the 30-day period and before sale, the tenant may redeem the property on demand by the tenant and on payment of all moving and storage charges; and (1850)

(5) subject to the previously stated conditions, the warehouseman has a lien on the property to secure payment of moving and storage charges and may sell all the property to satisfy reasonable moving and storage charges after 30 days, subject to the requirements of Section 24.0062(j) of the Property Code. (1851)

(c) The statement required by Subsection (b)(2) must be underlined or in boldfaced print. (1852)

(d) On demand by the tenant during the time the warehouseman is removing the property from the tenant's premises and before the warehouseman permanently leaves the tenant's premises, the warehouseman shall return to the tenant all property requested by the tenant, without charge. (1853)

(e) On demand by the tenant within 30 days after the date the property is stored by the warehouseman and on payment by the tenant of the moving and storage charges reasonably attributable to the items being redeemed, the warehouseman shall return to the tenant at the warehouse the following property: (1854)

(1) wearing apparel; (1855)

(2) tools, apparatus, and books of a trade or profession; (1856)

(3) school books; (1857)

(4) a family library; (1858)

(5) family portraits and pictures; (1859)

(6) one couch, two living room chairs, and a dining table and chairs; (1860)

(7) beds and bedding; (1861)

(8) kitchen furniture and utensils; (1862)

(9) food and foodstuffs; (1863)

(10) medicine and medical supplies; (1864)

(11) one automobile and one truck; (1865)

(12) agricultural implements; (1866)

(13) children's toys not commonly used by adults; (1867)

(14) goods that the warehouseman or the warehouseman's agent knows are owned by a person other than the tenant or an occupant of the residence; (1868)

(15) goods that the warehouseman or the warehouseman's agent knows are subject to a recorded chattel mortgage or financing agreement; and (1869)

(16) cash. (1870)

(f) During the first 30 days after the date of storage, the warehouseman may not require payment of removal or storage charges for other items as a condition for redeeming the items described by Subsection (e). (1871)

  

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