In Texas, landlord tenant relationships must comply with a combination of local, state, and federal laws. It’s vital that both parties understand the law.
Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, this article will provide you with a general overview of everything you’ll need to know about the Texas landlord-tenant laws in Dallas-Fort Worth when you rent your home.
The landlord tenant law in Texas helps protect you and your rental unit during the rental agreement. It can outline the tenant and landlord responsibilities, the price of the security deposit, how and when the tenant will pay rent and the required notice to be given.
Disclaimer: This blog was not written by an attorney, and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Texas laws frequently change, and this post might not have updated legal information at the time of your reading. Seek legal counsel with an attorney if you have legal questions, or give us a call at (817) 491-2553 for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your management needs.
McCaw Property Management is happy to provide you with property management services that take the stress of owning a rental off your hands.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Texas
Under the landlord-tenant law in Texas, owners must disclose the following information to their tenants:
- Owner Contact Details: According to Texas law, a landlord must disclose to residents the name and address of any property owners. This should be done in writing.
- Property Manager or Agent Details: A Texas landlord must identify, in writing, the property manager or agent’s name and address.
- Breaking a Lease Early: The landlord must inform their residents that they may end their rent or lease agreement and break their lease early in special circumstances involving domestic violence, sexual abuse, or sexual assault.
- Domestic Violence Victims: The landlord can require tenants to provide proof that they are victims of domestic violence before releasing them from the lease.
- Right to Repair & Deduct or Terminate the Lease: The landlord must inform their residents that they have the rights to repair and deduct or even terminate the lease agreement if the landlord fails to make requested repairs that impact their safety or health.
- Personal Items of a Deceased Tenant: Texas law allows a landlord to remove the personal effects of a deceased tenant after 30 days if no one has removed or claimed the items. This is only applicable if the landlord has sent a certified written notice to the last known forwarding address of the person the tenant designated as the landlord’s point of contact.
- Under Texas landlord tenant law, residents in Texas have the right to peaceful enjoyment of their homes. This means that a landlord cannot disturb a tenant’s right to rent and live in peace and quiet or otherwise evict a tenant without cause.
- Texas law dictates that tenants have the right to a safe and healthy home. The landlord must provide home security devices such as door viewers, sliding door security latches and bars, keyed deadbolts on exterior doors, and window latches.
- Residents also have the right to properly maintained homes. The landlord must make repairs to protect their security, safety, and health. If he or she doesn’t, then the law gives the tenant several options including the rights to “Repair and Deduct.”
- A Texas tenant has the right to the return of their security deposit at the end of a tenancy. By law, landlords cannot refuse to return it without having a valid reason.
- Residents are expected to adhere to the law and the stipulations of the rent agreement.
- Texas state law states that tenants must maintain the premises. This may include doing things like not damaging the unit, maintaining appliances, maintaining plumbing fixtures, and keeping the unit safe and sanitary.
- Tenants must allow the landlord to enter the premises. Landlords have a right by law to enter the tenant’s rented premises for legitimate reasons. Such reasons include: to make repairs, to show the unit to prospective residents, and to conduct inspections.
- The tenant pays any damage that isn’t a result of normal wear and tear.
- While they aren’t responsible for fixing major rental issues, tenants are responsible for reporting them as soon as they occur.
Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
- Residents must observe all the terms of a lease agreement and collect rent once a month
- Tenants should make a repair notice request in a timely manner
- A tenant looking to move out, at least a one month notice must be given to the landlord before the tenant vacates.
- Landlords have the right to charge late fees on rent payments once it has passed a day after the rent’s due date. These late fees must be disclosed in the lease. There is no cap on this late fee, with the only provision stating that the late fee should be “reasonable.”
- By Texas law, landlords have the right by to enter a rented unit to carry out their responsibilities including making necessary repairs, showing the unit to prospective other tenants, and inspecting the unit.
- A landlord must follow Texas law and not retaliate against a tenant who chooses to exercise their legal rights or complain in good faith.
- They must make legally required disclosures
- They must prepare a legal written lease or rental agreement including all required information, including everything from rent collection processes to house rules.
- They are responsible for adhering to local property code and providing habitable housing for those they rent to. This includes security devices.
- They have to meet state security deposit limits and return rules
- They must follow state rent rules and register their rental
- And a landlord must always comply with anti-discrimination state laws
Many of these provisions are also a part of the Texas Property Code, which contains many state laws that landlords must follow in specific regards to their occupied rental space. Learn more about Texas Property Code here.
An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in Texas
1. Tenant Right to Quiet Enjoyment
Tenants paying rent in Texas have the right to quiet enjoyment of the premises. To enter, a landlord must provide adequate notice beforehand.
2. Landlord’s Right to Enter the Dwelling
Texas landlords can, by law, only enter the premises of their tenants under certain circumstances. Such reasons include: to make necessary repairs or to show the rental to prospective tenants.
3. Tenant Rights in Texas for Repairs
Landlord tenant law in Texas states that landlords have the responsibility to keep their rented properties habitable.
This may signify ensuring plumbing, electrical, heating, and lighting facilities are all up to code.
4. Fair Housing Laws in Texas
As per the 1968 Fair Housing Act, it’s against the law for a landlord to discriminate against a tenant based on certain protected classes. These classes include race, age, disability, genetic information, citizenship status, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, and/or skin color. Detrimental legal issues can arise if this law is not respected when screening tenants.
5. Small Claims Courts
Conflicts between landlords and tenants over rent and security deposits are fairly commonplace. These issues often arise when landlords have unfairly withheld the security deposit from their tenants.
Small claims courts are a specific kind of court that hear cases between both parties involved without the need for high law firm costs, attorney fees, and time-consuming lawsuits.
As per Texas state law, the limit to the amount a person can sue for in the justice court is $10,000.
6. Security Deposits
Most landlords in Texas require tenants to pay security deposits in many situations, including the following reasons:
- Covering unpaid utilities expenses
- Covering the costs of cleaning
- Repair costs for any rental damage beyond normal wear and tear
- Covering costs for unpaid rent
While many other states have laws prohibiting the security deposit from exceeding one month’s rent payment, there is no cap in Texas.
7. Withhold Rent in Texas
Tenants in Texas have the rights to “Repair and Deduct.” This part of landlord tenant law states that tenants may conduct their own repairs in their dwelling and deduct its costs from the rent of the current month of the lease period.
That said, this law means that tenants can only exercise these rights if the damage impacts their basic structural, physical health, and safety standards and their landlord fails to address it in a timely manner.
If you think you’d benefit from the residential management services of an experienced management company, don’t hesitate to contact us today!