Landlord-Tenant Laws Texas

Texas Landlord-Tenant Laws Overview

Termination for Nonpayment Notice
(Eviction Notice)
3-Day Notice or as Written in the Lease
Texas EvictionTimeline
Termination for Lease Violation Notice3-Day Notice or as Written in the Lease
Small Claim Court LimitTexas Small Claim Court Limit is $10,000
Handling Abandoned Property
Personal Property and Security Deposit of Deceased Tenant
Texas Property Code Sec. 92.014
Penalty for Self-Help EvictionA penalty of one month’s rent plus $1000, court costs, attorney fees, and actual damages
Tenant Withholding Rent for RepairsUp to One Month Rent
Sec. 92.0561. TENANT’S REPAIR AND DEDUCT REMEDIES
Required Disclosures Personal Property And Security Deposit of Deceased Tenant; Disclosure of Ownership and Management Contact Information; Security Devices Requested by Tenant; Return of Security Deposit; The Right to Vacate and Avoid Liabilities; Tenant’s Rights To Repair and Deduct; Tenant Towing and Parking Rules; Electric Service Interruption
Non-Refundable FeesPermitted
Security Deposit RulesSecurity Deposit Amount not Limited; 30 Days to Itemize Deductions and Return Deposit
Month-to-Month NoticeOne Month Notice to End or Change Month-to-Month Tenancy
Payment of RentReasonable Late Fees (10% to 12%)
Property Entry
Notice
No Statute

Termination for Nonpayment Notice

Related article: Eviction Process Timeline in Texas

Sec. 24.005. NOTICE TO VACATE PRIOR TO FILING EVICTION SUIT. (a) If the occupant is a tenant under a written lease or oral rental agreement, the landlord must give a tenant who defaults or holds over beyond the end of the rental term or renewal period at least three days’ written notice to vacate the premises before the landlord files a forcible detainer suit, unless the parties have contracted for a shorter or longer notice period in a written lease or agreement. A landlord who files a forcible detainer suit on grounds that the tenant is holding over beyond the end of the rental term or renewal period must also comply with the tenancy termination requirements of Section 91.001. TEXAS PROPERTY CODE CHAPTER 24.005

Termination for Lease Violation

Sec. 24.005. NOTICE TO VACATE PRIOR TO FILING EVICTION SUIT. (a) If the occupant is a tenant under a written lease or oral rental agreement, the landlord must give a tenant who defaults or holds over beyond the end of the rental term or renewal period at least three days’ written notice to vacate the premises before the landlord files a forcible detainer suit, unless the parties have contracted for a shorter or longer notice period in a written lease or agreement. A landlord who files a forcible detainer suit on grounds that the tenant is holding over beyond the end of the rental term or renewal period must also comply with the tenancy termination requirements of Section 91.001.TEXAS PROPERTY CODE 24.005

Small Claim Court Limit

The limit for claims is $10,000. The Justice of Peace Courts are hearing small claim court cases.

Handling Abandoned Property

Sec. 92.014. PERSONAL PROPERTY AND SECURITY DEPOSIT OF DECEASED TENANT. (a) Upon written request of a landlord, the landlord’s tenant shall:

(1) provide the landlord with the name, address, and telephone number of a person to contact in the event of the tenant’s death; and

(2) sign a statement authorizing the landlord in the event of the tenant’s death to:

(A) grant to the person designated under Subdivision (1) access to the premises at a reasonable time and in the presence of the landlord or the landlord’s agent;

(B) allow the person designated under Subdivision (1) to remove any of the tenant’s property found at the leased premises; and

(C) refund the tenant’s security deposit, less lawful deductions, to the person designated under Subdivision (1).

(b) A tenant may, without request from the landlord, provide the landlord with the information in Subsection (a).

(c) Except as provided in Subsection (d), in the event of the death of a tenant who is the sole occupant of a rental dwelling:

(1) the landlord may remove and store all property found in the tenant’s leased premises;

(2) the landlord shall turn over possession of the property to the person who was designated by the tenant under Subsection (a) or (b) or to any other person lawfully entitled to the property if the request is made prior to the property being discarded under Subdivision (5);

(3) the landlord shall refund the tenant’s security deposit, less lawful deductions, including the cost of removing and storing the property, to the person designated under Subsection (a) or (b) or to any other person lawfully entitled to the refund;

(4) the landlord may require any person who removes the property from the tenant’s leased premises to sign an inventory of the property being removed; and

(5) the landlord may discard the property removed by the landlord from the tenant’s leased premises if:

(A) the landlord has mailed a written request by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the person designated under Subsection (a) or (b), requesting that the property be removed;

(B) the person failed to remove the property by the 30th day after the postmark date of the notice; and

(C) the landlord, prior to the date of discarding the property, has not been contacted by anyone claiming the property.

(d) In a written lease or other agreement, a landlord and a tenant may agree to a procedure different than the procedure in this section for removing, storing, or disposing of property in the leased premises of a deceased tenant.

(e) If a tenant, after being furnished with a copy of this subchapter, knowingly violates Subsection (a), the landlord shall have no responsibility after the tenant’s death for removal, storage, disappearance, damage, or disposition of property in the tenant’s leased premises.

(f) If a landlord, after being furnished with a copy of this subchapter, knowingly violates Subsection (c), the landlord shall be liable to the estate of the deceased tenant for actual damages.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1439, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Renumbered from Sec. 92.013 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 21.001(97), eff. Sept. 1, 2001. TEXAS PROPERTY CODE SEC. 92.014

Penalty for Self-Help Eviction

(h) If a landlord violates this section, the tenant may:

(1) either recover possession of the premises or terminate the lease; and

(2) recover from the landlord a civil penalty of one month’s rent plus $1,000, actual damages, court costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees in an action to recover property damages, actual expenses, or civil penalties, less any delinquent rent or other sums for which the tenant is liable to the landlord.

(i) If a landlord violates Subsection (f), the tenant may recover, in addition to the remedies provided by Subsection (h), an additional civil penalty of one month’s rent.

(j) A provision of a lease that purports to waive a right or to exempt a party from a liability or duty under this section is void.

(k) A landlord may not change the locks on the door of a tenant’s dwelling under Subsection (b)(3):

(1) when the tenant or any other legal occupant is in the dwelling; or

(2) more than once during a rental payment period.

(l) This section does not affect the ability of a landlord to pursue other available remedies, including the remedies provided by Chapter 24 TEXAS PROPERTY CODE SEC. 92.0081

Tenant Withholding Rent for Repairs

Sec. 92.0561. TENANT’S REPAIR AND DEDUCT REMEDIES. (a) If the landlord is liable to the tenant under Section 92.056(b), the tenant may have the condition repaired or remedied and may deduct the cost from a subsequent rent payment as provided in this section.

(b) The tenant’s deduction for the cost of the repair or remedy may not exceed the amount of one month’s rent under the lease or $500, whichever is greater. However, if the tenant’s rent is subsidized in whole or in part by a governmental agency, the deduction limitation of one month’s rent shall mean the fair market rent for the dwelling and not the rent that the tenant pays. The fair market rent shall be determined by the governmental agency subsidizing the rent, or in the absence of such a determination, it shall be a reasonable amount of rent under the circumstances.

(c) Repairs and deductions under this section may be made as often as necessary so long as the total repairs and deductions in any one month do not exceed one month’s rent or $500, whichever is greater.

(d) Repairs under this section may be made only if all of the following requirements are met:

(1) The landlord has a duty to repair or remedy the condition under Section 92.052, and the duty has not been waived in a written lease by the tenant under Subsection (e) or (f) of Section 92.006.

(2) The tenant has given notice to the landlord as required by Section 92.056(b)(1), and, if required, a subsequent notice under Section 92.056(b)(3), and at least one of those notices states that the tenant intends to repair or remedy the condition. The notice shall also contain a reasonable description of the intended repair or remedy.

(3) Any one of the following events has occurred:

(A) The landlord has failed to remedy the backup or overflow of raw sewage inside the tenant’s dwelling or the flooding from broken pipes or natural drainage inside the dwelling.

(B) The landlord has expressly or impliedly agreed in the lease to furnish potable water to the tenant’s dwelling and the water service to the dwelling has totally ceased.

(C) The landlord has expressly or impliedly agreed in the lease to furnish heating or cooling equipment; the equipment is producing inadequate heat or cooled air; and the landlord has been notified in writing by the appropriate local housing, building, or health official or other official having jurisdiction that the lack of heat or cooling materially affects the health or safety of an ordinary tenant.

(D) The landlord has been notified in writing by the appropriate local housing, building, or health official or other official having jurisdiction that the condition materially affects the health or safety of an ordinary tenant.

(e) If the requirements of Subsection (d) of this section are met, a tenant may:

(1) have the condition repaired or remedied immediately following the tenant’s notice of intent to repair if the condition involves sewage or flooding as referred to in Paragraph (A) of Subdivision (3) of Subsection (d) of this section;

(2) have the condition repaired or remedied if the condition involves a cessation of potable water as referred to in Paragraph (A) of Subdivision (3) of Subsection (d) of this section and if the landlord has failed to repair or remedy the condition within three days following the tenant’s delivery of notice of intent to repair;

(3) have the condition repaired or remedied if the condition involves inadequate heat or cooled air as referred to in Paragraph (C) of Subdivision (3) of Subsection (d) of this section and if the landlord has failed to repair the condition within three days after delivery of the tenant’s notice of intent to repair; or

(4) have the condition repaired or remedied if the condition is not covered by Paragraph (A), (B), or (C) of Subdivision (3) of Subsection (d) of this section and involves a condition affecting the physical health or safety of the ordinary tenant as referred to in Paragraph (D) of Subdivision (3) of Subsection (d) of this section and if the landlord has failed to repair or remedy the condition within seven days after delivery of the tenant’s notice of intent to repair. TEXAS PROPERTY CODE SEC. 92.0561

Required Disclosures

Disclosure of Ownership and Management

SUBCHAPTER E. DISCLOSURE OF OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT

Sec. 92.201. DISCLOSURE OF OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT. (a) A landlord shall disclose to a tenant, or to any government official or employee acting in an official capacity, according to this subchapter:

(1) the name and either a street or post office box address of the holder of record title, according to the deed records in the county clerk’s office, of the dwelling rented by the tenant or inquired about by the government official or employee acting in an official capacity; and

(2) if an entity located off-site from the dwelling is primarily responsible for managing the dwelling, the name and street address of the management company.

Security Devices Requested by Tenant

Sec. 92.157. SECURITY DEVICES REQUESTED BY TENANT. (a) At a tenant’s request made at any time, a landlord, at the tenant’s expense, shall install:

(1) a keyed dead bolt on an exterior door if the door has:

(A) a doorknob lock but not a keyed dead bolt; or

(B) a keyless bolting device but not a keyed dead bolt or doorknob lock; and

(2) a sliding door handle latch or sliding door security bar if the door is an exterior sliding glass door without a sliding door handle latch or sliding door security bar.


Sec. 92.159. WHEN TENANT’S REQUEST OR NOTICE MUST BE IN WRITING. A tenant’s request or notice under this subchapter may be given orally unless the tenant has a written lease that requires the request or notice to be in writing and that requirement is underlined or in boldfaced print in the lease.

Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 357, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Obligation to Refund

Sec. 92.103. OBLIGATION TO REFUND. (a) Except as provided by Section 92.107, the landlord shall refund a security deposit to the tenant on or before the 30th day after the date the tenant surrenders the premises.

(b) A requirement that a tenant give advance notice of surrender as a condition for refunding the security deposit is effective only if the requirement is underlined or is printed in conspicuous bold print in the lease.

(c) The tenant’s claim to the security deposit takes priority over the claim of any creditor of the landlord, including a trustee in bankruptcy.

Right to Vacate

Sec. 92.0161. RIGHT TO VACATE AND AVOID LIABILITY FOLLOWING CERTAIN SEX OFFENSES OR STALKING. (a) In this section, “occupant” has the meaning assigned by Section 92.016.

(b) A tenant may terminate the tenant’s rights and obligations under a lease and may vacate the dwelling and avoid liability for future rent and any other sums due under the lease for terminating the lease and vacating the dwelling before the end of the lease term after the tenant complies with Subsection (c) or (c-1).

(c) If the tenant is a victim or a parent or guardian of a victim of sexual assault under Section 22.011, Penal Code, aggravated sexual assault under Section 22.021, Penal Code, indecency with a child under Section 21.11, Penal Code, sexual performance by a child under Section 43.25, Penal Code, continuous sexual abuse of a child under Section 21.02, Penal Code, or an attempt to commit any of the foregoing offenses under Section 15.01, Penal Code, that takes place during the preceding six-month period on the premises or at any dwelling on the premises, the tenant shall provide to the landlord or the landlord’s agent a copy of:

(1) documentation of the assault or abuse, or attempted assault or abuse, of the victim from a licensed health care services provider who examined the victim;

(2) documentation of the assault or abuse, or attempted assault or abuse, of the victim from a licensed mental health services provider who examined or evaluated the victim;

(3) documentation of the assault or abuse, or attempted assault or abuse, of the victim from an individual authorized under Chapter 420, Government Code, who provided services to the victim; or

(4) documentation of a protective order issued under Subchapter A, Chapter 7B, Code of Criminal Procedure, except for a temporary ex parte order.

(c-1) If the tenant is a victim or a parent or guardian of a victim of stalking under Section 42.072, Penal Code, that takes place during the preceding six-month period on the premises or at any dwelling on the premises, the tenant shall provide to the landlord or the landlord’s agent a copy of:

(1) documentation of a protective order issued under Subchapter A or B, Chapter 7B, Code of Criminal Procedure, except for a temporary ex parte order; or

(2) documentation of the stalking from a provider of services described by Subsection (c)(1), (2), or (3) and:

Notice Regarding Vehicle Towing or Parking Rules

Sec. 92.0131. NOTICE REGARDING VEHICLE TOWING OR PARKING RULES OR POLICIES. (a) This section applies only to a tenant in a multiunit complex, as that term is defined by Section 92.151.

(b) If at the time a lease agreement is executed a landlord has vehicle towing or parking rules or policies that apply to the tenant, the landlord shall provide to the tenant a copy of the rules or policies before the lease agreement is executed. The copy of the rules or policies must be:

(1) signed by the tenant;

(2) included in a lease agreement signed by the tenant; or

(3) included in an attachment to the lease agreement that is signed by the tenant, but only if the attachment is expressly referred to in the lease agreement.

(c) If the rules or policies are contained in the lease agreement or an attachment to the lease agreement, the title to the paragraph containing the rules or policies must read “Parking” or “Parking Rules” and be capitalized, underlined, or printed in bold print.

(c-1) As a precondition for allowing a tenant to park in a specific parking space or a common parking area that the landlord has made available for tenant use, the landlord may require a tenant to provide only the make, model, color, year, license number, and state of registration of the vehicle to be parked.

(c-2) Notwithstanding Subsection (c-1), a municipal housing authority located in a municipality that has a population of more than 500,000 and is not more than 50 miles from an international border, or a public facility corporation, affiliate, or subsidiary of the authority, may require that vehicles parked in a community of the authority, corporation, affiliate, or subsidiary be registered with the housing authority.

(d) If a landlord changes the vehicle towing or parking rules or policies during the term of the lease agreement, the landlord shall provide written notice of the change to the tenant before the tenant is required to comply with the rule or policy change. The landlord has the burden of proving that the tenant received a copy of the rule or policy change. The landlord may satisfy that burden of proof by providing evidence that the landlord:

(1) delivered the notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the tenant at the tenant’s dwelling; or

(2) made a notation in the landlord’s files of the time, place, and method of providing the notice and the name of the person who delivered the notice by:

(A) hand delivery to the tenant or any occupant of the tenant’s dwelling over the age of 16 years at the tenant’s dwelling;

(B) facsimile to a facsimile number the tenant provided to the landlord for the purpose of receiving notices; or

(C) taping the notice to the inside of the main entry door of the tenant’s dwelling.

(e) If a rule or policy change is made during the term of the lease agreement, the change:

(1) must:

(A) apply to all of the landlord’s tenants in the same multiunit complex and be based on necessity, safety or security of tenants, reasonable requirements for construction on the premises, or respect for other tenants’ parking rights; or

(B) be adopted based on the tenant’s written consent; and

(2) may not be effective before the 14th day after the date notice of the change is delivered to the tenant, unless the change is the result of a construction or utility emergency.

(f) A landlord who violates Subsection (b), (c), (d), or (e) is liable for a civil penalty in the amount of $100 plus any towing or storage costs that the tenant incurs as a result of the towing of the tenant’s vehicle. The nonprevailing party in a suit under this section is liable to the prevailing party for reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs.

(g) A landlord is liable for any damage to a tenant’s vehicle resulting from the negligence of a towing service that contracts with the landlord or the landlord’s agent to remove vehicles that are parked in violation of the landlord’s rules and policies if the towing company that caused the damage does not carry insurance that covers the damage.

Interruption of Utilities

Sec. 92.008. INTERRUPTION OF UTILITIES. (a) A landlord or a landlord’s agent may not interrupt or cause the interruption of utility service paid for directly to the utility company by a tenant unless the interruption results from bona fide repairs, construction, or an emergency.

(b) Except as provided by this section, a landlord may not interrupt or cause the interruption of water, wastewater, gas, or electric service furnished to a tenant by the landlord as an incident of the tenancy or by other agreement unless the interruption results from bona fide repairs, construction, or an emergency.


(h) Subject to Subsections (i), (j), (k), (m), and (o), a landlord who submeters electricity or allocates or prorates nonsubmetered master metered electricity may interrupt or cause the interruption of electric service for nonpayment by the tenant of an electric bill issued to the tenant if:

(1) the landlord’s right to interrupt electric service is provided by a written lease entered into by the tenant;

(2) the tenant’s electric bill is not paid on or before the 12th day after the date the electric bill is issued;

(3) advance written notice of the proposed interruption is delivered to the tenant by mail or hand delivery separately from any other written content that:

(A) prominently displays the words “electricity termination notice” or similar language underlined or in bold;

Security Deposit Rules

Sec. 92.103. OBLIGATION TO REFUND. (a) Except as provided by Section 92.107, the landlord shall refund a security deposit to the tenant on or before the 30th day after the date the tenant surrenders the premises.

(b) A requirement that a tenant give advance notice of surrender as a condition for refunding the security deposit is effective only if the requirement is underlined or is printed in conspicuous bold print in the lease.

(c) The tenant’s claim to the security deposit takes priority over the claim of any creditor of the landlord, including a trustee in bankruptcy.

Month-to-Month Notice

Sec. 91.001. NOTICE FOR TERMINATING CERTAIN TENANCIES. (a) A monthly tenancy or a tenancy from month to month may be terminated by the tenant or the landlord giving notice of termination to the other.

(b) If a notice of termination is given under Subsection (a) and if the rent-paying period is at least one month, the tenancy terminates on whichever of the following days is the later:

(1) the day given in the notice for termination; or

(2) one month after the day on which the notice is given.

TEXAS PROPERTY CODE SEC. 91.001

Payment of Rent

Sec. 92.019. LATE PAYMENT OF RENT; FEES. (a) A landlord may not collect from a tenant a late fee for failing to pay any portion of the tenant’s rent unless:

(1) notice of the fee is included in a written lease;

(2) the fee is reasonable; and

(3) any portion of the tenant’s rent has remained unpaid two full days after the date the rent was originally due.

(a-1) For purposes of this section, a late fee is considered reasonable if:

(1) the late fee is not more than:

(A) 12 percent of the amount of rent for the rental period under the lease for a dwelling located in a structure that contains not more than four dwelling units; or

(B) 10 percent of the amount of rent for the rental period under the lease for a dwelling located in a structure that contains more than four dwelling units; or

(2) the late fee is more than the applicable amount under Subdivision (1), but not more than uncertain damages to the landlord related to the late payment of rent, including direct or indirect expenses, direct or indirect costs, or overhead associated with the collection of late payment.

(b) A late fee under this section may include an initial fee and a daily fee for each day any portion of the tenant’s rent continues to remain unpaid, and the combined fees are considered a single late fee for purposes of this section.

(c) A landlord who violates this section is liable to the tenant for an amount equal to the sum of $100, three times the amount of the late fee collected in violation of this section, and the tenant’s reasonable attorney’s fees.

(d) A provision of a lease that purports to waive a right or exempt a party from a liability or duty under this section is void.

(e) This section relates only to a fee, charge, or other sum of money required to be paid under the lease if rent is not paid as provided by Subsection (a)(3), and does not affect the landlord’s right to terminate the lease or take other action permitted by the lease or other law. Payment of the fee, charge, or other sum of money by a tenant does not waive the right or remedies provided by this section.

Landlord-Tenant State Laws