Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in Texas

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 landlord and protect the rights of your tenants.

It will also help you operate within the legal framework.

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 tenant law in Texas:

Required Landlord Disclosures in Texas

Under Texas 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 rental property agreement.

2. Security deposits

Under the Texas state Law, there's no maximum limit landlords charge for the security deposit. However, when the tenancy ends, a 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.

lease agreement signing

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 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 leasing agreement 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, an agreement must contain the following:

  • Name and address of the landlord/rental 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. This means Texas tenants can enjoy peace and quiet.
  • 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 unit unless there's a breach of the lease. In other words, a landlord can't evict a tenant without cause.

These are the basic tenant responsibilities in Texas.

By Texas law, 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.
  • Pay rent on-time every month.
  • Follow the rules, policies and regulations in the rental agreement and those that are mandated by local, County and State laws.

signing a lease landlord tenant law

Landlord Responsibilities and Rights

These are the basic landlord rights in Texas.

Under 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 as per the Texas Property Code. It's your duty to repair any issues in the unit.
  • Comply with the Fair Housing Act. It's a landlord's responsibility to know about the protected classes. You can't refuse to rent to someone based on these classes.
  • Inform tenants about the necessary disclosures.
  • Wait at least two days before charging a late fee for the tenant not paying rent on time.

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 by law. 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.

housing laws tx

4. Security Deposits

A landlord requires a security deposit (usually about 2 months' rent) to cover for:

  • The repairs of any damages caused by tenant negligence.
  • 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 repairs, tenants may:

  • Arrange a lawsuit to force a landlord to make the needed repairs.
  • Terminate the tenancy with the landlord and have no obligation to pay more rent.
  • Repair and deduct by fixing the 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.

landlord-tenant handshake

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.

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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 legal aspect of your business.

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