Texas Security Deposit Laws

As the saying goes, "everything is bigger in Texas." Unfortunately, this saying also applies to the state's limits on security deposits. Since Texas security deposit laws do not provide a set limit that landlords can charge for a security deposit, they can technically charge astronomical amounts for this initial payment. This is a quick summary of the security deposit laws in Texas.

Being Aware of Renters' Rights Under Texas Security Deposit Laws

Tenants possess a bevy of rights under Texas law. When a tenancy has been terminated, the landlord has a set amount of time that he or she must return the security deposit to the tenant. Also, a landlord may only deduct from a security deposit for specific reasons laid out by Texas landlord-tenant law. If a landlord acts in bad faith during this process, he may forfeit his right to any portion of the tenant's security deposit.

The following table outlines the specifics of Texas security deposit laws.

Code Sections

Texas Statutes - Subchapter C: Security Deposits

Security Deposit Limits

According to Texas law, there are no set limits on how much a landlord may charge for a damage/security deposit. However, city ordinances may limit how much a landlord can charge for these types of deposits.

Return of the Security Deposit by Landlord

Under Texas law, a landlord must refund a security deposit to the tenant on or before the 30th day after the date the tenant surrenders the premises. A landlord may require that a tenant give advance notice of surrender as a condition for refunding the security deposit. However, it is only effective if the requirement is underlined or is printed in conspicuous bold print in the lease.

Deduction From Security Deposit

Before returning a security deposit, the landlord may deduct from the deposit damages and charges for which the tenant is legally liable under Texas security deposit laws or as a result of breaching the lease. The landlord may not retain any portion of a security deposit to cover normal wear and tear.

If the landlord retains all or part of a security deposit under this section, the landlord must give the tenant the balance of the security deposit, if any, together with a written description and itemized list of all deductions. However, a landlord is not required to give the tenant a description and itemized list of deductions if:

  • the tenant owes rent when he surrenders possession of the premises; and

  • there is no controversy concerning the amount of rent owed.

Withholding Last Month's Rent

The tenant may not withhold payment of any portion of the last month's rent on grounds that the security deposit is to be used for unpaid rent.

If you believe that your security deposit rights have been violated and wish to seek further legal assistance, FindLaw can help you locate a Texas landlord/tenant attorney. Explore FindLaw to learn more about your security deposit and your landlord/tenant rights.

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