So can a Texas landlord deny you your security deposit? That’s what we’re here to find out. By understanding the Texas renters law concepts that protect you, it is possible to avoid losing your security deposit when you move out. It will also help you understand the importance of working with a property management company in Round Rock that you can trust.
Texas Renters Law is Specific About Security Deposits
Currently, Texas state law does not limit how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit. However, city and county laws typically set a cap on how much a landlord can charge. Make sure to talk to your local officials to ensure that you aren’t getting charged too much for your security deposit. This initial step is a good way to gauge how your landlord will handle security deposits in the future.
Someone who is trying to charge more than is legally allowed may be more likely to try to deny returning a security deposit. This situation is very frustrating because it often feels like the landlord has all the control in the case. After all, many people will feel like it is their word against that of their landlord and that they have no chance of winning such a case.
While there are plenty of reliable property managers in Round Rock, some will try to take advantage of their renters in any way. Thankfully, Texas law is set up to protect you from a landlord that would seek to hold on to your security deposit without a proper reason.
Landlords Cannot Hold a Security Deposit
According to Texas law, a landlord must return the security deposit to a renter within 30 days after the tenant has moved out. Failure to do so without a justifiable reason puts them in violation of Texas renters law. Landlords may try to ignore this law or explain it away to their renters, but it is one that they cannot get around without a good reason.
Typically, you should have no difficulty winning a lawsuit against a landlord who attempts to keep your security deposit past the appropriate date. In the case of such a trial, you are likely to win not only your deposit but also a small settlement. However, your landlord may try to argue that you violated or voided your security deposit agreement and present proof of this violation.
Situations in Which They May Try to Hold It
So what justification will a landlord try to argue as a reason for denying your security deposit? There are a few instances in which they may be allowed to hold onto part or even all of your deposit. While your rights are protected under Texas renters law, landlords have rights that protect them from inappropriate renter behavior. For example, your landlord may try to hold your security deposit if you:
- Broke your lease early
- Owe them back rent or utility costs
- Damaged or dirtied the property beyond reasonable wear and tear
Under Texas law, you need to provide your renter with at least a 30-day notice before moving out. Failure to do so could void your security deposit agreement. Moving out before your lease is finished also voids your security deposit. If you followed these guidelines and your landlord is holding your deposit due to damages, it is important to understand what damage qualifies.
The damage that may void a security deposit includes:
- Large holes in the wall
- Huge stains and holes in the carpet
- Damage to hardwood floors
- Broken doors
- Cracked window panes
- Smoke damage to the ceiling tiles
- Burns anywhere in the home
- Cracked counters in bathrooms or kitchens
When this kind of damage has occurred, a person has clearly violated their lease and won’t get their security deposit back. However, if a landlord tries to argue a case like this while citing nail holes, dirty grout, tarnish, and other bits of small wear, they are trying to wrongly deny a security deposit.
Pursuing a Lawsuit When Necessary
If a landlord is trying to deny you of your security deposit without just cause, it is important to protect your rights by pursuing a lawsuit. It may be a lengthy process, but it is worth it. You should be able to gather enough evidence that you didn’t break your lease, including:
- A copy of the lease
- Description of the home after you moved out
- Photos of the disputed areas
- Transcripts of conversations with the landlord
Talking to property managers in Round Rock is also a good idea here, as they can assess the situation and help you better understand your rights as a renter. If you followed all the guidelines for leaving the property and didn’t cause severe damage to the home, you can’t lose your security deposit.
Protecting Your Rights
If your landlord is trying to deny your security deposit for inappropriate reasons, it may not be a bad idea to work with a property management company in Round Rock that has your best interests in mind. After all, not all companies of this type are equal. While some will try to take advantage of you, others will treat you fairly.
If you’re sick of dealing with companies and landlords that are working to hold your money, don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as possible. We are one of the most trusted property management companies in the Round Rock area. When you work with us, you get a group who will fight for your rights and protect you from unfair practices.