Texas Tenant Rights Laws

Although the Texas state motto is “friendship,” when it comes to the landlord-tenant relationship it's wise to hope for the best and be prepared for the worst. As in any state, rental issues can come up anytime and without warning. Whether your landlord is always helpful and honest or has the morals of a slumlord, a good way to be prepared is to know your rights and obligations as a tenant. Read on to learn more about Texas tenant rights laws.

Texas Tenant Laws: Security Deposits, Repairs, and More

To help guide the landlord-tenant relationship beyond the terms included in your lease, Texas tenant rights laws cover a myriad of issues, including racial discrimination, repairs, and security deposits. For example, once you move out, your landlord must return your security deposit within 30 days and may not retain any part of it for normal wear and tear.

Your landlord also has an obligation to provide a habitable unit which includes making necessary repairs and providing hot water. If your home becomes uninhabitable, you may be able to terminate your lease early or make the repairs and deduct the cost from your rent. This can include conditions caused by an insured casualty such as a hurricane or fire.

Texas Tenant Rights Laws at a Glance

A summary of Texas state laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship, including links to important code sections, is provided below.

Statutes

Security Deposits

  • No statewide limits
  • Must return all or part of the security deposit within 30 days after tenant moves out
  • Must provide itemized list and description of all deductions
  • Part or all may be used for:
    • Rent owed
    • Damages to rental beyond normal wear and tear
    • Damages or charges incurred by tenant’s breach of lease, or according to terms of the lease

Paying Rent

  • May not raise rent during lease term (e.g. 1 year lease) unless lease allows; may raise rent upon lease renewal with 30 days’ notice
  • May raise rent during periodic rental agreement (e.g. month-to-month); 30 days’ notice required

Living Conditions

  • Landlord may enter rental unit according to terms of the lease
  • Landlord must repair or remedy condition if tenant gives notice of condition, tenant is not delinquent in rent payment, and condition:
    • Materially affects health or safety of tenant; or
    • Is due to landlord’s failure to supply hot water
  • Tenant may terminate lease if unit is uninhabitable due to an insured casualty loss such as a hurricane
  • Landlord not responsible for condition caused by tenant or tenant’s family, guest, or invitee (except condition caused by normal wear and tear)
  • Tenant may be able to repair and deduct cost from rent for conditions not remedied by landlord after a reasonable amount of time

Discrimination

  • No discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin

Ending or Renewing a Tenancy

  • Landlord must give notice to terminate the tenancy:
    • Month-to-month: at least one month
    • Lease: according to the terms of the lease
    • Eviction: 3 days before filing eviction lawsuit
  • Remaining in unit after lease expires converts tenancy to a month-to-month tenancy if the landlord accepts rent from tenant, unless lease specifies otherwise

Retaliation

  • Landlord may not retaliate against tenant for exercising tenant rights

Note: State regulations 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 Tenant Rights Laws: Related Resources

Know Your Tenant Rights

As a renter, you hope your living situation is a source of peace, not one of stress and conflict. If you do run into issues, it can be difficult to understand all the terms of your lease and the laws of your city and state. Whether your landlord is refusing to make certain repairs, you want to end your lease early, or you’re facing an eviction notice, receive a free case review to learn about your Texas tenant rights laws and how best to move forward.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.