In Texas, the relationship between landlords and tenants must comply with a combination of local, state, and federal laws. It’s vital that both parties understand them.
Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, this article will provide you with everything you’ll need to know about the landlord-tenant laws in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.
Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws frequently change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please give us a call at (817) 491-2553 for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs. McCaw Property Management is happy to provide you with property management services that take the stress of owning a rental property off your hands.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Texas
Landlords must disclose the following information to their tenants:
- Property Owner Contact Details: In Texas, landlords must disclose to tenants the name and address of the property owner. This should be done in writing.
- Property Manager or Agent Details: Texas landlords must identify, in writing, the property manager or agent’s name and address.
- Domestic Violence Victims: Landlords 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: Landlords must inform their tenants 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 Property of a Deceased Tenant: A landlord can remove the personal property 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 postmarked certified notice to the last known address of the person the tenant designated as the landlord’s point of contact.
- Breaking a Lease Early: Landlords must inform their tenants that they may break their lease early in special circumstances involving domestic violence, sexual abuse, or sexual assault.
Texas Tenant Rights
- Tenants in Texas have the right to quiet enjoyment of their homes. This means that a landlord cannot disturb a tenant’s right to live in peace and quiet or otherwise evict a tenant without cause.
- 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.
- Tenants 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.”
- Texas tenants have the right to the return of their security deposit at the end of a lease term. By law, landlords cannot refuse to return it without having a valid reason.
- Tenants are expected to adhere to the stipulations of the lease agreement.
- 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 to enter the tenant’s rented premises for legitimate reasons. Such reasons include: to make necessary repairs, to show the unit to prospective tenants, and to conduct inspections.
- Tenants must cover any damage that isn’t a result of normal wear and tear.
- While they aren’t responsible for fixing major property issues, tenants are responsible for reporting them as soon as they occur.
Texas Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
- Tenants must observe all the terms of a lease agreement
- Tenants should request repairs in a timely manner
- A tenant looking to move out must provide their landlord with at least a one month notice prior to moving out
- Landlords in Texas have the right to enter a rented unit to carry out their responsibilities including making necessary repairs, showing the unit to prospective tenants, and inspecting the unit.
- Not retaliating against a tenant who chooses to exercise their legal rights
- Making legally required disclosures
- Preparing a legal written lease or rental agreement
- Providing habitable housing
- Meeting state security deposit limits and return rules
- Following state rent rules and registering their property
- Complying with anti-discrimination laws
An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in Texas
1. Tenant Right to Quiet Enjoyment
Tenants 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
Landlords in Texas can only enter the premises of their tenants for specific reasons. Such reasons include: to make necessary repairs or to show the property to prospective tenants.
3. Tenants Rights in Texas for Repairs
Texas landlords have the responsibility to keep 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 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.
5. Small Claims Courts
Conflicts between landlords and tenants over 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 two parties without the need for costly and time-consuming lawsuits.
In Texas, the limit to the amount a person can sue for in the justice court is $10,000.
6. Security Deposits
Landlords in Texas require tenants to pay security deposits for a variety of reasons, including:
- Covering unpaid utility costs
- Covering the costs of cleaning
- Fixing property damage
- Covering nonpayment rent
7. Withhold Rent in Texas
Tenants in Texas have the rights to “Repair and Deduct.” That said, tenants can only exercise these rights if the damage impacts their basic structural, health, and safety standards.
If you think you’d benefit from the residential management services of an experienced property management company, don’t hesitate to contact us today!