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

1,316 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Sydnie Mitchell

    We have had HVAC issues since July. We were told three times they would come to fix it. Never came. Woke up this morning (33 degrees outside) and the thermostat isn’t working. Tried to reset at breaker- nothing. Called management’s emergency line twice two hours ago and left a message- no response. Emailed, put in maintenance request.. nothing. We have a small child and NO heat. What are my rights??

    • Ken

      Repairs are dependent on too many things to list here. There are 3 sections regarding repairs and remedies. Read Title8 CH92. The link is toward the top of this page.

  • Cheryl Little

    My wife kicked me out 3 months ago. I continued paying the rent till the lease expired. I offered to help her move but she does not want to move and she cannot afford the apartment. Do I have any legal responsibilities?I get paid twice a month and it was taking me 1 whole paycheck plus 1/4 of the 2nd paycheck to even pay the rent. We were flood victims and this apartment was the only one we could find( but could not really afford) and had to sign a 12 month lease. The rent was $1100 and I only make $11 an hour.

    • Ken

      The lease is up, you actually did more than your share from my view. You did not renew the lease (didn’t say if your name was on it, hers, or both). At this point since it’s a month-to-month, and if your name is on it, why didn’t you tell the office you weren’t renewing 30 days before the lease was up? What’s stopping you from telling them you have already moved out? Is her name on the lease? The name on lease is the only real “concern”, and only if you are really interested in that. If yours isn’t on it, then you had no real obligation after being kicked out. Sounds more like you are still trying to keep the peace. In which case it’s up to you. If you’re not a tenant.. why pay?

      • Cheryl Little

        I gave a verbal notice in October that I was not renewing the lease that expired on November 10th. When I talked to the office again they told me I had to submit an email. This caused me another month’s rent and they extended it to December 3rd. Both names are on the lease and they know I’m not living there. I first offered to help the Saturday after Thanksgiving she took off work and did not pack one thing . I have offered to help one more time on December 1st as that is the last day I can help due to my job. I’ve already decided that I’m not paying anymore rent due to what you said. Thank you for replying

        • Ken

          Did the lease specify notice must be in writing? Most do. If not, you could argue that Texas Property Code 24, 92 & 94 specify LL must give written notice, but not tenant. Of course since this is a very grey area and differs between judges, you would need an atty to give that advice. They would still include your name in the eviction because there are 2 names on the lease.

  • JRM

    I had an eviction hearing Nov 14th. I won the hearing on the basis that the lease converted to month to month, & I should have been given 30 days notice to vacate. Instead, I was given 3 days. The judge ruled that I was correct and ruled in favor of me.

    Now an appeal has been filed. I still have not been given 30 days notice. I might add that I have not legally withheld rent for 4 months because of the condition of the house.

    My question is will I still win because I have not been given the 30 days notice or is that a mute point because I have not paid rent for 4 months? Texas property code Title 8, Chapter 90, Section 91.001 is confusing. Thank you!

    • Ken

      Not paid rent in 4 months? At this point it would take a 3 day notice for non-payment. The judge may have ruled if the eviction was only a lease termination, but nothing said about validity for withholding payment for ‘condition’. There is more to it on your part under those circumstances and you have not stated that you have receipts justifying remedy. Also, 4 months is a long time to not have remedy concluded. From what info is stated here, you would be out with only a 3 day at this point. The 30day becomes irrelevant, and most likely the repair also.

      • JRM

        When we were in the initial hear, myself and the landlord’s lawyer, the landlord told the judge I had not paid rent, that I owed $6000. Yet, the judge who handles landlord tenant hearings, ruled in my favor. This brings me to question your answer. I was told by a *lawyer* that it would have no bearing, and that the landlord would need to file for the past due rent. I’m getting different answers. Are you a Texas attorney?

        • Ken

          JRM, from what you said above there are 2 separate issues. There are details that are still left out to give a more detailed reply. Based only on the info given, an opinion was given and is very similar to what the *lawyer* said. As for your repeated question, there are only 2 sites where attys promo themselves and openly give “legal advice” online. Even so, they still toss in disclaimers. The reason for this is that it is illegal to give “legal advice” online. It can only be ‘opinion’. I also would not ‘admit’ to being an atty, as there are those who would think a reply to one person would apply to their specific case. Even if similar, details may be different. Then that person harms their case in court and wants a tort here.

        • Ken

          That said, I represent homeowners in court for eviction services. But I would and always suggest those with specific legal questions seek & pay for a *lawyer* who then obtains all of the details for your case. If their legal advice is incorrect, you can sue them – not this site, me, or anyone else who replies for expecting free legal advice.

  • Ninfa Guzman

    My father and myself are renting out his home. He was willing to move out after his heart surgery and live with me. The Lease was for 3 years with option to sell to whomever we wanted within those 3 years. Problem: He wants to move back into his home. Can he sell his home to me (I’m not receiving $ from home or his POA any longer) so we can give termination notice and he can move back in with no retribution from renters? Do they have a case to stay at the residence?

  • Aaron Zentner

    My wife and I have been renting a home in Central Texas for over two years now. We have never missed a payment. About six months ago we received Chapter 7 notices telling us that the homeowner is filing chapter 7. The property management told us there was nothing to worry about and that they would keep an eye out for it. Then yesterday, the property management team called me yesterday and told us that the bank is seizing the house and we have until the end of the month to move out. We really like the house and would totally buy it if we were allowed to. Is there anything we can do because it seems unfair as a renter to have paid rent for over two years without missing a payment or late payments?

    • Ken

      Not sure if the last one went through because it had a few links.
      Look up: Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009
      Also, if you are still under lease, you have other rights also. If they gave less than 30day notice, get an atty. Read your lease regarding any circumstances of foreclosure.
      TX Property Code section 24: Especially section 24.005 B.
      And typically if forced out during a lease term (longer than month-to-month) you can get the new lienholder to pay for moving costs.
      If you received less than 30day notice regardless, then you should get an atty. You likely have several more options than I can say here.

  • KRS

    Tenant living in apt. In Aug 2017 had a mice infestation in kitchen. Notified manager, pest control comes and sets up traps. Cat was 4 mths old at the time. Pest control leaves traps while at work where kitten can reach/fit. Cat also gets tape worms from this. Situation resolves. Now Dec 2018 I hear activity in the attic. Email office with video of whats happening. No response. Go to office in person 2-3 weeks later. They claim to have new email address, never got message. Notify NEW manager (Apts sold right before lease was up or else I would have left). Manager sends pest control. They leave traps accessible to my cat AGAIN (left note on door not to do this). How do I break my lease within minimal cost? Or suck it up and stay 9 months?

  • Lo

    I rented an apartment. It had mold. Two doctors wrote letters wanting me to move. They wrote the letters to the apartments. The manager agreed she hand written a letter to the new apartment even verified it on the phone to the new manager. Then broken lease shows up on our credit. Is that legal? I had mold exposure sick for a year they did some repairs after Hurricane Harvey after 7 months. But on move out the bedroom had water coming in under the foundation. I wound up on oxygen in there the mold was killing me. How can they file broken lease supporting me in writing and verbal in my move here.?

    • Ken

      Wow… I would definitely get an atty for several reasons on that one. Especially if you have any documents or evidence of the mold causing medical. And if the move was authorized it should not have been reported.

      • Lo

        I do have pictures I took over a few months of the damage. Medical Documents. Most recently my Cardiologist wrote to this place if I didnt move id be hospitalized or die. I do have it all in writing as the 2 doctors wrote to this Apartment. He had been along with the pulmonary doctor trying to figure out what was cause me respitory failure and to be so sick I was bed ridden most of the time having to use a wheelchair if I did get up. I’ve been in the hospital several times one diagnosis is chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis v interstitial lung disease ( rheumatoid arthritis ) both lungs. Auto Immune Disorders along with other issues. The cardiologist said my lungs were making my heart weak. I wound up with a heart attack in October.

        • LO

          Tonight I sent pictures of the mold I was living in , the managers referral letter , both doctors letters a couple of medical documents to one collection agency where the Apartments reporter me to.

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