Landlords and tenants in Texas each have certain rights and responsibilities when renting a property. This can include outlines on the security deposit or landlord entry. These are outlined in the Texas Landlord-Tenant Act. These rights and duties become active the moment you and your tenants sign the lease agreement.
The following is a basic overview of the Texas landlord-tenant laws.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Texas
According to Texas law, landlords must provide their tenants with specific information before they sign the lease. They are as follows under the Texas landlord tenant law:
- Disclosure on the use of lead-based paint. Under federal law, landlords must warn their tenant about the use of lead-based paint and its potential health hazards. This is required if the unit you are renting out was built before 1978.
- Disclosure of your tenant selection criteria. Before screening a tenant, landlords must disclose certain information regarding the tenant selection process. Specifically, you must provide them your tenant qualifying criteria and the reasons their application may be rejected. Acceptable reasons for denying an application include a relevant criminal past and a low credit rating.
- Disclosure of certain information in the lease. You must provide the tenant with additional information, such as security deposit refunds, electric service interruption, right to repairs, late fees, and parking and towing rules.
- Disclosure on utilities. If you agree to provide and pay for gas, water, or electric services, you’ll become liable for any inconveniences that may occur. For instance, if the utility company cuts off the gas supply to your Austin, TX tenant because of an unpaid bill.
- Disclosure on the amount required for security deposits.
Landlords Rights & Responsibilities in Texas
The following are some of the rights Texas landlords. Under the Texas landlord tenant law, they have the right to:
- Enter rented premises to perform important obligations, such as inspecting the unit or perform repairs.
- Evict a Texas tenant for not abiding by the terms of the lease agreement . For example, not paying rent when it’s due. A landlord may impose late fees if the rent remains unpaid.
- Increase the rent amount while abiding by the rental and leasing law.
- Be served with an appropriate written notice when tenants are looking to leave their premises.
- Collect rent in a timely matter.
As for landlord responsibilities, you are expected to :
- Provide a unit that is livable per the Texas Warranty of Habitability.
- Ensure the tenant lives in peace and quiet, away from any unreasonable disturbances or annoyances.
- Follow the eviction process in accordance with the state’s laws when seeking to evict tenants from the rental property.
- Abide by all terms of the lease agreement.
- Make requested and necessary repairs promptly.
- Adhere to the terms of the Fair Housing Act.
Renters Rights & Responsibilities in Texas
Renters in Texas have the following rights under Texas law. The right to:
- Remain in their rented residence until the landlord has followed the proper eviction procedures.
- Live in a property that abides by the Texas property code.
- Enjoy the property in quiet and peace, devoid of unnecessary annoyances.
- Be served a notice when their Texas landlord is looking to make changes to the terms of the written lease agreement.
- Have repairs made within a reasonable period.
- Pay the required security deposit and late fees when necessary.
Your tenants also have certain responsibilities to uphold, including:
- Abiding by all terms of the leasing agreement. For example, not to illegally sublet the unit or exceed the rental limit.
- Taking care of the unit.
- Letting the landlord know when they are going to be away.
- The tenant will pay rent on time.
- Informing the landlord when maintenance issues occur.
- Keeping noise levels down.
- Serving proper notice to the landlord when looking to move out of the unit.
Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in Texas
Early Lease Termination
Unforeseen life events may occur resulting in your Austin, TX tenants need to move out of their rented premises before the end of their leasing period. Generally, Texas tenants who break their agreement are liable for paying the remainder of the rent due under the lease.
That being said, if their reason for breaking the lease is legally justified, then all they may need to provide you, the landlord, with is proper written notice and proof.
According to Texas Law, the following are legally justifiable reasons for breaking a rental agreement early:
- Domestic violence, assault, and/ or stalking
- Landlord harassment
- Uninhabitable unit
- Active military duty
- Early termination clause
The following reasons, however, don’t offer legal justification for breaking the lease agreement:
- Moving to get closer to the new place of work
- Moving out to downsize or upsize
- Divorce or separation
Under Texas law, you as the landlord, must provide your tenant with proper notice before entering their rented units. That said, the specific notice period isn’t specified under the statewide laws. Ideally, landlords should provide their tenant with at least 24 hours notice before entering the unit. If the landlord fails to do this, it can become a legal dispute.
According to the law, landlords must also select a time that is reasonable for the entry to occur. That is, between 8 A.M. and 6 P.M. during weekdays.
Some of the common reasons for landlord entry in Texas include:
- Removing unauthorized window coverings.
- Preventing waste of utilities.
- Changing filters, testing, or replacing smoke detector batteries.
- Making repairs or replacements.
- Responding to tenant’s request.
Housing Discrimination in Texas
The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against tenants based on their protected classes. The classes include race, color, religion, disability, sex, familial status, and national origin.
Actions that can be considered discriminator include:
- Offering different leasing conditions to different renters
- Lying about the availability of a rental space
- Posting rental ads that directly exclude certain groups
- Lying about the rent price
Texas Laws on Eviction
Texas landlords can evict their tenant for violating the terms of the lease/ rental agreement. Common violations in Texas include:
- Failure to pay rent
- Excessive damage to the rental property
- Disturbing their neighbors
- Not moving after the lease term has ended
When evicting a tenant , property owners must follow the state's legal eviction process. The eviction must not, for instance, be based on discriminatory or retaliatory reasons.
What’s more, you, as the landlord, must not use “self-help” tactics, such as locking your tenant out or removing their personal belongings from the property. These are illegal eviction tactics.
As a landlord in Texas, you must understand all aspects of rental law including security deposit law, squatter's rights, and leasing laws to protect you and your tenants. These laws are subject to change therefore you must stay up-to-date on them.
If you require Texas law help, or would like assistance managing your properties, such as collecting rent payments or conducting tenant screening, contact the experts at Rollingwood Management Inc. today!
Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for expert legal advice. Laws change and this information may not be up to date at the time you read it. For expert help, please contact with a qualified attorney or an experienced rental management company.