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Texas Rental Laws – An Overview of Landlord-Tenant Rights in Temple

In the state of Texas, a written lease agreement becomes legally binding after a tenant starts to pay rent. The agreement can either be oral or written. Once a rental agreement has been established, both parties obtain certain rights and responsibilities outlined in state and federal laws.  

As a landlord, you must familiarize yourself with Texas landlord-tenant laws (Chapter 92 of the Texas Property Code) to succeed. The following is a basic overview to get you started. 

Texas Law – Required Landlord Disclosures

According to Texas landlord-tenant law, property owners must disclose the following information to tenants. 

  • Lead-based paint concentrations. If renting out a home built before 1978, a landlord must let tenants know of the lead-based concentration. 
  • Names and addresses of the landlord or property managers. Landlords must let their tenants know of all the parties tasked with managing the unit. 
  • The right to repair and deduct. A landlord must express, in clear language, that their tenant has a right to repair and deduct if they fail to meet their repair requests. 
  • Parking rules and restrictions. This only applies if you’re renting out multi-unit complexes. 
  • Disclosure of late fees. If landlords are going to charge late fees for missed rent payments, they have to state this in the lease or rental agreement.
  • An emergency phone number. According to Texas law, a landlord must provide their tenant with a 24-hour emergency phone number that they can use to report emergencies. 

One landlord reaching across a desk to hand a pen to another a tenant

Texas Tenant Rights & Responsibilities 

The following are the basic renter’s rights according to landlord-tenant law in Texas. A tenant has a right to:

  • Repair and then deduct the costs from a future rent payment if the landlord fails to honor their repair requests. 
  • Live in a habitable home that meets the state’s basic health and safety codes.
  • Be evicted judiciously by Texas eviction laws
  • Break the lease in Texas early for certain legally justified reasons, such as when starting active military duty. 
  • Be treated fairly and equally as per the Fair Housing Act
  • Join or form a tenants’ union to fight for or advance their rights without being retaliated against. 
  • Live in peace and quiet. 
  • Terminate a periodic lease agreement after serving the landlord with proper notice. 
  • Be provided with certain mandatory disclosures. 

As per Texas landlord-tenant law, some of the responsibilities of tenants include the following. 

  • Keep their rented unit safe and in a habitable condition. 
  • Use the provided fixtures properly and keep them clean and sanitary. 
  • Make small repairs and maintenance. 
  • Inform the landlord whenever defects or maintenance issues arise. 
  • Not to cause disturbance to other tenants or neighbors. 
  • Abide by the terms of the lease for the entire term. 
  • Notify the landlord when looking to leave for an extended period. 
  • Notify the landlord when looking to vacate their rental premises. 

Black gavel on a desk

Texas Landlord Rights & Responsibilities 

Similarly, Texas landlords have a right to the following state landlord-tenant laws:

  • File an eviction lawsuit if a tenant fails to abide by the terms of the lease agreement, such as paying rent. 
  • Charge a tenant a security deposit in Texas as part of the move-in costs. 
  • Terminate a periodic tenancy after serving the tenant with proper notice. 
  • Penalize a tenant for breaking a fixed-term lease unjustifiably. 
  • Charge whatever amount for rent since current state law prohibits rent control at both state and local levels. 
  • Enter a rented unit to perform necessary repairs, do maintenance tasks, respond to emergencies, or any other reasonable task. 

As a landlord in Texas, you must do the following things. 

  • Provide the tenant with a livable unit. 
  • Make repairs to existing amenities that “materially affect your tenant’s health and safety.”
  • Follow the proper eviction process when evicting tenants from your rental. 
  • Return a tenant’s security deposit (or whatever remains after deductions for repairs beyond normal wear and tear) within 30 days after they move out. 
  • Treat tenants without any form of discrimination based on the Texas Fair Housing laws
  • Provide your tenants with mandatory disclosures before they can move in. 
  • Provide your tenant with written notice before entering their rented home. 

An Overview of the Texas Landlord-Tenant Laws 

1. Landlord Entry

According to the state’s landlord-tenant laws, a landlord must give their tenant proper notice before entering their rented premises. Texas law doesn’t specify how much notice to give, but providing 24 hours before entry often suffices. 

Focused tenant sitting at a desk working on their laptop

In addition to the notice requirement, landlords must also have a legitimate reason to enter. Such reasons include making repairs, responding to emergencies, and inspecting the rental premises. 

2. Housing Discrimination 

The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating against their tenants based on seven protected classes. They are race, color, religion, sex, nationality, familial status, and disability. 

Texas state law, unlike some other states, hasn’t extended protections to cover other classes. The state department that handles housing discrimination issues is the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. 

3. Rent Increases 

Currently, Texas law prohibits any kind of rent control at both the state and local levels. This means that landlords can charge whatever they want for rent as long it isn’t done based on discrimination or retaliation. And in doing so, landlords aren’t obligated to serve the tenant prior notice before raising the rent on a tenant. 

4. Lease Termination

Either party can terminate a periodic lease by serving the other a proper notice under Texas state law. For example, to terminate a month-to-month lease, either party must serve the other a 30-day notice. 

In a fixed-term tenancy, however, both parties must either wait for the lease to end or reach a mutual agreement to terminate it. 

a property owner reviewing a legal document with a pen

The only exception here is if the tenant has a legally justified reason to move out. Such reasons include:

  • Active military duty.
  • Landlord harassment.
  • Uninhabitable rental unit.
  • Domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

5. Security Deposits 

As a landlord in Texas, you must abide by the Texas security deposit law (TX Prop § 92.102.). This section of Texas landlord-tenant laws contains a set of rules that you must follow when requiring tenants to pay a security deposit. 

The rules cover anything from the deductions you can make to a tenant’s security deposit, to when you must return it to the tenant, and everything in between. It should be noted that if a landlord wishes to make deductions from security deposits it must be for damage that goes beyond normal wear and tear. For a full rundown of the rules, please see Section 92.102 of Texas Statutes

Landlord-Tenant Law in Texas: Bottom Line

Are you a landlord and need help staying legally compliant or understanding the Texas Property Code? If so, look no further than Real Property Management Talent. With over 30 years of experience in managing rental properties, we can help you achieve peace of mind in managing your Bell County and Central Texas rental. Get in touch to learn more!

Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Texas law is subject to change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your management needs.

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