Texas Landlord and Tenant Laws - An Overview
If you own a rental property in Texas, it’s important to know the state’s landlord-tenant laws. Understanding these will help you solve potential legal questions and avoid potential problems. It will also help you make wiser decisions during the course of managing your rental.
As a landlord, you must disclose certain information to your tenants. This information is often included in the lease agreement and outlines the following:
In Texas, nonrefundable fees are permitted as long as they were included in the leasing agreement. You must include a reasonable explanation for them as well as their amount.
You are not required to provide a written notice upon receipt of their security deposit. There is also no compulsory system for storing security deposits under Texas law. However, you should check with your local ordinances as they may be different. You must stay up to date on the current policies of the county your property is located in.
There is also no maximum for how much you can charge your tenants as a security deposit. Once the tenant’s lease ends, you must return the security deposit (in whole or in part) to them within 30-days. If you take out deductions, you must provide an itemized list of them with the reason for the deduction. This is applicable both if you partially refund the deposit or don’t refund it at all.
Under Texas law, you must keep an up-to-date and accurate record of all security deposits.
Under Texas law, domestic violence victims can break their lease without financial consequences. They may even have the option not to provide notice upon doing so. If you attempt to avert the victim from breaching the contract, you will be subject to a civil penalty.
A domestic violence victim only needs to present you with a single document to break the lease. This can be a temporary injunction, a temporary ex parte protective order, or a final protective order. Upon presenting this, they can break the lease without penalization.
The lease agreement made between you and your tenant must include your name and address, either street or P.O. Box. If you use a property management company, it must also include the name and address of the company.
Texas Tenant Laws and Rights
Every tenant in Texas is guaranteed the following basic rights:
● Remain in the property unless the proprietor wins a forcible entry and detainer suit.
● Have their maintenance and repair requests acted upon within a given period.
● Enjoy their privacy in the rental.
● Live in a habitable and safe environment.
While enjoying their rights, your tenants also have basic responsibilities under Texas law. They must:
● Provide you with a written notice before moving out of the property.
● Adhere to the terms and conditions in the leasing contract.
● Avoid creating disturbances on the premises of the property.
● Pay their rent on or before the due dates outlined in the leasing contract.
As a Texas landlord, you are guaranteed the following rights:
● Have your tenants fulfill their responsibilities under the signed leasing agreement.
● Receive notification from your tenant when they leave for an extended time.
You also have some basic responsibilities as a landlord in Texas. These include:
● Adhering to Texas’ legal eviction procedure.
● Complying with the State Security Deposit Return Rules.
● Preserving the peace and quiet of the property.
In Texas, there are no specifics regarding your right to enter the property or provide notice to your tenants before doing so. You must outline this in the lease agreement with your tenant on your own accord. You should include the details of this for:
● Emergency cases
● Routine inspections/repairs
Maintaining the property is your responsibility as a landlord.You must ensure that your property has:
● A proper waste disposal system.
● No pest or vermin issues.
● Well-maintained and working plumbing.
Under the Fair Housing Act, you cannot discriminate against a tenant on the basis of the protected characteristics. These include their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and/or familial status.
Tenants must pay a security deposit to cover the cost of:
● Any remaining utilities unpaid for when they move out
● Repairment or replacement expenses for damages they cause
● Any necessary cleaning fees when they leave the property
These required disclosures are usually printed in the lease agreement. They are as follows:
● Disclosure of any electric service interruption.
● Disclosure ofyour parking rules and policies, including towing situations.
If you fail to make any necessary property repairs, your tenant can:
● Contact a Texas health inspector
● File a lawsuit against you
● Break the lease agreement
If issues about security deposits arise between you and your tenant, they can file a lawsuit against you. They can take this to the Texas Justice Court for the return of their original deposit amount up to $10,000.
Knowing the Texas landlord-tenant laws is important. It can help you in any potential conflicts you may run into as a landlord.
If you have questions about your legal rights and responsibilities, you should hire an attorney. Or, you can seek help from a knowledgeable property management company.
Please note this blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed Texas attorney. Laws change, and this post might need updating at the time of your reading. Please contact OmniKey Realty at (833) 666-4539 for any questions about this content. You can also contact us about any of your other property management needs.