If you own properties in Texas, it's crucial that you understand the Texas landlord tenant law in the State. This will help you become aware of your duties as a Texas landlord and protect the rights of your tenants.
It will also help you operate within the legal framework of property management.
If you're considering a real estate investment in New Braunfels or the surrounding area, you'll want to be familiar with local legislation. So, without further ado, here's your guide to the landlord and tenant laws in Texas:
Required Landlord Disclosures in Texas
By law, landlords are obligated to disclose certain information to tenants. The following are the disclosures:
1. Nonrefundable Fees
In Texas, nonrefundable fees are permitted so long as it is agreed upon in the lease.
2. Security deposit
Under the Texas state Law, there's no maximum limit landlords charge for the security deposit. However, when the tenancy ends, the Texas landlord is obligated to refund the security deposit within 30 days.
The tenant must also be provided with a detailed list of the deductions. If not, the landlord won't be able to charge or hold the security deposit.
3. Rights of domestic violence victims
Victims of domestic violence may vacate the unit without penalties. In fact, they may even do so without sending a notice to the Texas landlord. The tenant must submit a temporary injunction and a temporary ex parte protective order or a final protective order. Once the tenant provides these documents as evidence, the tenant won't be penalized for breaking the lease early.
If a Texas landlord tries to hinder a tenant's attempt to break a lease, the landlord will be penalized.
4. Owner or agent identity
Under the Texas State law, a rental agreement must contain the following:
- Name and address of the landlord/property owner
- Name and address of the management company if the owner hired one.
Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
These are the basic renter rights in Texas.
Under the Texas law, a tenant has:
- The right to quiet enjoyment inside the unit.
- A right to a secure home. This means landlords must install solid locks and other security measures.
- The right to a healthy and safe home environment. Hence, the landlords are tasked to maintain and repair damages that will affect a tenant's health and safety.
- The right to remain in the property unless there's a breach of the lease agreement. In other words, a landlord can't evict a tenant without cause.
These are the basic tenant responsibilities in Texas.
A tenant needs to:
- Practice cleanliness inside the home as well as in the common areas.
- Inform the landlord of any damages or maintenance issues.
- Dispose of the garbage properly and practice proper sanitation.
- Follow the rules, policies and regulations in the leasing agreement and those that are mandated by local, County and State laws.
Landlord Responsibilities and Rights
These are the basic landlord rights in Texas.
Under the Texas law, a landlord may:
- Be provided with a minimum 1-month notice when the renter decides to move out.
- Enter the unit without notice in emergency situations.
These are the basic landlord responsibilities in Texas.
Landlords need to:
- Make the unit safe and habitable for the tenants.
- Comply with the Fair Housing Act.
- Inform tenants about the necessary property disclosures.
An Overview of the Texas Landlord Tenant Laws
1. Tenant Privacy and Landlord's Right to Enter the Unit
Unlike other States, landlords in Texas don't have specific notice periods to conduct unit inspections. This will depend on the conditions stipulated in the lease. A landlord may enter the unit if:
- There's a court order issued.
- Repairs and inspections need to be performed.
2. The Condition, Maintenance, and Repairs
Maintenance is a major landlord responsibility. Hence, a landlord needs to keep the unit habitable by:
- Ensuring that electrical, lighting and plumbing are in excellent condition.
- Making sure that the windows and doors in the unit are secure.
3. Texas' Housing Discrimination Laws
Based on the Fair Housing Act, a landlord must avoid discrimination of the 7 protected classes. These classes include color, religion, race, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status.
4. Security Deposits
A landlord requires a security deposit from the tenants. This security deposit may be used to:
- Pay for the repairs of any damages caused by tenant negligence.
- Cover for damages resulting from a tenant's breach of contract.
5. Required Landlord Disclosures
Landlord disclosures should be printed in the lease agreement.
The disclosures are as follows:
- Landlords must disclose the presence of lead paint, especially if the home is built prior to 1978.
- Landlords must provide their tenants with information on all those involved with managing the unit. This may include providing them with a list of names and addresses.
6. Renters' Rights to Withhold Rent
If a landlord fails to perform his responsibility to address property repairs, tenants may:
- Arrange a lawsuit to force a landlord to make the needed repairs.
- Terminate the lease with the landlord.
- Repair and deduct by fixing the rental damage and subtracting the repair fees from the their rent payment.
7. Small Claims Lawsuits
If there are issues regarding security deposits, tenants may file a lawsuit against the landlords. They may proceed to the Texas Justice Court for the return of their security deposit.
Bottom Line: Texas Landlord Tenant Laws
As a property owner in Texas, there are many laws you need to be familiar with. The Texas State Law's Landlord and Tenant Law is one of the most vital laws for you to understand. We hope this blog was informative.
For further inquiries, contact Limestone Country Properties.
Please note that this blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in Texas. Laws frequently 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.