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Texas Rental Laws – An Overview of Landlord Tenant Rights in Houston

Houston, TX Landlord-Tenant LawRenting out a unit in Texas can be a great way to gain financial stability. However, most landlords underestimate the tasks associated with managing a dwelling. Beyond regular maintenance, rent collection, and addressing tenant requests, landlords must ensure that their properties comply with local laws and regulations.

Familiarizing yourself with the local landlord-tenant law will help you navigate the rental process much more efficiently and smoothly. In this article, the experts at Real Property Management Prestige will go over the rights and responsibilities of both owners and tenants in Texas.

Mandatory Landlord Disclosures in Texas

A Texas landlord is required to disclose certain information to tenants, according to the state’s landlord-tenant laws. The following disclosures are mandatory in Texas:

  • Lead-Based Paint: If the home was built before 1978, a landlord must provide tenants with information about lead paint concentrations in the dwelling. 
  • Authorized Agents: A landlord must provide tenants with a list of names and addresses of all parties involved in managing the unit.
  • Right to Repair and Deduct: The written lease agreement or other official documents must clearly express the tenant’s right to repair and deduct.
  • Parking Rules: If the landlord owns a multi-family dwelling or apartment complex, they must disclose any applicable parking rules and restrictions to tenants.
  • Late Fees: Any late fees that might be charged must be disclosed in the lease agreement.
  • Emergency Phone Number: A landlord and management companies must provide tenants with a 24-hour emergency phone number.

Person in a black and white shirt talking on the phone

Texas Renter Rights and Responsibilities

When they sign a lease agreement, tenants are given a set of rights and responsibilities. In Texas, tenants have the right to: 

  • Live in a safe, habitable rental unit.
  • Sue their landlord for retaliation.
  • Deduct the cost of repairs they make from the rent. 
  • Break a lease under certain allowable conditions.
  • Enjoy their rented living space without constant disturbances.

On the other hand, the responsibilities of tenants include the following:

  • Keeping the unit in safe and habitable conditions.
  • Making small repairs and taking care of regular maintenance.
  • Informing the landlord of any needed repairs or maintenance issues.
  • Not disturbing other tenants or neighbors.

Texas Landlord Rights and Responsibilities

A landlord in Texas has several rights and responsibilities. The following are the basic landlord rights in this state:

  • Collecting rent from tenants every month.
  • Withholding or deducting from the security deposit to cover property damages or missed rent payments.
  • Evicting tenants for lease violations, nonpayment of rent, or foreclosure of the premises.
  • Setting rules and regulations for the use of the unit, such as pet policies or smoking restrictions.
  • Entering rental properties for specific reasons, such as making repairs, showing them to prospective tenants, or in case of emergency.
  • Increasing rent with proper notice according to state laws and regulations. 

person in a suit banging a gavel

The following are the basic landlord responsibilities landlords have under Texas landlord-tenant laws. A landlord must:

  • Comply with all health and building codes that apply to the rental unit.
  • Maintain properties in safe, habitable condition.
  • Comply with the Fair Housing Act.
  • Making any necessary repairs promptly after getting notice from tenants.
  • Dealing with pest control.
  • Providing tenants with amenities such as hot water and working HVAC units.
  • Making mandatory disclosures before renting out the dwelling.

An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in Texas

In addition to understanding landlords’ and tenants’ rights, you must familiarize yourself with the following rental laws in Texas

1. Tenant Privacy and Texas Landlord’s Right to Enter the Dwelling

A landlord can only enter the tenant’s rented premises for specific reasons, such as:

  • Under court order
  • To make agreed repairs
  • When the tenant has vacated or abandoned the rental
  • To make the necessary repairs
  • To show the rental unit to mortgagees, prospective renters, or purchases
  • In case of an emergency

Under the state’s landlord-tenant law, a landlord can only enter the premises during normal business hours and only after notifying the tenant beforehand. 

2. Texas Housing Discrimination Laws 

Fair Housing Laws prohibit landlords from discriminating against a renter based on their race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, sex, or disability. According to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the following behaviors can be potentially discriminatory when directed at a member of a protected group:

  • Claiming the unit is unavailable.
  • Requiring different leasing conditions.
  • Advertising that uses discriminatory language.
  • Steering tenants towards neighborhoods and complexes that may be seen as segregated.

a lawyer working at their desk

3. Security Deposit Laws

There’s no maximum limit to how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit or policies regulating how they must hold it. When a rental agreement has expired, landlords are allowed to deduct from the deposit to cover any unpaid rent, damage, or other charges listed in the lease agreement. After making any necessary deductions, a landlord must send tenants their deposit back within 30 days after the lease or rental agreement has expired.

4. Renters Rights to Withhold Rent in Texas

If repairs aren’t made promptly, under the Texas landlord-tenant law, tenants can sue for costs, or a court order to force the landlord to make repairs. They can make the repairs themselves and deduct the total cost from next month’s rent.

5. Small Claims Lawsuits in Texas

Minor landlord-tenant disputes can be handled in Texas’ Small Claims Court. Both parties can file lawsuits without hiring an attorney if the amount claimed is less than $20,000. The process typically takes between three to four months.

Bottom Line

Owners can greatly benefit from familiarizing themselves with the local landlord-tenant law. Now that you have a better understanding of Texas landlord-tenant laws, you’re better equipped to keep your rental property safe!

If you have specific questions, contact Real Property Management Prestige and we can provide you with guidance to solve the most common legal compliance challenges landlords face!

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in this blog is intended for general guidance and should not be considered as a replacement for professional legal advice. It is important to be aware that laws pertaining to property management may change, rendering this information outdated by the time you read it.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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