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

1,420 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Byrle Dickerson

    I have a Nephew that moved in September 2019 that has mental problems and is very violent makes threats to my neighbors because he is racist against blacks and mexicans I guess he had relationships with he was married the person he lived with kicked him because he use to beat her alot and won’t take his mental medicines I been trying to get him out of my house it hasn’t been easy and it cost alot as well what can I do to get him out

  • Dwayne

    I live in southeast Texas where the weather is not always consistent, and days like today (Nov 30) see temperatures almost reach 80°. My apartment complex controls whether the heat or A/C is turned on. So, it could be 50° the day before Thanksgiving and heaters are needed, but then the day after Black Friday it’s 25° warmer and no one is available in the office to switch from heat to A/C for the entire complex, and we’re stuck blasting hot air if the thermostat is on at all. Is this legal? And even if it is, shouldn’t the landlords/leasing office be required to disclose this information before leasing to a tenant?

  • Diana

    We recently moved into a rental house & needs to be leveled. We informed her that because of it not being leveled the tub was leaning to the right & made you feel as if you were going to fall and tub had no support under house. Well it did not seem to bother her so my husband took it upon his self to begin leveling the house himself on his free time (when not working) he was afraid tub would go thru floor. She agreed once he began and said she would supply any material and would pay him, well all material is wrong and now she is rushing him when she knows he works. This and other repairs were suppose to be done before we moved in but not. Can we deduct actual cost of house leveling from our rent (which would be more than 1 month rent).

    • Ken

      In short, no. Rent cannot be withheld except under specific circumstances. But statute clearly states repairs can’t be withheld in lieu of rent. You need to read the statute in full regarding repairs. And understand how the different sections come into play. There are many questions not answered in your description for a more definitive reply.

  • Ashley

    My tenants (I am property manager) decided to purchase a home and move out with at least 4 rent payments remaining while the home is vacant. Obviously, their preference is that the home is rented ASAP so they are not on the hook for remaining rent. The owners were planning on selling the home at the termination of the full-lease (summer) to facilitate showings, better selling market, etc. What obligation do they have to rent the home in the meantime if they were not planning on selling the home for another 6 months? This is in Texas, which does have the statute requiring landlords to mitigate damages.

    • Ken

      Yes. The link for CH 92 is at the top of the page. It specifically states duty to mitigate.
      Note… moving out and not paying is “nonpayment” under their lease. **All too often LL don’t file until 2-3mos behind**. They are still obligated (unless 1 of the only 3 allowed reasons for breaking lease, (which theirs is not) …’you can’t lease a property until the eviction court is settled. That takes a month+. Then perhaps a Writ to remove all belongings… (overkill). LL won’t collect of course, but it turns the tables. ;) [and no. This is not legal advice! Just comments from one who doesn’t let bad tenants take advantage of him, while staying within the law]

  • Vicky

    I moved in my apartment at the end of October. November 14th my toilet flooded by itself. After that they sent the maintenance men twice. My toilet has flooded five times and the water is off. It is sewage from other people coming out of the toilet and onto my floor into my dining and kitchen area. I cannot even use that room because it is warm and it stinks. And the floors are messed up now as well. I call them Everytime and send pictures. I want to know if it’s legal for me not to pay my rent until it’s fixed?

  • Lawrance

    How to report to the city of Dallas someone renting a house that falls way below code. The landlord does not have permission from the city to rent out the property. The house roof leaks, the kitchen has no drawers in any of the cabinets, the landlord repaired the gas lines himself without getting a license plumber to pressure test the pipes before getting the gas turned on, installed a wooded fence without getting a permit. The landlord just wants to collect the rent money and keep the money for themselves to fix up the house when they themselves move in but wont fix any thing for the tenants.

  • Brenda

    My son had a live in girlfriend. He gave her the 3 day notice to vacate property. She obtained another place to live. She has taken all her clothes and some personal items. She is stalling on furniture and will not return key. Can a letter of abandonment be sent giving her 30 days to get furniture or do we have to evict her? Can locks be changed?

  • Roxanne Arias

    My apartments is teying to charge me for other peoples violations for them.smoking for them overflowing the trash othwr peoples pets .. 30 for trash 25 for people.leaving trash on the floor saying we cant have anything on our balcolny but furniture or we can get terminated no grills so if someone had a grill before moving in they have to remove from the property or get evicted idk all this dont sound right to me getting charged for what i can’t prevent when i follow rules.

  • Carmen Neal

    I’ve had yearly leases at this 1st floor apt for going on 4 years. From my bank, I pay 2 checks: 1 for base rent, 1 for water, sewer, trash, pest control. At each yearly renewal for this last year, I have overpaid so that records would show a positive and I would not be charged a late fee in the event that the bank automatically and timely checks would be LOST by this rental company, which has happened once since my association. I keep rental records. This rental company has, for this last year, miscalculated and over charged, according to their records. I have written proof. Is their any
    lawful way to get this rectified? My concern has been brought to this rental company’s attention to no avail.

    • Ken

      *not to be considered legal advice as always* Your case has more to do with a small claims civil suit. It sounds like you have excellent records to get notarized by the bank (though possibly don’t need to). I would make all accounting simplistic as the judge typically does not like to (and some basically won’t) do any accounting and will look for a bottom line total with the rest simple to see the calculations in case contested. If the company does not have accurate records to contradict your claim it is likely in your favor. Plaintiff has burden of proof.
      Once filed, then it can get to tenant statute to protect you against retaliation. Search CH92.

  • Kalvin boggs

    Can a landlord remove personal property from a apartment in place of payment of rent?

    • Ken

      Under certain conditions yes. Read CH92. Link is at the top.

      • Kalvin Boggs

        Does it have to be in writing from the court or can they just come in and take personal property?

        • Ken

          In writing from the court is called a writ of possession. That is executed as forcible removal after eviction hearing.

          In your case, you did not give details as to prior or post eviction, and there are circumstances for each. Even what can and can’t be taken. It’s too long to list here. You will need to read CH92 to understand. Or hire an atty. One can’t just assume to know the details of your case.

  • Olivia Hart

    I signed a lease for 7 months and have a 60 day written notice. Now I need to continue my lease for 1 more month. The agent stated I would have to pay an additional 500.00 I am considered a month to month renter. Is this legal? I am really concerned.
    Thanks

    • Ken

      Your comment is still a bit vague. So the 7mo is irrelevant because you are only m2m, correct? $500/mo for lease renewal increase?
      For mfg home non-renewal is 60 days – CH 94 Sec. 94.051
      If m2m House/apt tenant, a lease can be not renewed with 30 day notice. CH 91 Sec. 91.001
      If you are asking if it is legal to not renew a lease; With proper notice, yes. And renewal increase for a new lease can be any amount in the state of TX. It sounds as if they are well within their rights based on the information you provided. If you are asking Qs about legality, it helps to be more specific.

  • Jessica Ferguson

    I need some help. I moved out from my apt in Texas a year ago as my lease was up, and asked if there were any unpaid utility bills (water was typically a month behind) to call or email me and got no notices or calls. Almost a year later I’ve received a letter from a creditor stating I owe on an unpaid bill from the apt complex and this has now been reported to the credit bureau. What are my rights here and is this still legal after 9 months? I do not want this on my credit, I have a good standing and would like to keep it that way. I also have no problem paying this, I would just like this to be removed from my credit report. Thank you for you help!

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