A rental agreement becomes valid after the exchange of rent. And that now gives both you and your tenant certain inherent rights under Texas state law (Texas Property Code Chapter 92).
As a landlord, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your and your tenants’ rights and obligations for the smooth operations of your investment.
The following is a comprehensive overview of everything you should know about Texas landlord-tenant state law.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Texas
According to Texas landlord-tenant rules, as a landlord, you must provide your tenant with the following disclosures. If you fail to do so, your tenant can use that as justification to terminate the written lease or rental agreements.
- Disclosure on the use of lead-based paint: This is required of landlords who own homes built before 1978. You must let your tenant know of the lead paint concentrations used.
- Disclosure on authorized agents: As the property owner, you must provide your tenant with the names and addresses of any party tasked with managing the unit during their tenancy on behalf of the owner.
- Disclosure on your tenant’s right to repair and deduct: Texas tenants have a right to live in a habitable home. If the landlord refuses or fails to provide them with one, they can do the necessary repairs themselves and then make appropriate deductions from future rent payments (check Texas Property Code Section 92.0563 for details).
- Disclosure on parking rules: This is only applicable to landlords renting out multi-unit complexes.
- Disclosure on late fees: Do you charge tenants late fees for not paying rent on time? If you do, you must disclose that information in the written lease or rental agreement.
- Disclosure on the emergency phone number: You must provide your tenant with an emergency phone number so that tenants can contact you when they encounter emergencies.
Texas Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
Under Texas state law, tenant’s rights include the following:
- Live in a habitable dwelling.
- Live in peace and quiet enjoyment.
- Be treated without discrimination based on race, color, or any other protected class under the Fair Housing Act.
- Be removed from the rental through judicial means.
- Requesting repairs and having them done within a reasonable period.
According to Texas laws, tenants have the following basic responsibilities:
- Notify the landlord before vacating their rental unit.
- Notify the landlord when seeking to be away for an extended period.
- Keep noise levels down and not bother neighbors or other tenants on the property.
- Keep the rental clean and sanitary.
- Pay rent on time.
- Report maintenance and repairs on time.
- Abide by all terms and policies of the lease agreement.
- Allow the landlord entry for legitimate reasons.
- Care for their rented premises.
Landlord Rights and Responsibilities in Texas
Property owners or landlords have the following rights according to Texas law:
- Require that your tenant pays a security deposit before moving in.
- Enforce the terms of the lease agreement.
- Start the eviction process for a tenant if they violate a term of the lease.
- Screen prospective tenants as long as the process is non-discriminatory.
- Be notified before a tenant can vacate the premises.
- Raise rent by whatever amount. Also, to charge whatever amount of late fees.
According to Texas law, landlord responsibilities include the following:
- Abide by all terms of the lease agreement.
- Maintain the property to habitable standards.
- Respond to maintenance requests within a reasonable period.
- Follow the judicial process when evicting tenants.
- Maintain peace and quiet.
- Serve your tenant a 30-day notice before terminating their month-to-month lease.
- Return security deposits within 30 days of your tenants moving out.
Texas Landlord Tenant Laws: Overview
Texas Landlord Entry Laws
As a landlord, you have an inherent right to enter your tenant’s rented unit. However, you can’t just show up unannounced and you can’t enter the premises unless allowed by the tenant. You have a responsibility to give your tenant reasonable notice before entering. A 24-hour written notice can suffice.
Texas landlords may also want to state other entry notice terms in the lease agreement to avoid any potential confusion or misunderstanding in the future. However, this is not explicitly required by state laws.
Housing Discrimination Laws
Discriminating against your tenant based on certain protected classes is against the law. The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, nationality, disability, and familial status.
Unlike some other states, landlord tenant laws do not extend these protections past what is outlined in the Fair Housing Act.
Texas Rent Increase Law
Currently, Texas state law prohibits legislation of any rent control law at both state and local levels. This means that the landlord can charge whatever rent payment amount they want.
What’s more, you can raise month’s rent by any amount. Landlords in Texas have no obligation to notify their tenants before the rent raise.
Lease Termination Law
Either party can terminate a month-to-month lease early by serving the other party a 30-day advance notice before the tenant vacates. There are no statutes that define the minimum notice requirements for other lease period or situations, such as week-to-week and quarter-to-quarter.
In a fixed-term lease, both parties must wait until it expires naturally. There are two exceptions to this rule. Landlords may choose to include an early termination clause. Or, according to state and federal laws, a tenant may be able to break a lease early for the following reasons:
- Landlord harassment.
- Uninhabitable rental conditions.
- Active military duty.
- Domestic violence.
Texas Security Deposit Laws
Landlords have a responsibility to abide by the state’s security deposit laws. The following is a basic overview of security deposit law in Texas.
There is no limit to how much money a landlord can charge for security deposits. The maximum period to return a tenant’s security deposit after they have moved out is 30 days.
If a landlord fails to return the security deposit, the landlord may face certain penalties. This includes paying up to three times the value of the deposit and court and attorney fees.
Deducting from security deposits must only be for legitimate reasons, such as cleaning fees, unpaid rent, or the cost of fixing rental property damage.
Texas Eviction Law
Landlords in Texas have a right to evict their Texas tenants for violation of the terms of the lease agreement. Legitimate reasons for tenant eviction include the following.
- Withhold rent.
- Violation of the terms of the agreement.
- Failure by a tenant to move out at the end of their lease term.
- Absence of a lease.
- Illegal activity.
If a landlord fails to follow the proper eviction procedure outlined by Texas law, there may be issues. Retaliatory or discriminatory evictions are prohibited under landlord tenant law.
Still have questions about Texas landlord tenant law or need expert guidance for managing your property? Keyrenter Austin can help! We’re the most trusted and highest-rated property management company in Austin. Get in touch to learn more!
Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.