A combination of laws guides the landlord-tenant relationships in the United States. These include federal, state, and local laws. When both parties understand these laws, issues that arise between them are usually fewer.
Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, this article is for you.
Disclaimer: This article is informative. As a result, it is not meant to be a substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney.
Texas Lease Laws – Entering the Rented Premises
Once a tenant signs the lease, they become the ‘owners’ of the property until the lease expires. This means that the landlord cannot enter as they please. To enter the property, the landlord will need to notify the tenant of their intention to do so.
The reason and the timing of their entry must be reasonable. For example, some common reasons why a landlord would request to enter a tenant’s unit include:
- To show the property to prospective tenants.
- To make needed repairs.
- In the event of an emergency.
- They have justification to believe that the tenant has abandoned the property.
- To carry out property inspections.
There is no statute in Texas law that defines the specific amount of time a landlord should give notice to their tenant in advance of their entry. But most landlords give their tenants 24-hour’s notice.
Texas Landlord Laws: Required Disclosures
Texas requires that landlords provide certain information to their tenants. They need to disclose information about:
- The name and address of their property management company, if any.
- Their screening criteria, if requested by the tenant.
- Rules and policies about towing and parking.
- Electric service disruption if a tenant fails to pay their utility bill. However, they must be notified before the disruption.
- Transfer of ownership, including the new landlord’s name and number, should the property change hands.
Texas Tenant Laws – Security Deposits
Security deposits often cause friction between landlords and tenants. The following are the laws regarding these deposits in Texas:
- Security Deposit Limit: There is no state law that puts a restriction on how much a landlord can ask as a security deposit. However, it’s always good to double-check that there are no local ordinances limiting this amount either.
- Security Deposit Storage: In Texas, there is no ordinance that requires landlords to store a tenant’s deposit in a certain way. However, landlords should still have a thorough understanding of the Texas Security Deposit Laws.
- A Written Notice: Landlords aren’t obligated to provide their tenants with written notification on receiving their security deposit.
- Property Damage: Texas landlords can deduct appropriate fees from a security deposit to cover for any excessive property damage.
- Returning the Deposit: Like most states, a landlord in Texas has 30 days to return the security deposit once the tenant moves out.
- Change in Property Ownership: In the event that the property changes hands, the landlord must notify the tenant. In addition, they must transfer all security deposits to the incoming landlord.
Fair Housing Act – Texas
Every American has the right to fair and equal treatment when it comes to housing, according to the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The FHA makes it illegal for any landlord to discriminate against a tenant on the basis of their race, color, disability, familial status, national origin, sex, and/or religion.
A landlord in Texas may not:
- End a tenancy based on discriminatory.
- Set different terms, conditions, or privileges before or during a tenancy.
- Set more restrictive standards for selected tenants.
- Refuse to rent to members of certain groups.
- Falsely deny the availability of a rental unit.
- Advertise or make any statement that indicates a preference or limitation based on a protected class.
- Deny housing to a tenant that has a service dog under the claim that they have a ‘no pet’ policy.
Texas Habitability Laws
The “implied warranty of habitability” requires that landlords keep their rental premises in a habitable condition. A habitable property is one that has:
- Adequate trash receptacles.
- Railings, stairways, and floors in good condition.
- Clean and sanitize the building. Ensure the grounds are free from vermin, rodents, garbage, rubbish, and filth, and debris.
- A functioning electrical system, including equipment, wiring, and lighting.
- Properly functioning gas facilities.
- Properly functioning plumbing facilities. This includes hot and cold running water and connection to a sewage disposal system.
- Effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken doors and windows.
Texas Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
Texas landlord-tenant laws give landlords a lot of responsibilities. Staying on top of these responsibilities and understanding them clearly is important.
Landlord Rights in Texas:
- Right to collect rent at the end of the month.
- The right to enter a tenant’s unit to make important property repairs and inspections.
- Affordance to increase rent at the end of a lease term.
- The right to terminate a tenancy without giving any reason at the end of a fixed term.
- Right to know who is “ordinarily” living in the property.
- To comply with all health, building, and safety codes.
- Make requested repairs promptly.
- Maintain the peace and quiet of the property.
- Provide a 15-day notice of any changes in a month-to-month agreement unless the lease states otherwise.
- Abide by the terms of the lease agreement.
- In the case of an eviction in Texas, landlords must follow state laws.
Texas Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
- Right to be treated fairly regardless of race, sex, color, familial status, gender, and/or religion.
- The right to challenge any charges that seem to be unreasonable or excessive.
- The right to receive all or a portion of the security deposit once the lease is over.
- Right to the quiet enjoyment of the property.
- Right to live in a habitable property.
- The right to break the lease with legal justification.
- Informing the landlord of any maintenance issues.
- Providing the landlord access to the property to carry out important functions.
- Paying rent on time, every month.
- Taking good care of the property.
- Maintaining peace and quiet on the property.
For more information, please consider hiring expert services from a qualified attorney. Alternatively, read more on Texas statutes here. Furthermore, hiring a property management company like Uptown Dallas Properties can help you avoid running into legal issues while managing a rental property.