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.
Get Updates by Email!

Join 180,000+ 
Landlordologists

  • Weekly Articles & Tips
  • Updates on Rental Laws
  • ​Useful Tools & Resources
Topics:
  Laws & Regulations

993 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • John

    Hi, I had a signed TAA lease to move into an apartment complex this last year. I was notified less than 36 hours before that I would not be able to move into that unit due to the previous tenant holding over. I had a great deal on the unit since this apartment complex has fluctuating rates from day to day. Since several months passed the rates jumped substantially. The best option the regional director could give me was a smaller unit for the same rate of the original contract. I also had no guarantee that I would have first option to move to the other unit. What advice can you give me to take any legal actions against the owner or management company for using bait and switch tactics? Would this be hard to prove? I have everything on file.

    • Ken

      You would need to speak with an atty on this, nobody will be able to give you a legal answer online.

      That said, if you had a lease stating the unit and amount then you may have some weight to get that unit once cleared or an equivalent for the same cost. It doesn’t take several months to evict, or they may have just renewed the other lease. Proving the implication the agent ‘messed up’ and used an excuse would be difficult to prove. Odd the prices fluctuate so often. Read your initial lease carefully – look for wording regarding changes. A ‘bait and switch’ case would need to be filed with the DA for consumer protection laws. Lots of grey area. Why live w/ these ppl if you see how they are?

  • Kyle

    I’m currently in a month to month lease. The lease states that I or the landlord have 30 days to notify termination of the lease. I was just given an amended lease that increases the rent to $1275 and adds additional stipulations to my lease. My main concern is the increased rent. The landlord states in the lease I have 6 days to sign the extension or the amendment will renew automatically and my rent will increase to$1300. Does the landlord have to give me 30 days notice of changes in order to allow me to leave my month to month lease or can he really give me only 6 days to comply?

  • DCR

    Can I rent my property out with known foundation issues? If so at what point am I responsible to cover moving expenses for my tenant?

  • martina batterton

    Hi there, my daughter and I agreed to one of her friends (at the time) to move in as a third person on our apartment lease. She is very irresponsible, and the situation isn’t working out at all, too much stress.
    How do we get her out and off the lease in the most polite way, she has the potential to be very vindictive and would have the ramifications. Plus we are going on vacation this week, and I’m very concerned and stressed about this. thanks for your advise or input.

  • Gurtie Jones

    The person I’m renting from is wanting to do inspections monthly. This was not in the rental contract. Do I have the right to refuse? I feel like this is an infringement of my rights as a renter. I paid a fairly large deposit. To me it borders on harrassment.

  • mariah

    On Monday night (8pm) my landlord text messaged my husband a photo of a form that said “Texas 3 day vacant order” and told us we have 3 days to leave the property. (It’s a privately owned home we are renting) due to failure to pay rent. Originally we told her, well technically her husband bc that’s who is on our lease agreement, that we would be late this month bc of my husband changing jobs. (Holding his first pay periods check) well she right away msged that she wanted us to leave. And so my question is, is it legal for her to just text us a picture of the paper? Or is there a process for it?

    • Ken

      No, that is not a legal method of sending notice. Yes, there is a very specific process for eviction. In cases like this, I laugh at the absurdity since the tenant (if they know how) can not only get the eviction dismissed, but the debt cancelled and they have to be late again like it never happened. Literally a free month. There are LLs out there that seriously need to hire ppl like me or their tenants could end up with several months of free rent.

      • mariah

        So since it’s not legal how she told us how would we go about that? Either way now we want to leave instead of dealing with her. But we would just like more than 3 days to pack and find a place.
        (San Antonio TX)

        • Ken

          You will have more than 3 days. Tenants have 5 days after the trial judgement before a writ can be filed. (When/If tenant loses). It takes about 3 weeks to get a court date here.

          • mariah

            Ok. We’re just concerned that she may lock us out. So if she is to do then what steps would we take to make sure we get back in? Like would we call police and show them how she never went thru court? She only text us a picture.

            • Ken

              Toward the top of the page you will see a link for CH92. Search for lockout. It’s longer than what I can reply but says if you get locked out they have to have a key available 24hrs/day to let you back in. Lockouts are more to scare/annoy.

  • Christina

    Hi,
    I rented a house, with foundation issues…even though the owner said it was the ground settling, the house is over 8 years old. Now the walls have come up in the back part of the house…leaving a gap between the floor board and wall; the wall and ceiling have separated in multiple areas, to the point you can look into the attic. Is this even legal? Both houses on either side, just had their foundations fixed. Is this legal?

    • Ken

      Does the foundation materially affect your health? Is it covered in your lease?

      • Christina

        Nothing is mentioned in the lease about the issues, it’s a generic lease…the issues have accelerated rapidly, the past few weeks. I don’t know what is in between the walls or in the ceiling. There is a chance of mold from an outdoor facet that leaked in between the walls for weeks, even after I told her, that she recently got fixed. The garage door does not stay closed and has to by tied shut when I leave for work, before I close the garage door.

        • Ken

          “to the point you can look into the attic” – For a house 8yo this is not good. You didn’t say how long you’ve been there or gap width since you’ve been there. You would need to call a foundation expert to see if there is a sinkhole or something that could make drastic changes in a short time. That would be a dangerous situation for example. The possibility of black mold vs having it is a big difference. That would need to be tested also. If there is an ‘imminent health hazard’ then could have a case to get out of the lease, if not then perhaps work with the LL to find a way for you to leave and find another place you feel safe. Knowingly renting a problem home puts liability on you as well for accepting it. Keep this in mind to work it out

  • John Spencer

    Hello everyone am here to testify how i got my loan from Mr.Henry walter after i applied several times from various loan lenders who claimed to also testify right in this forum,i thought the testimonies where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan. Until a friend of mine introduce me to Mr. Henrywalter who promised to help me and indeed he did as he promised without any form of delay .I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr. Henry walter,who are indeed helped with the loan and changed my belief. I don’t know if you are in any way in need of a genuine and urgent

  • Toni

    I have a 2 months notice to my apt complex that I’m moving out at the end of my lease October 31,2017. Is it State law in Texas that the apt complex has to paint every apt once the tenants move?

    • Ken

      Are they trying to withhold your deposit for that reason? Because I’ve never heard of that law. Deposits don’t count for normal wear/tear.

  • Halee

    I rented a house from a scammer. The real owner hired a contractor to work on the house and that contactor posed as the agent for the owner and had someone else acting as owner… I did application got approved paid deposit first months rent and pro rated rent signed lease got keys moved in …only to find out 2 weeks later by police that I was scammed along with two others. The investigator is now telling me I have till tomorrow at 3 pm to move out or I will be arrested for trespassing?!!! We paid this man 2700$ he had all documents the deed all the documents so I thought it was real. I have my lease with the owners name and my receipts .. I know the real owner didn’t know about it… But who is to say he didn’t know and is scamming me

    • Ken

      You can/should be treated as a tenant then, with all rights. Get an atty. Trespassing is void with a lease. Again, get an atty. (Not legal advice: the process would take about 3 months for eviction in your case [30 day notice + court delays])

      You might even come out “ahead” if your atty does what I would. Remember, loser pays atty fees. Also, there are criminal charges in play. I’ve had a similar case to this before.

      • Halee

        See that’s what everyone keeps saying is ” the lease should” or “the law should state” but the police who were here to arrest me this afternoon said ” he didn’t know he was just doing what he was told” so how is it the law but it doesn’t apply to this situation!? And the reason for me being arrested is the owner didn’t know I was on his property living in his house so ian treasspassing . When they came today I talked to owner who said he would give me till Monday. So now he knows im here so how am I trespasser he doesn’t know about if he told me I could be here ?

        • Ken

          Especially since you were arrested over this, you need to get an atty. I would suggest contacting the Atty General as this sounds like it’s going to include state felony charges, deed fraud, false arrest (or civil violation), and more. The AG may even refer you. I wish I could say more, but no one is allowed to give legal advice online. You also need to start on this asap. Get every piece of information together from how you found out, call records, names, pictures, receipts, sigs, everything. Failure to act on your part can make things turn bad for you.
          Ultimately you will be somewhere else so preplan accordingly. It’s going to get ugly and frustrating. Keep a cool head and think clearly.

  • Brenda Hernandez

    Hi, Im renting a house, when we moved in lease was set to be month to month and not a specific date of termination. We have been living here for 8 months already paying 1100.00 month. Now, the landlord txt me stating he will be raising the rent for November up to 1300.00 since hes not charging us renters insurance and his taxes went up and not charging us that. Up to my understanding taxes are paid once a month so I dont understand why he is charging us 200.00 more. We are planning on moving out by the end of this month since we cant afford 1300.00 a month plus all bills. I told him we were moving out and I understand it was a short notice. He got upset and told me thru txt msj that he will see us in civil court. Can he do this?

    • Ken

      He can raise the rent to whatever amount for any reason. The key to your case is the method of notice and timeframe. There are specific rules to this and it texting is not one. If you are not familiar with or don’t understand CH24, CH92 regarding these stipulations then get an atty. You can gain about 3-4 months time at the original rate and beat that eviction. Loser pays try fees. Contact an atty for legal advice.

  • Jeff

    In Texas does a landlord have to do a walk through with a tenant when they move out? If not, how do you get the keys from them?

    • Ken

      LL doesn’t have to (by law), unless they are going to check within time for deposit deduction repairs, lease move-out violations, etc. How to get the keys back from the tenant after they move out? They can leave them in a ‘pre-arranged location’ or mail them. Or the LL can change the locks, which they should do anyway since they don’t know how many copies were made. In court here, a tenant can be considered “not moved out” if the tenant retains the keys. Liability can exist at that point for both parties regarding personal property and/or considered month-to-month and have their record messed up w/ eviction hearing. It’s in the tenant’s best interest to relinquish.

  • Christena

    Dad visits 2 weeks after move in & saw holes in yard where sprinkler heads removed. System was off & I was hand watering, as had always done. He said there’s a leak; don’t turn it on, but tell landlord. She sent contractor. He turned on & said no leak. Another week & parts of grass dying. I checked sprinklers & saw not watering whole yard. I had to leave town for 2 weeks, but left friend’s # so maintenance guy could fix it. She sent same guy, who claimed no leak again. Landlord said I have to pay his $75 fee. I refused & said he’s wrong, there’s a leak. I returned to find sprinklers watering all day & 2 days in a row after rain, violating water restrictions. I turned it off. Received $545.00 water bill! Landlord refuses to pay it. Help!

  • Dawn

    My friend’s family got evicted from their apartment due to some medical issues of his sister and nephew. I have rented my home from my dad for 7 years.To help them,I allowed them to rent 2 rooms from me for 2 or 3 months. His parents are saints, but have only paid$50 so far due to lack of work. His sister, who also lives there with her son, has only paid $80 total. The rent is $800/ month, not including electricity which is in my name. She has been harassing me in my own home. (Cussing, coming in room to use my restroom rather than her own because they have stopped it up so much.)My father has filed eviction and 3 day notice ends today. Out of spite they plan on staying whole 30 days. Can we get them out sooner, turn off utilities or lockit

  • Jay

    I made a deal (roommate agreement) with a friend in January of 2016 to rent his house. Major difference in this roommate agreement is that he would be living 4hrs away going to school. He kept his bed in the 2nd room. He had two weeks to get the house in order and to complete the renovations. It was and still is incomplete. Well, few months after living in the space. His sister took over the deal with me.. She wanted to do a contract. I was under contract from Feb-Aug 2017. On 10/30 she gave me a verbal & written notice to vacate in 30 days. I’ve asked for repairs and got no response. She said she found a couple to rent the house at a higher rent but never asked me if I would accept a higher rent agreement. Not sure how to respond.

  • Jason M

    Do you have to pay rent if landlord tells you verbally they are selling the house and it take three weeks to move do you have to pay rent up till the time you turn over keys? He never sent me a letter in mail of notice to move and wants to take out part rent from deposit can he do that?

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Be short, sweet and to the point.