Denied Access to Personal Property in Your Residence/Former Residence?

texas denied access residence retrieve personal propertyThis 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:

  1. certify that the occupant of the residence has denied the applicant access to the residence;
  2. certify that the applicant is not prohibited by law (including a protective order) from entering the residence;
  3. 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;
  4. allege that the applicant or the applicant’s dependent will suffer personal harm if the items listed in the application are not retrieved promptly;
  5. include documentation that shows the applicant is currently, or was formerly, authorized to occupy the residence; and
  6. 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?

Stay tuned!

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.

Some Changes to Texas Landlord-Tenant Law

texas senate bill landlord tenant lawEnrolled Senate Bill 1367 brings some changes to Texas landlord-tenant law.

First, it allows a landlord under some situations to attach a notice to vacate to the exterior of the rental premise’s main entry door.

Second, it changes the penalty a tenant may seek from a landlord who willfully violates residential landlord lien law.

Third, it disallows residential landlords and tenants from waiving the tenant’s right to a jury trial.

Finally, it changes and clarifies some aspects of the law related to security deposits.

See the enrolled bill here.

Our Tips & Resources posts are intended to provide general educational information. Like all other material on this blog, it is not a substitute for legal advice.

Texas Agricultural Landlord’s Lien

This is the fourth and final article covering Texas landlord’s liens. The previous three posts are here, here, and here.

texas agricultural landlord's lienWhat is an agricultural landlord’s lien? One who leases land has a lien “for rent that becomes due and for the money and the value of property that the landlord furnishes…to the tenant to grow a crop on the [land] and to gather, store, and prepare the crop for marketing.”

To what does the lien attach? With notable exceptions not discussed here, the lien generally attaches to the (a) property on the leased premises that the landlord furnishes to the tenant to grow a crop; and (b) crop grown on the land in the year that the rent accrues or the land is furnished.

Does the agricultural lien always arise or exist? No. The lien may or may not arise depending on (a) whether the landlord or tenant furnishes the labor and materials to grow the crop; and (b) how much rent is charged by the landlord in proportion to the value of the grain and cotton grown on the land.

How long does the lien exist? Generally, “the lien exists while the property to which it is attached remains on the leased premises and until one month after the day that the property is removed from the premises.”

May a delinquent, agricultural tenant remove the crop subjected to the lien? No, not without the landlord’s consent.

What if the delinquent tenant removes the crop without the landlord’s consent? If the crop is removed by the tenant in preparation for market, the landlord’s lien will continue to exist on the removed crop.

What can a landlord do if s/he has good cause to believe that the delinquent tenant is about to remove the crop or abandon the premises? The landlord can ask a Justice of the Peace to order law enforcement to seize the property.

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.

Texas Residential Landlord’s Lien

May a landlord take a tenant’s property to cover delinquent rent? In this post we introduced the concept of landlord liens. One is the residential landlord’s lien.

texas landlord's lien

“A landlord of a single or multifamily residence has a lien for unpaid rent that is due. The lien attaches to nonexempt property that is in the residence or that the tenant has stored in a storage room.” However, the lien does not attach to fifteen categories of property including clothes, tools of a trade/profession, family pictures, food, and medicines, among other things.

“The landlord or the landlord’s agent may not seize exempt property and may seize nonexempt property only if it is authorized by a written lease and can be accomplished without a breach of the peace.” Upon seizing the property, the landlord must leave a particular type of notice in a conspicuous place inside the dwelling.

The landlord may not sell the property unless doing so is specifically authorized by the lease. Once again, advance notice to the tenant is required before the sale.

“The tenant may redeem the property at any time before the property is sold by paying to the landlord or the landlord’s agent all delinquent rents and, if authorized in the written lease, all reasonable packing, moving, storage, and sale costs.”

A landlord who fails to comply with applicable law may have to pay money damages to the tenant and the tenant’s legal fees.

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.

Texas Building Landlord’s Liens

In an earlier post, we discussed the fact that there are three types of Texas landlord liens. One is the commercial building lien. So what is it, and what’s its purpose?

One who leases any part of a building for nonresidential purposes has a lien on the non-exempt property of the tenant for the payment of rent. “The lien is unenforceable for rent on a commercial building that is more than six months past due unless the landlord files a lien statement with the county clerk of the county in which the building is located.” The law requires specific information be included in this rental lien statement. The lien exists while the tenant occupies the building and until one month after the day that the tenant abandons it.Texas Building Landlord's Lien

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.

Landlord’s Liens in Three Sentences

texas landlord's liens leaseTexas has three types of statutory landlord’s liens: agricultural, commercial building, and residential. The creation of the lien, the property to which it attaches, and the enforcement of the lien depend on the type of landlord’s lien in question. The purpose of landlord’s liens is to secure tenants’ lease compliance.

We’ll discuss each of these liens in greater detail in future posts.

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.

In the News: Dallas Cowboys Stadium Sues Luxury Suite Renter

lease rent duty to mitigate dallas cowboys stadiumThe Dallas Morning News reported last week that the Dallas Cowboys Stadium is suing a resident of Washington D.C. who has leased a luxury suite but allegedly failed to pay for it.

The lease is for a 20-year term at a rough rate of $500,000/year. Yeah, that totals $10 million. According to the article, the renter paid for a few years but then stopped. In their petition, the Cowboys Stadium cites a provision of the lease that would appear to allow them, upon the renter’s default, to terminate the renter’s use and possession of the suite and declare the entire unpaid balance of the lease fee immediately due and payable.

That’s right. It’s the Cowboys Stadium’s position that they now get the luxury suite back as well as the rent they would have received from the renter had she continued to occupy the suite for the remainder of the 20-year term. Can they do that?

Maybe. As a general rule the Cowboys Stadium would probably have to mitigate their damages by looking for an alternative lessee and deducting/offsetting fair market value rent received from that lessee from the damages they seek in this lawsuit. However, without seeing the actual suite lease agreement, it’s impossible to say whether this “zone defense” would apply. And, frankly, I’d like to spend a few weekends in the suite in order to assess whether any subsequent lease the Cowboys Stadium may enter into for the space actually represents a fair market value.

So all of you Cowboys fans with disposable income of $500,000/year may be help someone out by renting a suite. Or maybe not. But, hey. How about them Cowboys?

In our In the News series, we use an article or topic that has been featured recently in the news as a potential learning opportunity.