This is a summary of Texas Landlord-Tenant laws that apply to residential (non-commercial) rentals. These references were compiled from the Property Code of Texas, the Texas Uniform Condominium Act, the Texas Fair Housing Act, and various online sources to serve as a reference and for people wanting to learn about Texas landlord-tenant laws, Texas eviction laws, and Texas renters’ rights.
However, this guide is not comprehensive and PayRent does not warrant the accuracy of this information. Statutes can change any time the state legislature passes a new law. Additionally, counties and cities may have different regulations. Given its limitations, this guide is not an adequate substitute for legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer. If you are dealing with a landlord-tenant issue, you seek guidance from a qualified attorney. If you need help finding an attorney, we’ve included a list of attorney referral services in this guide.
Rules and Regulations Governing Texas Landlord-Tenant Laws
- Provisions Generally Applicable to Landlords and Tenants — Title 8, Chapter 91
- Landlord and Tenant – Residential Tenancies — Title 8, Chapter 92
- Landlord and Tenant – Commercial Tenancies — Title 8, Chapter 93
- Uniform Condominium Act — Title 7, Chapter 82
- Texas Fair Housing Act — Title 15, Chapter 301
Texas Lease Terms Provisions
- What is the maximum allowable security deposit?
There is no Texas law limiting security deposits.
- Are security deposits required to earn interest?
No. There is no Texas law requiring security deposits to earn interest.
- Do landlords need to store security deposits in a separate bank account?
No. There is no Texas law requiring security deposits to be stored in a separate bank account.
- Are non-refundable fees, such as pet fees, prohibited?
No. There is no Texas law forbidding non-refundable fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.
- How long do landlords have to return security deposits?
So long as a tenant provides a forwarding address, the landlord has 30 days after the tenant moves out to return a security deposit. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.103)
- Can landlords withhold security deposits?
Yes. Landlords can use the deposit to cover accrued rent and to repair any damages to the property caused by tenants’ breach of any lease provision. Landlord cannot retain any portion of security deposit to cover normal wear and tear. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.104)
- Are landlords required to itemize damages and fees deducted from security deposits?
Yes. An itemized list, detailing the amount withheld and the reasons for withholding, must be provided to the tenant along with any remaining security deposit funds. Landlord is not required to give tenant the itemized list if tenant owes rent when he/she surrenders possession of the premises, and there is no controversy concerning the amount of rent owed. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.104)
- Do landlords have to issue receipts upon receiving security deposits?
No. There is no Texas law requiring landlords to issue receipts for security deposits.
- Are there any specific requirements for record-keeping for deposit withholdings?
No. There is no Texas law specifying record-keeping requirements.
- What happens when a landlord does not return a security deposit within the required timeframe?
The tenant may recover up to three times the amount wrongfully withheld, plus $100 and reasonable attorney’s fees if the security deposit is retained by the landlord in bad faith. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.109)
- Is there a cap on how much landlords can charge for rent? (rent control)
No. There are no rent control laws in Texas. However, municipality can establish rent control in case of a housing emergency due to a disaster storm, fire, oil spill, earthquake, flood, etc.), or in case the governor approves the ordinance. (Tex. Prop. Code § 7-214-902).
- Does rent need to be paid using a certain method of payment?
No. But landlords must accept cash payments for rent unless the lease specifies another method of payment. If landlord receives a cash rental payment, he/she must provide written receipt and enter the payment date and amount in a record book maintained by him/her. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.011)
- Can landlords charge late fees when rent is late?
Yes. The landlord must include the term of the late fee in the lease, and it must be reasonable. It is reasonable if it is not more than 12% of the amount of rent of the unit in a structure containing less than 4 units, or 10% of the rent amount if a structure contains more than 4 dwelling units, or it is more than 12% of the rent amount 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. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.019)
- Do landlords have to allow for a grace period for paying rent before charging late fees?
Yes. The rent must be at least two full days past due. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.019)
- Can landlords charge application fees?
Yes. There is no Texas law forbidding application fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.
- Can landlords charge returned check fees?
Yes. There is no Texas law forbidding returned check fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.
Texas Landlord-Tenant Relations
- Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms?
No. There is no Texas law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms. However, landlords cannot raise your rent in the middle of your lease.
- Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the property?
No. There is no Texas law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the rental property.
- What notice is required to terminate a fixed-end lease?
At least one month’s notice is required in Texas. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-91.001)
- What notice is required to terminate a week-to-week periodic tenancy?
Notice must be given at least one pay period before the end of a lease for leases of less than a month. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-91.001)
- What notice is required to terminate a month-to-month periodic tenancy?
Either the landlord or the tenant can terminate the tenancy with 30 days’ notice. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-91.001)
- Is notice of the date and time of the move out inspection required?
There is no statute in Texas law covering this issue.
- When can landlords enter the rental premises with notice?
In Texas, landlords and tenants can agree to terms in the lease regarding notice required for entry. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.0081)
- What notice must a landlord give a tenant before entering the rental unit?
There is no Texas law providing how much notice a landlord must give before entering a unit. Landlords and tenants can negotiate provisions for notice in the lease. Without lease provisions, there is no requirement for tenants to allow access, except in emergencies. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.0081)
- When can landlords enter the rental premises without providing notice to their tenants?
- In case of an emergency.
- For bona fide repairs, construction.
- Removing the contents of premises abandoned by tenant.
- Changing the door locks to tenant’s individual dwelling unit of tenant who is delinquent in paying at least part of the rent. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.0081(b))
- Landlords must repair any condition that materially affects the health and safety of an ordinary tenant. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.052(a)(3)(A))
- Landlords must provide a device that will supply hot water of at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.052(a)(3)(B))
- Landlords provide one working smoke detector in each separate bedroom of a dwelling unit, as well as at least one on each floor of the unit. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.255(a))
- Landlords must, during the lease term and any renewal period, repair or replace a security device on request or notification by tenant that the device id inoperable or in need of repair or replacement. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92-158).
Tenant’s Duties (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.322(b))
- Tenants must comply with all obligations imposed upon tenants by building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
- Tenants must use all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises in a reasonable manner;
- Tenants must not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove any part of the premises; or knowingly, recklessly, or negligently permit any person to do so.
- Tenants and their guests must conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb the neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
Required Landlord Disclosures
- Landlords are required to disclose in writing the names and business addresses of:
- A landlord must include in the lease, in underlined or bold print, a statement outlining a tenant’s rights and remedies in case the landlord breaches the lease. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.056(g))
- As of 2021, landlords must inform tenants in all written leases that they may have special rights regarding early termination of the lease in case of sexual offenses or stalking. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.0161(g))
- Before renting pre-1978 property, landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards. (16 CFR 1303, 42 U.S. Code § 4852d) . If the landlord fails to disclose all known lead paint hazards, the landlord can face fines of up to $19,507 for each violation (24 CFR 30.65).
- Landlords who are enforcing parking rules or vehicle towing for multi-unit complexes must provide a copy of the rules in or alongside the rental agreement.(Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92-0131).
- Landlords must provide a 24-hour emergency phone number to report emergencies within the building. It must be included in the rental agreement and posted in a conspicuous location outside of the management or superintendent’s office. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92-020).
Texas Renters’ Rights
- What are Texas renters’ rights if landlords breach their duties? (See Landlord’s Duties)
If a landlord’s failure to comply with the rental agreement or their legal duties materially affects health and safety, the renter may deliver notice to the landlord identifying the issue(s), and that the tenant intends to effect repairs themselves. After a reasonable time without the landlord making repairs, the tenant can deduct the amount of repair from the next month’s rent, so long as it is less than the greater of $500 or a month’s rent. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.0561)
- Are tenants allowed to withhold rent for needed repairs or other breaches of their landlords’ duties?
No. There is no Texas law allowing tenants to withhold rent to enforce their legal rights.
- What are the protections for tenants against retaliation from their landlords for exercising their Texas renter’s rights?
Texas law prohibits landlords from increasing rent, decreasing services, or bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession within six months if the tenant has complained to a governmental agency, complained to the landlord about a breach of landlord’s duties, or if the tenant becomes a member of a tenant’s union or similar organization. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.331)
Texas Eviction Laws
- What are the reasons that landlords can evict tenants under Texas eviction laws?
- Nonpayment of rent
- Violation of lease terms / rental agreement
- The tenant remains in possession without the landlord’s consent after expiration or termination of the term of the rental agreement (holdover tenancy)
- If the rental property is foreclosed upon (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-24.005)
- What notice do Texas eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
- For evictions based on non-payment of rent, violation of the lease terms, or holdover tenancy, the landlord must provide a 3-day notice to quit before commencing an eviction suit. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-24.005)
- For evictions based on the foreclosure of rental property, the landlord must provide 30 days’ notice before beginning an eviction action. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-24.005)
- Do Texas eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities?
Yes. If a tenant is delinquent in paying the rent, landlords are allowed to change the locks on the rental unit. There are very specific regulations that the landlord must follow once locks are changed, including allowing the tenant to cure the delinquency within 24 hours to receive a new key. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.0081)
Utility shut-off evictions are not allowed. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-92.008)
- Are landlords permitted to recover damages from an evicted tenant?
Yes. Texas landlords are allowed to cover reasonable attorney’s fees by providing the tenant a notice that if the tenant continues to maintain possession past the 11th day after the notice, the landlord will attempt to collect attorney’s fees in an eviction suit. (Tex. Prop. Code § 8-24.006)
COVID-19 Changes to Texas Landlord-Tenant Laws
- The CDC’s national eviction ban was effective through August 26, 2021, and is no longer in place.
- The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is no longer effective.
- TXU Energy provides rent support.
Squatter’s rights in Texas
Under the Homestead Act of 1862, individuals (squatters) can possess the property if they have lived there for a specific period of time, done so publicly, made repairs to the property, have deed to the property and have paid rent or taxes on this property.
Texas has no specific laws recognizing squatters.The squatter can claim adverse possession after 10 years of living on the property (Tex. Prop. Code § 16.026), or after 5 years of continuous possession(cultivating, using, enjoying the property), paying taxes and holding color of title (Tex. Prop. Code § 16.025, Tex. Prop. Code § 16.030), or after 3 years under title or color of title (Tex. Prop. Code § 16.024).
- Texas Courts Online
- Texas Constitution and Statutes
- Attorney General of Texas
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Texas
- Texas Real Estate Commission
Attorney Referral Services
Realtor and Landlord-Tenant Associations