Landlords: Please STOP Posting Notice to Vacate to the OUTSIDE of the Door
Landlords, property managers, attorneys and even judges are CONFUSED. Lately, this confusion has resulted in an epidemic of botched evictions.
Observing these losses stings because they regularly occur in cases where tenants have failed to pay rent. Bad tenants are getting away with non-payment and being allowed to remain in the rental premises every day.
This is happening because landlords insist on posting Notice to Vacate on the OUTSIDE of the front door of the premises. More often than not, the landlord will lose cases reliant upon this manner of delivery. In the worst situations, the non-paying tenant recovers attorneys’ fees from the landlord.
The “confusion epidemic” surrounding this topic is not new. Back in May 2018, I posted a video tutorial on the importance of getting delivery of the NTV “right.” Despite universally positive feedback on the video, each week I receive calls from landlords and managers who have lost eviction cases at the Justice Court based upon posting on the outside of the door.
POSTING TO THE EXTERIOR OF THE DOOR IS RARELY SUFFICIENT OR AUTHORIZED
The generally-accepted methods for delivering a notice to vacate are:
(1) in person;
(2) affixing the notice to the INTERIOR of the main entry door; or
(3) by mail.
In very limited circumstances Section 24.005(f-1)(1) and (f-1)(2) authorize an “alternate” method of delivery — posting the NTV to the exterior of the main entry door. However, these circumstances seldom exist, so delivery of notice by the “alternate” method is rarely appropriate.
Even when the “alternate” delivery method is authorized, there are inflexible requirements of the manner in which the posting must be performed. Failure to strictly adhere to these requirements renders notice defective.
THE BENEFIT OF POSTING TO THE EXTERIOR OF THE DOOR IS FAR OUTWEIGHED BY THE RISK
There is great risk and little benefit to posting notice on the exterior of the door. This manner of delivery, alone, is NEVER sufficient.
Section f-1 expressly requires mailing a copy of the NTV (before 5 PM) on the same day that it is posted to the door. As such, it makes little sense to rely on posting by “alternate” means, when the burden of mailing the notice is not alleviated.
Why not skip posting on the door, and just rely on delivery of the NTV by mail?
AVOID POSTING NOTICE TO THE EXTERIOR OF THE DOOR WHENEVER POSSIBLE
To quote Barack Obama (who was apparently NOT evicted from his D.C. manse), “let me be clear.” I do not like posting to the outside of the main entry door. My experience has been that this manner of delivery creates far more problems than it solves.
MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, POSTING NOTICE ON THE EXTERIOR OF THE DOOR OF THE PREMISES IS INSUFFICIENT AND DEFECTIVE.
Don’t do it unless you are absolutely confident that you understand Section 24.005(f) and (f-1) of the Texas Property Code so intimately that you can explain the mechanics of that statute to a Judge.
Chances are, your understanding of Section 24.005 is not that thorough. It’s usually a safe bet that the Judge’s understanding of the statute is not very comprehensive, either.
To be fair, Section 24.005(f-1) is poorly written and complicated in its sections, subsections and subparts. Many lawyers and judges struggle with making sense of when posting to “the outside of the main entry door” is appropriate, and what acts must accompany delivery of the NTV in this manner.
Why take this risk? I cannot think of a single good reason.
Mitigate your chances of snatching eviction defeat from the jaws of victory by always striving to deliver the NTV in one of the “default” ways:
(1) in person (which may be by personal delivery to the tenant or any person residing at the premises who is 16 years of age or older);
(2) by affixing the notice to the inside of the main entry door; or
(3) by mail (regular mail, registered mail, or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the premises )
If delivery by the “alternate” method is required, carefully read and understand the statute, or contact an experienced evictions lawyer to walk you through the process.