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3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit in Texas: How It Works

Sophia Merton
January 10, 2023

What is a Lone Star landlord supposed to do if their tenants aren’t paying rent? One option is to serve a 3 day notice to pay or quit in Texas.

Under Texas law, landlords aren’t required to give tenants the option to pay the rent they owe at this stage and can simply inform the tenants that they need to move out within three days. However, property owners can choose to give tenants a second chance by using the notice to inform them that they have three days to pay rent or move out before eviction proceedings will begin.

What Is a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit in Texas?

Landlords are, in some circumstances, allowed to give their tenants a 3 day notice to quit. This is a notice that tells the tenant that they need to vacate the property within three days.

If it is within your right to serve tenants with a 3-day notice to quit, you aren’t required under Texas law to give tenants the option to pay the rent they owe or correct the lease violation, and you can simply inform them that they need to move out.

In some states, landlords have to give tenants the chance to move out or pay rent before they can begin the eviction process. Landlords in Texas, however, have the ability to decide for themselves whether tenants should be given a second chance when it comes to paying the rent owed.

tenant holding cash to pay rent after receiving three day notice to pay or quit in texas
Texas doesn't require that landlords give tenants the chance to pay rent within three days to continue living at the property, but property owners can choose to give them a second chance if they want to.

If you want to give them the option, though, you can include this information in your notice to quit and let them know what date they will need to pay rent or fix the lease violation in order to continue living on the property.

That being said, you’ll want to look over the lease agreement you signed and make sure that it doesn’t state that the landlord must give the tenant time to pay.  If it does, you have to abide by the terms of the agreement.

Having a tenant not paying rent can seriously cut into the projected ROI of your rental property. Depending on the circumstance, you might consider giving your tenants a chance to pay their rent if you believe it is a one-time occurrence. Otherwise, though, the best way to protect your investment might be to tell them to move out and find new tenants.

Be sure to check out our recent posts on 60-day notices to vacate if you aren’t sure what the situation calls for.

Understanding the Texas Laws That Govern the Notice to Vacate

The eviction process in Texas, as in many other states, involves many steps and doesn’t happen overnight.

woman moving out of texas apartment after receiving 3 day notice to pay or quit
Tenants will need to move out within three days or pay the rent they owe (if you give them the option in the notice or its stipulated in your lease agreement) if they want to avoid an eviction suit.

The first step in the process is a written notice to vacate. Landlords are required to give tenants at least three days to move out unless the lease agreement states otherwise. This notice must be given in writing before an eviction suit can be filed.

If a property owner has a federally-backed mortgage or participates in certain federal programs, landlords might be required to give a 30-day notice under the federal CARES act.

Once a landlord has filed an eviction suit, the hearing can’t take place for at least ten days. A judgment will be issued at the hearing, but there are still five more days where no further action can occur. The reason for this is to ensure that the tenant has ample time to appeal if they choose to.

An appeal hearing can’t take place for at least eight days if the tenant chooses to file one.

Once a final judgment has been made, the property owner can request a writ of possession from the judge. A 24-hour notice must be posted by the constable before this writ can be executed.

Ideally, a tenant will simply move out or pay the rent they owe (if you give them the option) within the three-day time period. However, eviction will be the next step if they do nothing.

Information to Include in a 3-Day Notice in Texas

A 3-day notice to quit cannot be only verbal– it needs to be in writing. The following information must be included:

  • The date that the tenant(s) were served with the notice
  • The name(s) of the tenants and the address of the rental property
  • A statement that the tenant must move out within three days, including the final time and date by which they must have vacated
  • The reason that the notice to quit is being sent
  • An ultimatum that an eviction lawsuit can be filed by the landlord if the tenant doesn’t vacate the property before the stated date and time
  • A statement outlining how the notice was delivered to the tenant, either through the mail or by physically giving the notice

You will also want to include a reminder that the tenant needs to either pay the rent that they owe or vacate the property if you want to give the tenant the choice or if it is stipulated in your lease agreement.

address of rental property where tenant is being served with 3 day notice to pay or quit in texas
You need to include specific information in your notice to quit, including the address of the property.

It’s essential to make sure that all of the required information is included in this notice. Otherwise, the three days notice will not actually begin because the notice will be considered invalid. In order to rectify this situation, the landlord would have to serve the tenants with a new notice to quit that includes all of the necessary information and restart the timeline.

How to Serve a 3-Day Notice to Quit in Texas

There are four options for serving tenants with a 3-day notice to quit under the Texas Property Code.

mailboxes where tenant received 3 day notice to pay or quit in texas
One of the options you can use to serve your tenant is sending it through the mail.

These four options are:

  1. The landlord can post the notice to quit in the rental unit inside the front door. This can only be used as an option, though, if the landlord is legally able to enter the premises.
  2. The landlord can give the notice to the tenant personally or to someone that lives at the rental property who is 16 years or older. An agent of the landlord can also serve notice in this way.
  3. The landlord can use registered mail, certified mail, or regular mail to send a copy of the notice. A return receipt needs to be requested if using this method.
  4. If a landlord can’t legally enter the rental unit to post the notice and there is no mailbox where the tenant can receive mail, there is still one more option. In this instance, they can post the notice on the property’s front door on the outside. The notice can also be posted securely on a visible portion of the main entry or the front gate if there is an alarm system or dangerous animal that keeps the landlord from being able to enter the property.

It’s essential to serve tenants with this notice properly. Otherwise, you have to start from square one. One of the methods listed above must be used to serve the tenant notice; otherwise, the notice will not be in effect.

What Happens After You Serve a Notice to Quit Due to Nonpayment

There are a number of potential outcomes that can result from serving a notice to quit due to nonpayment of rent.

The ideal option is that the tenant will pay the rent they owe if you are giving them a second chance or that they will move out within the three-day period. If they do move out or, if given the option in the notice, pay rent, the landlord can’t proceed with the eviction.

If a tenant does move out within three days but doesn’t pay any rent, the security deposit can be used by the landlord to cover the rent that is owed. The landlord can sue the tenant for the remaining rent and any accrued late charges if the security deposit doesn’t cover how much is owed by the tenant.

Finally, if the tenant doesn’t vacate the property and doesn’t pay any rent (if you give them this option– again, you’re not required to), then the landlord can file a summons and complaint with the court. This is known as a forcible detainer suit.

An officer of the law cannot take possession of the property legally until the forcible detainer case has been successful in court. It can be tempting to try and get rid of the tenant yourself by shutting off utilities, changing the locks, or other “self-help” practices if you know that the tenants are being destructive to your property. However, it’s important to follow the legal procedures.

Before you buy your next property, you’ll want to make sure it’s a good investment. Use our rental property calculators to run all of the numbers before you close the deal.

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Written By:
Sophia Merton
Sophia received her BA from Vassar College and is a real estate investor and researcher. With more than ten years of experience owning and managing investment properties, she has gained valuable insight into the pros and cons of operating rentals. Sophia is dedicated to helping others create wealth through real estate and aims to provide straightforward information about every aspect of rental property ownership.
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