Texas Rental Lease Agreements are a set of legal forms to allow a property owner or manager to transfer control of their property to another party temporarily. The type of lease required will vary based on the length of the agreement and what the intended use of the property is. If you wish to sell or lease property in Texas, you will need a Real Estate Broker License.
Due to the variety of different types leases, unique clauses in each and the state and local laws that can apply to them, each lease is completely unique. As such they should be read and understood carefully before signing, although Residential Leases will typically be required to have clear and easy to understand language. Both landlord and tenant should be extremely clear about the lease and aware of any local and state laws pertaining to the lease before signing.
Form Description Types
Texas Rental Laws
Laws are pursuant to Texas Prop. Code Ann. 91.001 to 92.355.
Most landlords will want to charge a security deposit to account for any reasonable wear and tear a property will take during a tenancy. There are no state laws limiting how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit in Texas, although cities and counties may have one. A landlord is required to return a security deposit thirty (30) days after the tenant has vacated the property. A landlord in Texas is not required to provide any information about where a deposit is being kept.
There is no rent control in Texas, and as such there is no limit to how much a landlord can charge for rent. A lease will lay out how much rent is, when it is due, what forms are acceptable and where it must be delivered. Failure to pay on time may result in a late fee. Under Texas state law, a late fee policy must be laid out in clear language in the lease. If it is not, a landlord may not charge a late fee.
In a Month to Month Lease, a landlord must give the tenant thirty (30) days written notice before increasing the rent. In One Year Lease, the landlord cannot alter the rent unless a provision in the lease itself allows for a rent increase.
If a landlord has failed to make vital repairs to a dwelling, the tenant may withhold rent until it is done or pay for the repair themselves and withdraw the cost from rent. A landlord is required to spell out these rights and when they apply in the lease, under Texas state law.
In a Month to Month Lease, eviction is reasonably simple, if not necessarily easy. Like all alterations to a Month to Month Lease, the landlord is required to serve the tenant with written notice and give the tenant thirty (30) days before it takes effect.
In a longer lease, the process for eviction is much more complicated. If a tenant has failed to pay rent or otherwise violated the lease, the landlord may serve them with an Unconditional Quit Notice, that gives them three days to move out. If the tenant has not vacated during that time, the landlord must go to a hearing at the local court and request that the tenant be served with an Eviction Notice.
Until the tenant has been served with an Eviction Notice, the landlord may not tamper with utilities, change the locks, install a deadbolt or otherwise attempt to force the tenant out of the property.
In Texas it is illegal to discriminate (IE deny housing, claim property is unavailable when it is, alter rent, etc.) for the following reasons:
- race, color, national origin, sex, religion, family status, physical or mental disability
- note that age, marital status, sexual orientation and gender identity are not covered
Landlord’s Right to Enter
There are no laws specifically governing a landlord’s right to enter, and thus they are governed by common sense and manners, usually referred to as Common Law. In this case, a landlord cannot enter in a non-emergency setting, unless they have given reasonable notice and do so at a reasonable time.