As the saying goes, "everything is bigger in Texas." Unfortunately, this also applies to security deposits. Since Texas security deposit laws don't provide a set limit that landlords can charge for a security deposit, they can technically charge astronomical amounts for this initial payment. This article provides a quick summary of security deposit laws in Texas.
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 in which they 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, they may forfeit their right to any portion of the tenant's security deposit.
Texas Security Deposit Laws at a Glance
In the following table, you'll find an overview of security deposit laws in Texas and links to applicable statutes. Remember, while reading an overview is helpful, it's always best to also read the actual text of the law as well.
Texas Property Code, Title 8, Chapter 92, Subchapter C, Section 92.101, et seq. (Security Deposits)
|Security Deposit Limits||
There are no set limits on how much a landlord may charge for a damage/security deposit under state law. However, city ordinances may limit how much a landlord can charge for these types of deposits.
|Return of the Security Deposit by Landlord||
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.
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.|
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Texas Security Deposit Laws: Related Resources
For additional information and resources, please click on the links listed below.
Learn More About Texas Security Deposit Laws: Speak with a Local Attorney
If you believe that your security deposit rights have been violated, it's a good idea to discuss your situation with a local landlord-tenant attorney who can explain how Texas security deposit laws apply to you.
Contact a qualified attorney.