A summary of Texas Landlord Tenant Laws based on state law statutes as they apply to residential lease agreements executed between landlords and tenants.
Required Disclosures (by Landlords)
Contact Information: In the lease, other writing, or posted on the property, landlord must disclose the name and address of the property’s owner and, if an entity located off-site from the dwelling is primarily responsible for managing the dwelling, the name and street address of the management company. (Tex. Prop. Code Ann. §92.201)
Security Equipment Requests: If landlord wants tenant requests concerning security devices to be in writing, this requirement must be in the lease in boldface type or underlined. (Tex. Prop. Code Ann. 92.159)
Security Deposit Refund Condition: A requirement that a tenant give advance notice of moving out as a condition for refunding the security deposit is effective only if the requirement is in the lease, underlined or printed in conspicuous bold print. (Tex. Prop. Code Ann. §92.103)
Domestic Violence: Victims of sexual abuse or assault on the premises may break a lease, after complying with specified procedures, without responsibility for future rent. Tenants can only be held responsible for unpaid rent if the lease includes a statement like: “Tenants may have special statutory rights to terminate the lease early in certain situations involving family violence or a military deployment or transfer. (Tex. Prop. Code Ann. §92.016)
Tenant’s Remedy for Landlord Neglect: A lease must contain language in underlined or bold print that informs the tenant of the remedies available when the landlord fails to repair a problem that materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant. These rights include the right to repair and deduct; terminate the lease; and obtain a judicial order that the landlord make the repair, reduce the rent, pay the tenant damages (including a civil penalty), and pay the tenant’s court and attorney fees. (Tex. Prop. Code Ann. §92.056)
Parking Policy: If the landlord has a parking policy, especially involving towing violations, that apply to the tenant in a multi-family property, the landlord must give the tenant a copy of the policy before the lease agreement is signed. The copy must be signed by the tenant, included in the lease or as an attachment. If included, the clause must be titled “Parking” or “Parking Rules” and either accented with all caps, an underline or bold print. (Tex. Prop. Code Ann. §92.0131.)
Electrical Service Interruption: Any landlord who submeters electricity, or who allocates master metered electricity according to a prorated system, may interrupt tenant’s electricity service if tenant fails to pay the bill, but only after following specific notice requirements and procures outline in Texas Prop. Code Ann. §92.008(h).
Security Deposit Limit
Residential security deposits are not limited by Texas statutes.
Deadline for returning Security Deposit
The deposit must be returned within 30 days after the tenant vacates. However, if the lease specifically requires advance written notice of moving, the deposit doesn’t need to be refunded should the tenant fail to follow such a stipulation.
Small Claims Lawsuit
Known as Justic Court, small claims disputes not exceeding $10,000.
A late fee policy must be included in the lease and must adhere to the following: Fees must be reasonable and cannot begin until one day after the rent was due. The landlord may begin with an initial fee and then accrue a daily fee for any subsequent days the rent remains unpaid.
One month advance notice is required for month-to-month rentals. Changes made to a lease of a longer term must be in writing and agreed to by both parties.
Tenant’s Right to Withhold Rent
Tenants under Texas Prop Code Ann. §§ 92.056, 92.0561 may have certain rights to fix landlord neglected problems and deduct the cost of repairs from the rent as outlined in the statute. Another remedy may be the ability to withhold rent according to Texas Prop Code Ann § 92.331.
Termination and Eviction
Texas Prop. Code § 24.005 failure to pay rent or holdingover allows a landlord to give the tenant a 3 day unconditional notice to quit unless the lease specifies a shorter or longer time.
Other lease violations allow for a conditional 3 day notice to cure or quit.
Texas Prop. Code Ann. § 92.015 states that a landlord may not limit a tenant’s right to summon police or emergency services in response to domestic violence. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 83.006 says a court may temporarily exclude a defendant from the occupancy of that person’s residence if the applicant requesting the order either resides on the premises or has resided there within 30 days before the date of application was filed.
Texas Lease Agreement
Texas Landlord-Tenant Law Statutes
Texas Prop. Code Ann. §§ 91.001 to 92.355.