While you never want it to come down to this, landlords in Texas can place a lien on some personal property of the tenant for purposes of satisfying unpaid rent. The lien attaches to nonexempt property that is in the unit or that the tenant has stored in a storage room on the property. You can’t just take anything, though. The list of nonexempt property is lengthy, and it includes personal items, at least one vehicle and one truck, work tools and equipment, and medicine and medical supplies. Texas Property Code § 54.041 lists all of the exempted items.
Procedure to Follow
Even though a landlord can attach a lien to a tenant’s personal property for unpaid rent due, there is a procedure that must be followed. Immediately after seizing property the landlord must leave a written notice of entry and an itemized list of the items removed. The notice and list need to be left in a conspicuous place within the dwelling, and it must state the amount of delinquent rent and the name, address, and telephone number of the person the tenant may contact regarding the amount owed. The notice must also state that the property will be promptly returned on full payment of the delinquent rent. The good news is that the landlord is entitled to reimbursement for any costs associated with packing, removing, or storing any property seized. When selling seized property it must be done in compliance with Texas Property Code § 54.045.
Abandoned Personal Property
The landlord may dispose of all such personal property in any manner, and the landlord is relieved of all liability for doing so.
So, what happens if the tenant abandons the unit and leaves some of their personal property behind? In Texas, the landlord can consider any personal property left on the premises to also have been abandoned. That means the landlord may dispose of all such personal property in any manner, and the landlord is relieved of all liability for doing so. In LeaseRunner’s Texas Residential Lease this clause is in bold face type and underlined to draw the tenant’s attention to it during the signing process, and the tenant is asked to initial that section of the lease.