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

1,260 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Gretchen

    Rented a 1br garage apt in may both me and my 15 yr old daughter listed as tenants. The landlord has really turned into a crazy lunatic. It started with the maintenance guy yelling at my daughter’s boyfriend saying he wasn’t allowed on the property or he was going to call the cops on them and have him arrested then told me that my daughter wasn’t allowed to stay there either. then said I had to park out on the street and I couldn’t park underneath my apartment which is a garage where the neighbor parks to. Instead of arguing with them I just parked up front on the street. now the dryer has gone out and he said that I have pay have to have it replaced and now he wants to charge me on the water bill so it’s four units on one meter long st

    • Gretchen

      Story. My question is this lease seems very vague I really don’t know how to read it and I don’t know who to get to look at it to see what my rights are

  • Moe-in-Law

    Question: What is tenant’s responsibility to provide utilities so the LL can prep the premises for the next tenant? LL came in 15 days before lease termination date to start making repairs. Tenant terminated the utilities upon physical surrender of premises, but 7 days before lease termination date. LL intimating that “additional utilities and damages” are forthcoming when bills are received.

    (BTW really enjoyed reading your Q&A’s)

    • Ken

      Thank you :)

      Secs. 92.008, .0091, .301 are about “landlord may not interrupt”
      Unless tenant falls under 92.302 (multifamily property), then you need to read that section. Otherwise it falls to, “whoever is paying for the utilities has control.”

      There is no info regarding damages as to liability there, but that regard itemized deduction of deposit and/or extra civil suit for excess damages. If normal wear/tear, then damage costs are not a tenant liability.

      In a single-family residence, if I’m paying utilities in my name, then I am only going to pay for what I’m using. I would highly question (aka not allow) a LL making non-emergency or unauthorized repairs on my dime while I have right to peaceable enjoyment of my domicile.

    • Ken

      I saw one case where a LL did extensive remodeling after a tenant moved out & left it on. (The tenant moved to a bills incl apt and didn’t have to renew in their name.) The electric for that month was higher than 3 months of their regular usage.

      The electric company went after the tenant for the charge since it was in their name. It became a separate and costly civil suit where the tenant lost and owed not only the original extra fees, but additionally the atty fees for both them and the electric company’s atty. In the end, leaving the electric on cost them around $3K. Just sayin’…

      As usual, contact an atty for legal advice as we can’t give it online.

  • Jerry

    Had no renters contract renter is move the dog and an additional tenets what do I have to do to get him evicted Miss one weeks rent Can I give him a three day eviction notice

    • Ken

      Nonpayment eviction notice is a 3day. Simple and “faster”.
      Lease violation + vacate is 30day+3day. These are harder as you have to have actual proof of violation, and tenant noncompliance.

      You must give proper notice both in wording and in delivery. If you do not know how to do this, get an eviction atty or eviction service to do it for you.

  • Sha

    Texas So my tenant was moving in and her family was helping. I received 5 missed calls at 12am. I called her back at 6am so tells me a big diesel truck knocked down the power line; electric company unhooked the wire and the owner has to fix the electric pole. Basically the weather head or service entrance cap and the service mast was broken. The repairs costed 1k. The neighbors said they seen a moving truck parked in the yard; the tenant stated she was moving that night and her grandson had to return the truck. It was single axis tire tracks in the yard. Two and two together is her grandson was helping her move hit the power line and broke the weather Tehead and service mast. Can I with hold her deposit for the damage

  • Renee

    I have a cousin and she is selling her house, problem is she allowed her grandfather to rent out the garage apartment, he refuses to leave and he even interferes by coming out and talking to the potential buyers! Telling them that all kinds of things are wrong with the house. What can she do to have him removed?

  • Maria Longoria

    What can I do to get two ac window units and a entertainment center, were taken out of the house, contract specified all these things must stay in the house.
    Other tentants took a bran new window unit,
    What can I do, call the police?

    • Ken

      You are asking if it is illegal for people to take things that do not belong to them, and breaching a contract???
      And if theft is illegal should you call the police to get a report number before suing them also in court?
      Am I just misreading this question?

  • Justin

    Allowed friends to stay in trailer temporarily until end of year when land it is on will be sold. Didn’t ask rent – just for them to pay utilities. They have paid $25 of $4000+. Util in my name. Can I turn off util? There is no lease. Am I required to legally evict them if no lease? I have asked them to please leave now and was informed they cannot afford to move. Sorry, but I have helped more than my share. Im pretty sure I will never get paid back what they owe me. Oh, am I allowed to take items to cover the loss? He got his taxes back and bought a brand new PC with $2000 instead of paying me.

  • Demi

    I’m in a rental property and the landlord has decided to sell the property, but I’ve been told I have 2 -3 weeks to move out. Is there anything saying that the land lord has to give me more time?

    I have a month to month agreement and I’m located in Texas.

    • Ken

      M2M notice requires 30day prior notice for non-renewal. Without a term lease, you have less legal protection from this happening.

  • KELLY WEAVER

    After 5 months I became aware the landlord had been charging me for another units electric usage (his daughter). He was infuriated by me inquiry. He then claimed the rent should have been $100 more, so I was getting a discount. This was never disclosed to me in writing or otherwise. The Landlord has demanded cash for all transactions and refuses to give receipts. Threatened to cut-off the electricity since the day we moved in for anything he didn’t like. He disconnected the Central AC in the 1st week of Aug., & the Electricity in the 4th week of Aug. with no written notice. He and his wife stated they could do this or anything needed to get us to move. He refused the Sept. rent payment and didn’t provide any notice for Elect. Much More

    • Ken

      OK, this is not only wrong but actually illegal on most every point you mentioned. You seriously need an atty.
      Claiming the $100 more has nothing to do with your overpaying for electric. Get reimbursed.
      Read Texas Property Code
      https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PR/htm/PR.92.htm
      92.011 = Cash Rental Payments
      92.301 to 335 = Utility Cutoff (it’s not very long)

      Sec. 92.008. INTERRUPTION OF UTILITIES
      * 1st/4thWk in Aug, heat was over 32c. {violation if (i)(3)(A)}
      * (F,2) Tenant remedy = 1mo rent+$1K+damages+attyfees++
      * must give notice even if tenant is in wrong

      Also LL can’t cause tenant to be in default of payment. You have remedy incomes here. If you can’t sue yourself, Get An Atty!! They can’t force eviction for this.

      • Kelly Weaver

        I truly appreciate your response. I have really dug into the laws you mentioned. I petioned for restoration of utilities Thursday and the Justice approved it. Im not dure if he ws served yet.
        I had started recording calls and told him. He still couldnt resist continuing death threats and other harassment. I took the recording to the pd, and they said it was terroristic threats & harrassment. Planned on filing suit. Im a 56 yrs old veteran and my son is 10. It has been tormenting. He has made very vulgar sexual remarks to 3 different female guests. All of this he has admitted in the phone calls or voicemails. Also i have maintained a daily log. He comes in without knocking, hasn’t repaired rear door (broken frame/facing)since move in.

        • Ken

          I am so glad I could help, and sorry you are going through this. I normally represent LLs from bad tenants, but there are bad LLs too and I get upset when I see them taking advantage. This guy goes beyond that, and I honestly hope you sit with someone who can walk you through -everything- you can do to hammer this guy and make him pay on multiple levels. It sounds like you are getting things done correctly, and doing what you should for later. I can’t give legal advice online as you aren’t a client. I will ask this: Please contact Lucas here for my email – or look in the history a few pages back where I posted it (we’re not supposed to). **I really hope he says he gets on record saying he’s closing the premises as a rental ;)

  • Natalia

    Hello!
    My tenant was late paying rent. Suddenly she sends me text stating she will be moving out in 5 days and will pay one half of the rent in three days and the rest after she moves out. As soon as I find out about it I emailed tenant written 3-days Eviction notice by email. She did acknowledged it by texting, but still didn’t paid any rent. She didn’t paid any rent and moved out. We have a lease agreement by which she is responsible to pay me until lease ends (another 6 month). Can I still officially file an Eviction notice with Small Claims Case or only Small Case Claims? How do I serve her if I don’t know her address? Can I use her POBox? I am in Texas.
    Thank you for help.

    • Ken

      The law makes it very easy. You send the certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address. Which is that property unless they have forwarded their mail responsibly. Email and texting are not legal notifications for eviction in TX. No it can’t be a PO. Law for notice is very specific. File the notice properly, then you can file for the eviction for non-payment. You need an Abstract to claim. It sounds like you aren’t familiar with the process, so I would highly suggest getting an eviction specialist or atty. Doing it wrong can cost you serious $$ and major delays – even if the tenant is a no-show. If you are seeking more than possession only, the judge hears the case and if you mess up, they can still call you on it.

    • Ken

      Not letting me reply to you? – If you can see this, ask Lucas here for my email.

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