What are the Legal Responsibilities of Landlords in Texas?

real estate law for a landlord

Just like tenants, landlords in Texas have various rights and obligations. Knowledge of and compliance with these state laws is crucial in maintaining a positive relationship with renters.

Like all states, Texas has its own regulations concerning late fees, evictions due to nonpayment, and notice requirements for rent increases.

Take note of these responsibilities to prevent tenant disputes and keep your investment safe and profitable:

Respect Return Rules & State Security Deposit Limits

Make sure you know the deposit rules in Texas such as:

  • When the deposit must be refunded (on or before the 30th day after the tenant has moved out);
  • Avoiding disputes by sending a written security deposit itemization at the end of the tenancy; and
  • Documenting deductions for cleaning, repairs, or unpaid rent to prove why you’re legally entitled to keep a certain amount of the security deposit.

Follow All Anti-Discrimination Laws

Landlords in Texas are legally allowed to turn down applicants based on any of the following grounds:

  • Low credit score or poor credit history;
  • Insufficient income to cover rent;
  • A record of a criminal felony or conviction;
  • Negative references from previous landlords;
  • History of previous eviction notice, late rental payments, and defamation or abandonment of property; or
  • Negative employment history.

However, landlords are prohibited from discriminating against prospective tenants based on protected categories stated in the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968. These categories include sex, race, national origin, religion, familial status, physical or mental disability.

Provide Habitable Housing

Under the Implied Warranty of Habitability, all tenants are entitled to reside in a safe and comfortable home. In turn, landlords are mandated to solve problems that make the rental uninhabitable or unsafe for their tenants, such as timely fixing any lock that is not functioning properly or ensuring that there are no structural issues affecting the integrity of the property

Never Retaliate Against a Tenant for Asserting their Legal Rights

A landlord is not allowed to harass, evict, or increase the rent of a tenant who asserts their rights to fair payments and safe living conditions.

To prevent issues and false retaliation claims, make sure to screen renters carefully and retain all important documentation such as receipts, checks, and invoices.

Prepare a Legal Written Lease

Avoid all types of disputes by preparing a legal, well-written lease before the tenant is permitted to move into the rental space. A lease or rental agreement spells out the rights and obligations of both tenant and landlord. It specifies important information like the amount of the rent and the duration of the tenancy, along with penalties and protections.

For expert advice on landlord rights and duties in Texas, get in touch with the real estate attorneys at Sullivan Law Offices today.