This issue often arises in the common property, landlord-tenant, family law, and foreclosure arenas.
A person who has been denied access to his or her residence or former residence may apply to a Texas Justice Court for an order authorizing access to retrieve personal property under Chapter 24A of the Texas Property Code.
The applicant must:
- certify that the occupant of the residence has denied the applicant access to the residence;
- certify that the applicant is not prohibited by law (including a protective order) from entering the residence;
- allege that the applicant, or the applicant’s dependent, requires one or more of the following personal items contained in the residence: (a) medical records; (b) medicine and medical supplies; (c) clothing; (d) child-care items; (e) legal or financial documents; (f) checks or bank or credit cards in the name of the applicant; (g) employment records; or (h) personal identification documents;
- allege that the applicant or the applicant’s dependent will suffer personal harm if the items listed in the application are not retrieved promptly;
- include documentation that shows the applicant is currently, or was formerly, authorized to occupy the residence; and
- execute a bond payable to the occupant in an amount set by the judge.
The Justice Court may issue an order authorizing the applicant to enter the residence accompanied by a peace officer to retrieve the property listed in the application (a) on sufficient evidence of urgency and potential harm to the health and safety of any person; and (b) after sufficient notice to the current occupant and an opportunity for both parties to be heard by the Court.
What happens if the order is granted but the applicant takes personal property that isn’t expressly permitted by the order or that isn’t owned by the applicant?
In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.