Texas Rental Laws

Written on September 18, 2012 by , updated on November 1, 2017

Flag of TexasThis article summarizes some key Texas Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other online sources cited below to research this information and it should be a good starting point in learning about the law.

With that said, our summary is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice. Laws and statutes are always subject to change, and may even vary from county to county or city to city.

You are responsible for performing your own research and complying with all laws applicable to your unique situation.

If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association may have a referral service that can help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.

Official Rules and Regulations

Details

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No statute
  • Security Deposit Interest: No statute
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No statute
  • Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: No statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days
  • Require Written Description / Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (92.104)
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute

Lease, Rent & Fees:

    • Rent Increase Notice: No Statute (92.012)
    • Late Fees: Reasonable amount allowed
    • Returned Check Fees: No statute
    • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): No Statute
    • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes, but not more than 1 month’s rent or $500. Tenant must give prior notice to Landlord.
    • Landlord Allow to Recover Court and Attorney’s Fees: Yes
    • Termination due to Public Indecency: Immediate
    • Subletting: Prohibited without prior consent
    • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Rerent if Tenant Vacates: Yes
    • Lockouts Allowed:

Yes, but conditions apply. (Sec. 92.0081)
Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (Sec. 92.008(o))

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Yearly Lease: at least 1 month
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Month-to-Month: at least 1 month but tenant and landlord can make agreements in writing that differ from this.
  • Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
  • Eviction Notice for Nonpayment: 3 days to pay or move-out – Landlord can file for eviction 3 days after notice is received. (Sec. 24.005)
  • Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: No Statute
  • Required Notice before Entry: Yes, but no notice period is specified (92.0081)
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes, but no notice period is specified (92.0081)
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No Statute

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Landlord must identify, in writing, the name and address of the property owner.
  • Landlord must identify, in writing, the name and address of the property manager.
  • Landlord can remove personal property of a deceased tenant who has abandoned the property 30 days after sending postmarked certified notice to the previously stated point-of-contact, and if no one has claimed the items. (Sec. 92.014.5)
  • Landlord must inform the Tenant, in writing, that they have the right to “Repair and deduct or the option to terminate the lease”, if the Landlord fails to make repairs that directly affect the health or safety of an ordinary tenant.
  • Landlord must inform the Tenant, in writing, that they may break a lease early in special circumstances involving sexual assault, sexual abuse, or domestic violence.
  • Landlords can require tenants to provide proof of domestic violence status before releasing tenants from a lease.

Court Related:

  • Small Claims Court Limits: $10,000
  • Collection agents or agencies, money brokers, and moneylenders are not allowed to use in small claims court.

Business Licenses:

  • Business License required: No state-wide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements.  Check with your local governing authority.
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Topics:
  Laws & Regulations

1,395 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • K Frye

    I had a tenant in my house and needed to sell the house. I paid the tenant to move out. He moved and left the house with holes in the walls and stains on the carpet. But, the biggest issues was the dog that he was to have kept up after. I ended up cleaning up dog waste in the area the dog was kept, also had to bag and remove trash that was left outside of the house. All of this was prior to the house being sold. I sold the house “as is” and took a hit on the value of the house because of the condition the tenant left the house. Can I claim diminished value and make him pay me for at least the dog and trash cleanup? Thank you

  • Denise

    We live in Texas and currently have house guests (my fiancé’s family) that needed to come from florida to look for a place to live. We were under the understanding that with them not paying rent/bills they were going to save some money to get a place to live but that h. They were only supposed to be there a month and then at the end of that month requested to extend for another month. We are now going on the beginning of month 2 and the progress of them looking for a place to live is not very active. At this point they are becoming a burden. They don’t seem to want to budge and I think they are trying to stay at our house for as long as they can. How can we go about this since they don’t pay rent or bills and its now been more than 30 days

    • Katie

      There would be nothing that you can do. After 30 days of living at the same place, with no lease in place, they can still claim tenants rights. The best bet here is to be forthright and ask them to leave within the next 30 days. And, if they decide not to leave, you may have to start a formal eviction process.

    • Ken

      “ask them to leave within the next 30 days.” :: Yes, them staying like that already creates a tenancy. But asking that all depends on how long you want them to keep bleeding the clock – in months. If they are being disrespectful enough not to budge, then just file the 30day vacate. You’re already looking at a month for the notice. After that, if they refuse to leave, you can pay to file and wait another 2 weeks… not another 80-90 days from now for court. You don’t “have” to file right away after the 30. It just gives you an upper hand. Respect works 2 ways, and yes, you can do something – with your fiancé’s permission of course ;)

  • Texas

    Did not sign a rental application or lease. Paid a deposit and first months rent/pet fee for June 1st. We were going to do a rent to own on our old home and moved into this apartment. All we have is an exchange of money with LL. Our rent to own on our home backed out. :( Literally at 2am June 1st. They couldn’t come up with the money. We love in Texas. We will tell our LL when the sun comes up but are legally contracted to anything regarding current LL. We have already pretty much accepted he may not give any money back. But if he decided to make moving out difficult I wanted to know if he can legally sue us with no lease, no application, nothing in writing.

  • DAVID W GARMAN

    Texas location. We have a contract with the seller to buy the property and close on July 5th. We plan to rent the property and have already started online advertising of the property on Facebook using the pictures from the realtor who listed the property. 1) can we advertise to rent the property before closing, and 2) are we allowed to use pictures pulled from the internet taken by someone else?

    Thanks,

  • Veronica

    After 12 months my lease states I go month to month; have been m2m since 1/2019. In May gave 30 notice to move, then 10 days later notified I was rescinding notice. LL accepted rescind notice but said since m2m the rent would increase $100.00. Pointed out I had been m2m per lease sine Jan and lease did not provide for increase for m2m. Paid normal June rent on their portal which reflected normal amount due. Today received email from Mgmt co partner saying he’d updated portal for additional $100 I was to pay for being m2m. Repeated that lease has no provision for increase – no response. Can they do this? Can they report poorly about my payments or withhold from my deposit when I do leave? Suggestions to fix this? Thanks!

    • Guy

      Note: I am not a lawyer in your state and am not giving you legal advice. You are advised to seek legal counsel. You didn’t mention your state, but most states hold that once you go month to month, just as you can give a one month termination notice, your landlord can give a one month rent increase notice, or tenancy termination notice.

  • Jose Martinez

    Our tenant moved out owing 5 months of rent. What are our legal options?

  • NORMA KIRBY

    My daughter had a friend spend the weekend. Now she wont leave, saying she knows her rights. She has told my daughter that if she wants her out, she will need to evict her. She is not on the lease,, of course, & no other occupants are on the lease, which is a violation. What can my daughter do?

    • Ken

      Not legal advice.
      Weekend isn’t a tenancy. If this happened at my place, they would find their stuff in the street with a cop witnessing the tresspassing removal. Following criminal Tresspass procedure. Tell to leave, give opportunity, inform Tresspass, call police.

  • Michael Scott

    Our daughter is 21 yrs old and just graduated from a university with a BA., degree. She’s does not and has not ever paid rent. She doesn’t do anything to help around the house. We have asked her to think about moving oof of our home into her boyfriends home. She says she’s never leaving here, and there’s nothing we can do about it. She’s never home for the most part, either working, at her boyfriends apt, or partying. She comes home to clean up sleep and have us take her to work . She doesn’t drive b/c of anxiety therefore we have to drive her everywhere, she refuses to pay for gas. We want her out, how can we do this. I know this sounds harsh, however there’s more to the story which can’t be listed here. Thanks in advance….

    • Ken

      We can’t give legal advice, but if I had a disrespectful brat in my house, they would get a 30day termination/eviction. I would also not continue being an enabler – and teach a valuable life lesson; actions have consequences. Also not continue to coddle and give “free services” that just continue to be expected because they only learned they could walk all over me. It’s manipulation/using/abuse, not love. Letting them learn how the real world works. Toughlove.

  • Luz D

    Ask, Can a landlord(apt complex) ask for a whole month’s rent when you only receive keys on the 17th of the month? Is prorating not legal In Texas??

  • Robyn

    Can an apartment complex charge an extra $200.00 premium for a six month lease during the renewal process?

  • Chris M Tupper

    My house is in Galveston, Texas. My tenant last paid rent on January 1, 2019. He left all his things and disappeared toward the end of April. His lease was up June 1, 2019. His belongings are valuable and include the handiman tools he uses to make his living. I have no address for him but he texts from time to time threatening me not to touch his things as he will “get them sometime”. How do I get him and his possessions out of my life?

    • Ken

      If his stuff is still there and he hasn’t paid rent since Jan, then easiest way is to just do 3day nonpayment eviction. Notice sent to that unit.
      If it were my tenant, File for Possession only. Then writ of possession to remove all belongings. I wouldn’t talk to him about the eviction until filing for writ. No more tenant, no junk, move on to new tenant.

  • Christy Landgraf

    When a buyer has a contract pending with the seller. Is the seller allowed to rent out the property until the date of the agreed-upon closing?

  • Brenna McGuffin

    I paid rent late but it’s paid in full. Because late fees have not been paid in full yet, can my landlord continue to charge late fees? Texas.

    • Ken

      Yes. TX property code specifies this.
      If there were no consequences, ppl would just ignore late fees. Why would ppl think they could otherwise just pay “whenever they felt like it”?

      • Brenna McGuffin

        I mean can she still let late fees add at a daily rate after rent is paid in full as of the 14th of this month? Like charge late fees for late fees?

        • Ken

          Read the section in your lease about late fees. (Late fees only apply in a written lease) fees should be a set daily amount (sometimes a higher first day) business leases can have spaced fees that double every week late. It’s all about the lease terms.

          • Brenna McGuffin

            I’ve read that part in my lease. But it is unclear as to what is actually going on. When I paid the rent up to date on the 14th, she said she would quit charging the late fees. I told her I get paid friday and she assumed friday the 23rd. I ment friday the 30th. Her response was since you didn’t pay the late fees on the 23rd as we verbally agreed, your late fees have continued to add up until late fees are paid in full. What I’m reading online is once rent is paid in full she can’t continue to charge daily late fees for late fees. In Texas, can she legally do that? This is a private owned property, their own lease terms, and she states “our verbal agreement”. Can she legally charge me daily late fees AFTER rent has been paid in full on 14th

            • Ken

              “I told her I get paid friday”, semantically this implies the first coming day; Not a week from. There is even a lack of ambiguity. I would win that one in court. Also, not having payment in full including late fees resulting from your wording.

              Also, since verbal is contested, rule defaults to lease. Based on what you said on this site, I could have sent out a 3day nonpayment eviction and no doubt about winning. In a nutshell, it’s your responsibility to pay on time, so in the eyes of the law, you are already on bad footing, and the “argument” is extremely weak and even irrelevant since it was a “partial payment”.

  • Brenna McGuffin

    Shouldn’t the late fees have stopped as of the 14th? Not continously add up everyday until late fees are paid in full?

    • Ken

      When a payment is made, it applies to the total balance due. If the balance due is not zeroed out, then the payment is not complete , ergo late fees continue because only a PARTIAL payment was made. You have also made monthly credit card payments, right? Somehow the interest doesn’t stop because you made a late payment in only the principle amount – right? Real world math applies.

      • Brenna McGuffin

        That’s not what I’m asking.

        • Ken

          Late fees become part of rent owed. Payment can be applied to late fee first so balance of principle exists resulting in more late fees from “partial payment”.
          Your above comment about Friday would also result in a loss. I would suggest get an agreement in writing, with specific dates, pay ALL you owe, and work with them. Even apologize for not being clear on dates. The onus is on you to pay on time regardless. Or, you can -try- explaining to the judge. From experience, you’d lose tho.

  • Sydney Zuiker

    Texas location–

    We were informed on Friday at 4:51pm via email that our landlord is selling our house. That was the first time we heard anything of the sale. The realtor told us that a photographer would be at our house on Tuesday at noon to take pictures. We have a large dog who is sweet but very protective of the house and would definitely attack an intruder. I told the realtor our situation and that neither my husband nor I could be home at that time to deal with our dog. My husband has a work conference that his company paid about $1000 for him to attend and I have a huge event at work that I have been planning for months & absolutely cannot miss. The realtor then said too bad we are coming any way. Is there anything I can do?

    • Ken

      While a tenant cannot deny unreasonable access to a LL, they do have the right to deny. First off, read your lease carefully regarding entry. This is for pics, not a tenant, not for inspection. You can tell him to schedule a time you will be home, even if the next day. Show that you are working with them, and not denying entry – but that particular day/time will not work.
      Further: https://legalbeagle.com/6758403-landlord-rights-entry-texas.html

  • Elsa

    A real estate management company manages my property in San Antonio. The contract i signed states that when the tenant pays late she is entitled to the late fees. Does texas rental laws allow her to do this?

    • Ken

      The late fees should go to you. Or at least a %. You own the property to make $, not just give all profits to a mgmt company. Are they paying for your repairs and property tax too? Of course not. I would be leary of that agreement. As to “law”, if it’s in the contract you signed, then it’s contract law. Always read before signing and/or have an atty look over it prior!

      • Elsa

        Thanks Ken for your quick reply. Another question. The house is rented on a month to month basis. I plan to sell next year bc it’s too much of a hazle dealing with the mgmt co. I live in the Northeast. Wonder how i could sell without going to San Antonio. I am not sure that i can thrust the same real estate company to sell. I discovered a company that charges 2% rather than 6% to sell the property. Any opinion on how i can handle the sale of this property. Thanks again.

        • Ken

          Been very busy.. There are a lot of variables in your question but 2% is a good but it might also show “desperation” 5-6% is average but still too high. I wouldn’t go above 5 and haggle for 3.75-4.5 depending on the numbers. I would look at HAR (and other realtor signs in yards – have someone local research) to see who is selling more homes in that area for a better/faster sale. I already don’t trust the company you have. If around the Houston area I could hook you up.

          • Elsa

            Thanks for replying. I started compiling names of real estate agents in the area and will call each one to ascertain what their fees are and what services are rendered for the fee. Is it necessary to get a contract from the real estate agent for the sale of the house? Thanks

            • Ken

              Yes and no. You need a contract when a buyer is found. But you can switch out before if they don’t bring you buyers.. some may have a “temp agreement” so you don’t have multiple agents at once. . They need permission to sell, a POA, since you are away, and you need a guaranteed % in writing.

      • Sunny Williams

        What if your landlord will not fix the property after being asked because you owe late fees,Texas. They won’t even spray for bugs and the windows are not safe someone could just get into out apt.

  • Adi

    I’ve just moved into a rental being sold. It has a lockbox on the door. My landlord hasn’t supplied me with a keyless lock as the Texas rental code states. While I was home (and hadn’t received the negotiated notice) the realtor attempted to let herself in with the key without knocking.
    I didn’t allow her in after that but I have to know…is that legal? Can she just barge into my home while I’m there without knocking? She also informed me she wouldn’t be knocking in the future.

    Am I within my rights to request a keyless deadbolt or use another security measure to keep her from violating my privacy?

    Also, if she does this even after our conversation and knowing I have an over-protective dog with anxiety, am I liable if she’s injured?

  • Elsa

    Thanks again.

  • Diana Ramirez

    I recently moved away from home for college, but I was told my on campus housing was not going to be available. I looked through Facebook and found a small studio to rent, I checked it out and moved in the next day (Sunday). The next day I received an email from the university saying that I could have my housing restored, & I had to live on campus to claim a $25,000 scholarship. I let the LL know about this the same day and she said she understood. I moved out Saturday, I only lived there 6 days. I paid in full for the month and the deposit was a whole months worth. The LL now is saying we are late for the next payment yet she occupies the studio to take shoots of her clothing line which she sells online. What can I do in this case?

    • Ken

      If you have a written lease then you are both bound by that contract, UNLESS you moved out and got the ‘understanding’ in writing to terminate without repercussion, then you are still legally a tenant. As that tenant, moving out would typically be a 30day prior notice to quit at minimum. If you were my tenant, I would ‘understand too’, but you would need to understand that I had taken off my advertising, turned down anyone else, and have to wait longer to find another tenant – and lose that money myself. Usually that rent is making that mortgage pmt +$100. Homeowners renting are not in the business to lose money. The consequence now is being sued for nonpayment via eviction (even though not there).

  • ELIZABETH Knap

    My apartment manager came into my apartment and told me I have to move my bed away from the window . What right do I have to refuse

  • Angelina

    Texas- I received a move-out bill from my apartments with a few charges (pest control, cleaning, etc.). The apartments refuse to give me an invoice for any of the charges. The apartments are considered student housing (but not provided by a university/ college), and claim they do not have to give me an invoice. Are they not required to?

  • Treanna Nikay Gailes

    Hi so I am a tenant trying to sue my apartment complex for a number of things. First maintenance request was never solved, been here since May and not pest control, foundation started to shift badly causing walls to come lose and crack. Made agreement with HAA and leasing manager and the agreement was not upheld on the managers behalf. What can i do??

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