I always find it to be difficult to find the correct information when it comes to landlord/tenant laws in Texas. So, I put together a summary of laws and resources that will point you in the right direction for finding the answers you seek.
Please note – I am not an attorney and this is meant to be a guide and not fact. Please do your own research and come to your own conclusion.
If you have legal questions or concerns then work with the state bar association to find an attorney.
Rules and Regulations For Landlord/Tenants
Rules Surrounding The Security Deposit
– Security deposit maximum: No statute exists
– Security deposit interest: No statute exists
– Separate security deposit bank account: No statute exists
– Pet deposits and additional fees: No statute exists
– Deadline for returning security deposit: 30 days
– Require written description and an itemized list of damages: Yes
– Record of deposit withholdings: No statute exists
Questions About The Lease, Rent Or Fees
– Do you have to provide a rent increase notice? No Statute exists
– Can the landlord charge late fees? Reasonable amount allowed
– Can I charge a fee for a returned check? No statute exists
– Is the tenant allowed to withhold rent when the landlord fails to provide essential services? No Statute exists
– Can the tenant deduct repairs from the rent? Yes, but not more than 1 month’s rent or $500. Tenant must give prior notice to Landlord.
– Is the landlord allowed to recover court and attorney’s fees? Yes
– Can the tenant terminate due to public indecency? Immediate
– Can the tenant sublet if they choose? Prohibited without prior consent
– Does the landlord have to attempt to rerent if the tenant vacates? Yes, reasonable efforts
Different Types Of Notices
– Notice to terminate – annual lease: at least 1 month
– Notice to terminate – month to month lease: at least 1 month but tenant and landlord can make agreements in writing that differ from this.
– Notice of date/time of move out inspection: No statute exists
– Eviction notice for nonpayment: 3 days to pay or move-out – Landlord can file for eviction 3 days after the notice is received.
– Eviction notice for lease violation: No Statute exists
– Required notice before entry: No Statute exists
– Entry allowed with notice for non-emergency maintenance and repairs: No Statute exists
– Entry allowed during tenant’s extended absence: No Statute exists
– Emergency entry allowed without notice: No Statute exists
To Disclose Or Not To Disclose
Does the landlord have to identify the property owner or owners? Yes, the landlord must identify, in writing, the name and address of the property owner.
Does the landlord have to identify the property manager? Yes, the landlord must identify, in writing, the name and address of the property manager.
Can the landlord remove personal property after 30 days from sending a postmarked certified letter? Yes, the landlord can remove personal property which has been abandoned 30 days after sending postmarked certified notice, and if no one has claimed the items.
Are there special circumstances where the tenant can break the lease? Yes, if a special circumstance exists (sexual assault, sexual abuse, domestic violence) then the landlord must inform the tenant, in writing, that they may break the lease.
Can the landlord demand proof of domestic violence before the tenant can break the lease? Yes, landlords can require tenants to provide proof of domestic violence before releasing them from the lease.
The landlord must inform the Tenant, in writing, that they have the right to “Repair and deduct or the option to terminate the lease”, if the Landlord fails to make repairs that directly affect the health or safety of an ordinary tenant.
Small Claims Court
– Small claims are limited to $10,000
– The following types of businesses are not allowed in small claims; collection agencies, money brokers, and money lenders.
Is A Business License Required?
There is no statewide statute but your local city or county might have different requirements. You should check with your local authority to see what is applicable.
Great Resources And Links
- Texas Courts Online
- Texas Constitution
- Texas Guide to Home Owners Insurance
- Attorney General Office – Texas
- State Bar of Texas
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Texas Real Estate Commission
- Texas Association of REALTORS