Texas Landlord-Tenant Laws: An Overview
- Texas landlord-tenant laws, also known as Texas rental laws, outline the rules that landlords and tenants must follow.
- These laws cover important aspects such as rent payments, security deposits, eviction procedures, and maintenance responsibilities.
- They ensure that both landlords and tenants have rights and obligations to maintain a fair and lawful rental relationship.
- Familiarizing oneself with landlord-tenant law in Texas can help prevent disputes and ensure a smooth renting experience for all parties involved.
How much can I charge for rent?
Under Texas landlord-tenant laws, there are no limitations on the amount of rent that a landlord can 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?
Under Texas landlord-tenant laws, 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?
According to Texas landlord-tenant laws, 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 landlord-tenant laws 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?
According to Texas landlord-tenant laws, you as a landlord is 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?
Under Texas landlord-tenant laws, 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?
Under Texas landlord-tenant laws, 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?
Under Texas landlord-tenant laws, 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 must a landlord provide by law in Texas?
As a landlord in Texas, there are several legal requirements that you must fulfill to ensure that you are meeting your obligations and responsibilities towards your tenants. Some of the key requirements are:
- Habitable premises: Texas landlord-tenant laws require landlords to provide safe and habitable premises for their tenants. This means that the property must be free from health hazards, such as mold or pests, and that all essential services, such as plumbing, heating, and electricity, must be in good working condition.
- Repairs and maintenance: Landlords in Texas are responsible for making necessary repairs and maintaining the property in a reasonable state of repair. Tenants are required to notify landlords of any necessary repairs, and landlords are required to address these issues in a timely manner.
- Security deposit: Texas rental law allows landlords to collect a security deposit from tenants to cover any damage or unpaid rent at the end of the lease term. The amount of the deposit cannot exceed one month’s rent, and landlords must return the deposit within 30 days of the lease ending, minus any lawful deductions.
- Notice before entry: Texas law requires landlords to give tenants reasonable notice before entering the rental property, except in case of an emergency. Generally, 24 hours’ notice is considered reasonable.
Landlord’s Rights in Texas
- Right to Collect Rent: As a landlord, you have the right to collect rent from your tenants. You can also charge late fees or other charges if the rent is not paid on time.
- Right to Evict: If a tenant violates the terms of the lease, you have the right to evict them. However, you must follow the proper legal procedures, such as providing notice and going through the court system.
- Right to Enter the Property: As the owner of the property, you have the right to enter the rental unit for certain reasons, such as making repairs or showing the property to potential tenants. However, you must provide the tenant with reasonable notice before entering the property.
- Right to Withhold Security Deposit: You have the right to withhold all or part of a tenant’s security deposit if they violate the terms of the lease, damage the property, or fail to pay rent.
- Right to Screen Tenants: As a landlord, you have the right to screen potential tenants by running background checks and credit reports. You can also require tenants to provide references or rental history.
- Right to Terminate the Lease: If the tenant violates the lease agreement, you have the right to terminate the lease. However, you must follow the proper legal procedures.
- Right to Receive Written Notice: If the tenant plans to move out, they must provide you with written notice before leaving the property. The notice period must be specified in the lease agreement.
Texas Landlord Responsibilities
- Providing Safe and Livable Housing: It’s your responsibility to provide your tenants with safe and habitable housing. This includes ensuring that the property is structurally sound, has proper plumbing and electrical systems, and is free from health hazards.
- Maintaining the Property: You’re responsible for maintaining the property and keeping it in good condition. This includes repairing any damage caused by normal wear and tear, maintaining common areas, and addressing any pest infestations.
- Disclosing Important Information: You’re required to disclose any important information about the property to your tenants. This includes information about lead-based paint, any known hazards or defects, and any upcoming renovations or repairs that may impact the tenants.
- Following the Lease Agreement: You’re responsible for following the terms of the lease agreement you’ve signed with your tenants. This includes providing notice before entering the property, respecting the tenant’s privacy, and ensuring that the rental unit is available for the tenant’s use during the lease term.
- Returning Security Deposits: At the end of the lease, you’re responsible for returning the tenant’s security deposit, minus any deductions for damages or unpaid rent.
- Following Fair Housing Laws: You’re required to follow fair housing laws and ensure that you don’t discriminate against any potential tenants based on their race, gender, religion, or other protected characteristics.
- Providing Notice for Rent Increases: If you plan to increase the rent, you must provide your tenants with written notice before the increase goes into effect.
Texas Habitability Laws
In Texas, habitability laws safeguard tenants by mandating landlords to maintain safe and livable conditions in rental properties. These laws require landlords to address essential repairs promptly, including plumbing, heating, and electrical systems. Texas habitability laws provide crucial protections to ensure tenants’ well-being and comfortable living environments.
Texas Landlord Repair Laws
Texas landlord repair laws require landlords to promptly address and fix repair issues in rental properties. These laws ensure that landlords are responsible for maintaining essential services such as plumbing, heating, and electrical systems. Tenants are protected by these laws, ensuring their comfort and safety in their rented homes.
Disclosure of certain information: Landlords in Texas are required to disclose certain information to tenants, such as the name and address of the property owner or manager, and any known lead-based paint hazards.
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.
Potential tenants agent is asking for contract before I receive deposit and first month rent. Is it the correct thing to do?
Yes as long as you don’t sign it first