Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in Texas

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Are you are looking to learn more about the landlord-tenant laws in Texas?

The relationship between landlords and tenants is guided by the Texas Landlord-Tenant Laws.

Understanding these laws can help both tenants and landlords solve legal issues without requiring to take legal action.

Here is an overview of the Texas landlord-tenant laws:

Landlord’s Right to Enter Rented Premises

Landlords in Texas, much like everywhere else, have the right to enter rented premises. The reason for the entry may either be for emergency or non-emergency purposes.

Texas, unlike many other states, has no law that regulates a landlord’s access to a rented property. Thus, the entry rights of a landlord are pretty much left to the provisions of the lease or rental agreement.

Common reasons why landlords enter rental units include:

  • To conduct property inspections
  • If the tenant asks the landlord or invites them to enter the apartment
  • In the event of an emergency
  • To investigate possible lease violations
  • To show the property to prospective buyers or tenants

Texas Security Deposit Laws

There is no law in Texas forcing landlords to ask for security deposits from tenants. Many landlords still require it before they exchange keys with a tenant.

Since it’s a requirement in most leases, many states have security deposit laws to help avoid issues regarding its use and return.

According to Texas security deposit laws:

  • No statutory limit exists on security deposits. A landlord is free to charge whatever amount they see fit. This amount should, however, be reasonable.
  • A landlord may keep a portion or all of the deposit if the tenant damages the property in excess of normal wear and tear.
  • A landlord can charge non-refundable fees. A good example is a fee for redecorating. The landlord must clearly state rules regarding this in the lease.
  • Landlords in Texas have 30 days to return the deposit once the tenant moves out.

Responsibilities of Landlords

Landlords have many responsibilities under the Texas landlord-tenant law. Staying on top of these responsibilities is key to running a successful rental business.

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The following are common responsibilities of landlords in Texas:

  • Complying with the Federal Fair Housing law
  • Following all state rules regarding rent
  • Adhering to Texas security deposit law
  • Providing habitable housing that meets the state’s minimum health, building, and safety codes
  • Preparing a lease or rental agreement that adheres to the federal, state, and local laws
  • Making legally required disclosures
  • Following exact procedures for lease termination

Landlords are also required, according to Texas Attorney General, to state the following tenant rights in their lease or rental agreement:

  • The right to “quiet enjoyment” of their home. This signifies that a landlord cannot enter the tenant’s premises without giving the tenant adequate notice.
  • The right to safe and habitable premises. The landlord has a responsibility to ensure the property meets the state’s minimum health, safety, and building standards.

Required Landlord Disclosures in Texas

Landlords in Texas need to make certain disclosures to tenants. Such disclosures include:

  • Landlord’s towing or parking rules and policies.
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  • Electric service disruption. The landlord may interrupt the service if a tenant fails to pay and had previously been notified.
  • Remedies available when a landlord fails to make repairs.
  • The landlord must publish his tenant screening criteria if asked upon by a tenant.
  • The landlord must disclose the name and address of the owner or agent identity.

The Texas Fair Housing Laws

The Fair Housing Law of 1968 gives every American the right to equal and fair treatment in regards to housing. As per this law, tenants have the right to enjoy housing without the landlord discriminating or harassing them based on their:

  • Race: A landlord shouldn’t use race as a standard to accept or deny housing to a prospective tenant.
  • Color: Color is a protected class. Denying housing to a tenant based on this class may be discriminatory.
  • Religion: Whether a tenant is a Muslim, Christian or atheist shouldn’t be used as a requirement to be considered for a property.
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  • National Origin: Landlords shouldn’t use a tenant’s national origin as a basis to offer or deny them housing.
  • Sex: Sex is also a protected class. Landlords shouldn’t use it to make their decisions of whether or not to rent to a tenant.
  • Disability: Disability includes things like chronic illnesses, mental illnesses, HIV or AIDS, and alcoholism.
  • Familial Status: Deeming your property “adults only,” for instance, can land you in legal trouble for tenant discrimination.

There you have it. An overview of the landlord-tenant laws in Texas. If you are looking for more information, consider calling a professional.