Table Of Contents
- Maintenance & Repairs
- Tenant Privacy
- Texas Housing Discrimination Laws
- Security Deposits
- Renter’s Rights to Withhold Rent
Texas Landlord Tenant Laws: FAQs
Let’s understand Texas landlord-tenant law with the following questions –
How much can I charge for rent?
According to Texas Landlord Tenant Law, Texas does not restrict the amount of rent a Landlord is permitted to charge.
How many tenants can I rent to for a single unit?
The number of live in tenants may be three (3) times the number of bedrooms as in the rental unit.
What is the limit on application fees?
The state of Texas places no limit on the amount of money that can be charged to perform a back-ground check on a future tenant.
Is there any restriction on what may be charged to a tenant as a late fee when he is late on his rent?
The tenant must be at least one day behind the due date of the rent payment before you can assess a fee. The fee that is charged must be relational to any monies incurred by the landlord because the rent is late. For instance, if the landlord must pay a late charge to a mortgage company; this can be figured in as part of a late charge. Late fees and/or charges must be specifically detailed in a lease.
Is there a limit on what may be set as a fee when a tenant’s payment does not clear his bank?
According to Texas Business and Commerce Code Section 3.506(a), a maximum charge of $30 may be charged to a tenant as a processing fee. There are other ramifications when a check is written and fails to clear. Some are classified as criminal offenses.
Is there a limit on the amount I may collect for a security deposit?
Texas law does not provide for any limitations on a security deposit.
Do I need a separate bank account for the security deposit?
There are no specific regulations in Texas regarding the placement of security deposits. However, the landlord must keep accurate records of all security deposits.
After my tenant has moved, how long do I have to send the security deposit back?
You are obligated to return a security deposit within 30 days after the tenant vacates. However, the tenant must provide you with a forwarding address in a written form. Please understand though that a refund is not nullified simply because the tenant fails to do so. Provided, repairs were required, a list must be provided for the tenant with itemized deductions of the costs along with the return of any monies leftover. Repair costs that are deducted should not be items that are occurrences through normal wear and tear. Costs incurred should be in excess of this.
What are the rules for ending a Texas lease agreement?
The lease is the determining factor as to when and how a lease will end. It is important that this particular item is spelled out in detail in a written lease. In the absence of a printed lease agreement, where rent is paid each month, an advance notice of 30 days is needed by the tenant to be released from the rental obligations. If rent is paid on less than a monthly basis (such as weekly payments), the amount of notice needed to end the lease by a tenant, will be the amount between payments, not including the actual day the notice is given.
My tenant has not moved out yet and is supposed to be, what can I do?
If a tenant has not left the premises at the end of the lease, you may either accept the rent and continue on a periodic tenancy or bring an action for possession.
How much notice do I have to give a tenant in order to evict them?
Generally, you must give at least three days’ written notice to vacate the premises before filing a forcible detainer lawsuit. If there is a written lease, and the notice period is specified as more or less than the three days, then that will take precedent.
My tenant has not paid his rent, and I served notice. What shall I do next?
Go to the District or circuit court where the property is located. You will file a court action referred to as an unlawful detainer with the clerk of court. Note that each court has their own fee. The landlord may sue to regain possession, and for monies lost due to mispayment. It is important to include a copy of the “Notice to Tenant” when filing an original action.
I have been assigned a court date, must I go?
Once a court date is set, a landlord should always arrive prepared. In many cases, tenant’s often fail to appear in court, subsequently favoring the landlord. Regardless of the assumption that a tenant may not come to the court hearing, it is important to have all your ducks in a row. Come prepared and bring proof of rents received, such as a current rental ledger along with all correspondence, including letters, tenant notices and emails. If you have dates of phone conversations, they can be important as well. Proof is especially vital in cases that involve nuisance or other lease violations.
I won in court! Now what happens?
A landlord who wins in an eviction suit is eligible to a writ of possession to the premises. A writ of possession must be issued six days after the deciding court date. Once the writ is issued, an appointed authority such as a constable must remove the tenants. You cannot lock the tenant out yourself!
What must I do to inspect my property? Do I have to notify the tenant?
Unless the lease agreement states the landlord may enter the premises, then the landlord has NO right to do so, unless there is an emergency or for regular inspections/repairs. The tenant has his or her own right to privacy in the rental unit. A landlord can be held liable for infringing on tenant rights should they enter the unit without the tenant’s permission by advance notice, regardless of how the lease is written.
Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable. In Texas, under Section 92.0161 of Title 8, Subchapter A allows lease termination rights for sexual assault survivors when the assault has occurred within the preceding six months. Additionally, a tenant may have the right to vacate for issues regarding family violence. This is specified in Section 92.016 of Title 8, Subchapter A of the Texas Property Code for Landlords and Tenants.
Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
Yes. No smoking policies are becoming more and more popular. It can be advantageous in re-renting to future tenants as well. All policies must be exacted in the lease or rental agreement.
What a landlord Cannot do in Texas?
Your right to live in peace and quiet cannot be violated by your landlord via eviction without proper reason (which is typically nonpayment of rent). You must also be shielded by your landlord from any wrongdoing committed by other renters. You have the right to safety and health in your home.
What can you sue a landlord for in Texas?
Tenants sometimes file lawsuits against landlords who unfairly withhold security deposits for things like cleaning, maintenance, or unpaid rent, or who never return the deposits at all. Thankfully, bringing a small claims case in Texas is not too difficult.
What reasons can a landlord evict the tenants in Texas?
Landlords can evict the tenants for the following reasons –
- Breach of the rental agreement
- Criminal activities
- Removing the property from the rental market
- Safety and health violations
- Dangerous behavior or threats
- Submitting a lease application with false information
- Violations of the HOA regulations.
Can the tenants be evicted in Texas without notice?
Before the landlord can sue to evict the tenants, tenants must get written notice of the intention to leave. Unless the contract specifies a shorter period, this notice to quit must provide the tenants at least three days’ notice.
Can a tenant sue the landlord for emotional distress in Texas?
If a landlord’s intentional or careless conduct results in significant emotional harm, the tenant may have remedies. Tenants could then file a claim for emotional distress against the landlord. Tenants might file a claim for purposeful infliction of emotional anguish.
Who pays for the plumbing landlord or tenant in Texas?
Yes, the landlord is in charge of making repairs to the building’s framework and exterior. bathtubs, sinks, and other sanitary fixtures, such as drains and pipes. hot water and heating.
What is the Texas Landlord Tenant law?
The Texas landlord-tenant laws cover the rights and obligations that both landlords and tenants have with regard to a rental agreement, following the Texas Property Code (Ann. 91.001 to 92.355). (also known as a lease agreement).
An exhaustive description of all the conditions necessary for a positive landlord-tenant relationship must be included in the lease agreement. Additionally, these records aid in resolving any potential legal disputes, therefore it’s critical that landlords maintain them in as much clarity and detail as possible.
In the state of Texas, a lease agreement is only necessary for tenants who want to occupy a rental property for a period of time longer than a year. Regardless of how long the renters want to remain on the property, it is still advised that landlords create a lease agreement because it gives an additional level of legal security to the procedure.
In addition, Texas state law mandates that landlords deliver a copy of the whole lease agreement to tenants at least three days after the contract expires, just in case there are any disagreements and they can’t locate the original.
Maintenance & Repairs
A key duty of a landlord is maintenance. Therefore, a landlord must maintain the unit’s habitability and repair any damage brought on by typical wear and tear by:
- Ensuring adequate plumbing, lighting, and electrical systems
- Ensuring that the unit’s windows and doors are secure
Any required repairs that are not made will be viewed as a breach of your tenant’s rights.
Unlike other States, Texas does not have a set notice requirement for landlords to perform unit inspections. The terms of the lease will determine how this works. Property owners are permitted entry if:
- There is a court order in effect.
- There must be maintenance and inspections.
Texas Housing Discrimination Laws
A landlord is prohibited from discriminating against any of the seven protected classes under the Fair Housing Act. Color, religion, race, national origin, sex, handicap, and familial status are some of these categories. Tenants should not be refused equal treatment or the chance to rent a home because they belong to a protected class as long as they can pay their rent and pass regular tenant screening procedures.
For typical damages, most landlords use the security deposit. Since Texas doesn’t have any explicit rules governing security deposits, landlords are free to request any sum they see fit.
The value of a security deposit is often equal to one month’s rent, however, this is not a requirement. To avoid problems while repaying the security deposit in the future, landlords are advised to prepare a receipt.
After the tenant vacates the property, the security deposit must be repaid. A list of repair expenses must be prepared by the landlord if they are not returning the entire security deposit. Before the 30-day notice period expires, the landlord must perform the repairs on the itemized list.
Remember that if a tenant believes that the landlord is improperly hanging onto their security deposit, they may seek legal counsel. The landlord might be forced to pay up to three times the security deposit amount if the lawsuit is successful.
Renter’s Rights to Withhold Rent
A tenant pays to live in a house that is up to code and functional under Texas landlord-tenant legislation. Tenants have the following options if a landlord doesn’t make repairs as required:
- Arrange for a lawsuit to be filed in order to compel a landlord to perform the necessary repairs, which would need hiring a lawyer.
- Repair and deduct: It means repairing any damage to the rental property and deducting the cost of repairs from the rent that is owed.
- If you break the agreement early and have no responsibility to pay more rent.
Landlord’s Rights And Responsibilities in Texas
Texas state law grants landlords the authority to collect rent in accordance with the terms of the lease agreement, deduct repair costs for severe damage to their property (greater than ordinary wear-and-tear), and for other incidentals.
However, no landlord in Texas is required to furnish a certain amount of utilities under Texas law. The “Warranty of Habitability” statute mandates that a landlord maintain utilities in good working order and offer repair services for ordinary wear and tear.
If a tenant gives their landlord written notice of any damage that needs to be fixed, the landlord is required to fix the damage within seven days of receiving the notice. Tenant has the right to consult legal counsel if landlord doesn’t do this. Study up on Texas deductions and repairs.
Tenant’s Rights in Texas
The legal term “quiet enjoyment” refers to your rights as a renter. This means that your landlord cannot forcibly remove you or otherwise interfere with your freedom to live quietly.
A landlord may not stop providing utilities to a tenant, except in certain situations and subject to certain restrictions, unless the stoppage is necessary for legitimate repairs, construction, or an emergency.
A property must include security gadgets including window latches, keyed deadbolts on external doors, sliding door security bars, or sliding door handle latches and pin locks, as well as door viewers.
The landlord shall pay for the installation of such gadgets. You have the right to ask for the installation or repair of any such devices if they are broken or missing.
Health and Safety
Any issue that seriously jeopardizes your physical well-being or safety is one that you have the right to insist the landlord fix.
Unless the need for repair was caused by “normal wear and tear,” the landlord is not obligated to address problems caused by you, another legal resident, a member of your household, or guests. A written agreement between you and the landlord stating the terms and conditions under which you will make necessary repairs may be established.
Smoke detectors must also be supplied by the landlord. You cannot disengage or disable the smoke detector, and you cannot waive that clause.
Tenant’s Responsibilities in Texas
A tenant must follow the following guidelines to keep good relations with their landlord:
- On time rent payment.
- Restores damage that is not regarded as ordinary wear and tear.
- Other conditions that the landlord specifies.
- Encourage your neighbors and other renters to live in a healthy atmosphere.
- Maintain the building in good condition.
Disclosure: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.