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 the Texas state law can help both Texas tenants and Texas landlords solve legal issues without requiring them to take legal action. You should also understand the Texas Squatters Laws in case you have to deal with a squatter.
Here is an overview of the Texas landlord-tenant laws:
Landlord’s Right to Enter Rented Premises
A landlord has the right to enter rented premises. According to Texas landlord-tenant law, 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 a landlord will 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 unit to prospective buyers or other tenants
Texas Security Deposit Laws
There is no landlord-tenant law in Texas forcing landlords to ask for a security deposit from tenants. Most landlords still require it before they exchange keys with a tenant and will include provisions in the written lease agreement.
Since it’s a requirement in most lease agreements, many states have security deposit federal laws to help avoid issues regarding its use and return. There are specific requirements for security deposits under Texas landlord-tenant laws.
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 agreement. If a landlord refuses to return rent payments when nonrefundable fees have not been specified, the tenant can withhold rent.
- Texas landlords have 30 days to return the deposit once the tenant moves out.
Texas Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
Landlords have many responsibilities under the Texas landlord-tenant law. Staying on top of these landlord responsibilities is key to running a successful rental business.
The following are common responsibilities of a landlord under Texas law:
- Complying with the Federal Fair Housing Act
- Following all state and federal laws regarding rent
- Adhering to Texas security deposit law including keeping part of the security deposit to make up for unpaid rent
- Providing habitable housing that meets the state’s minimum health, building, and safety codes
- Preparing a lease or rental agreement that adheres to the local, federal and state laws
- Putting in an extra payment for late fees as a property owner
- Making legally required disclosures
- Following exact procedures for lease termination
A landlord must, according to Texas law, state the following Texas 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 written notice.
- The right to safe and habitable premises while paying rent. The landlord has a responsibility to ensure the rental property meets the state’s minimum health, safety, and building standards.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Texas
A landlord in Texas must make certain disclosures to tenants. Such disclosures include:
- Landlord’s towing or parking rules and policies.
- 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 necessary repairs.
- The landlord and any property owners 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 landlord harassment based on:
- 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.
- National Origin: A landlord shouldn’t use a tenant’s national origin as a basis to offer or deny them housing.
- Sex: Sex is also a protected class. A landlord 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 Texas landlord-tenant laws If you are looking for more information, consider calling a professional property management company, or seek out legal advice.