What You Should Know About Texas Landlord-Tenant Laws
Various statutes govern the Landlord-Tenant relationship, notably Chapter 92 of the Texas Property Code and different court orders. However, the vital part of your relationship with the landlord is your rental agreement, whether written or verbal.
Some homeowners prefer verbal agreements, but it is more common to ask you to sign a written agreement. Ensure you read and understand the rental agreement before signing.
If you want a change in any part of the agreement, talk to the owner. If the owner agrees, both of you must decide how you want to write the change and then add it to the agreement. Next, you and the owner should initial next to the change. For example, many rental agreements prohibit pets. Still, the landlord or rental property management may be willing to accept a pet if you give an additional security deposit.
Peace and tranquility
“Quiet use,” a legal term, is an inclusion of your right as a tenant. It means that the landlord cannot evict you for no reason or otherwise interrupt your right to live in peace.
If other occupants on the property are bothering you, you should complain to the landlord or rental property management. Of course, you cannot disturb your neighbor’s peace either.
Subjected to individual circumstances and except certain conditions, a landlord cannot interrupt a tenant’s utilities unless the interruption is for good faith repair, construction, or an emergency. See Texas Property Code Commented.
Health and Security
You have the right to demand that the landlord repair any condition that materially affects your health and safety.
The justice of the peace holds power to order landlords to repair or correct conditions that affect tenants’ physical health or safety, as long as the repair cost is not more than $ 10,000. Tenants can obtain a repair order at a justice of the peace court without a lawyer.
The landlord also has to provide smoke detectors. According to Texas Property Code Chapter 92, Subchapter F, you cannot waive that provision. You have no right to disconnect or disable the smoke detector.
Although there are specific exceptions, under Texas Property Code Chapter 92, Subchapter D, a home must have security devices. Such as window latches, keyed locks on exterior doors, keyed locks for sliding doors, and latches or security bars for sliding doors and door peepholes.
These appliances must be installed at the owner’s expense. If they are not installed or defective, you have the right to request that they be installed or repaired.
If you have problems
Suppose your landlord does not want to make the necessary repairs to protect your health and safety. You follow the process established by law. In that case, you may have the right to:
Terminate the rental agreement;
Repair the problem and deduct the cost of the repair from your rent; or
Employ legal procedure to force the landlord to make the repairs.
To perform one of these methods, ENSURE to take these steps:
Send a dated letter by certified mail to your landlord, proof of receipt, or registered mail, with a summary of the necessary repairs. You can also deliver the letter in person. Keep a copy of the letter. Make sure the rent is current when the notice is received.
According to Texas Law, It is unlawful for a landlord to retaliate against you for complaining about needed repairs within six months of the date you filed a complaint, under the Texas law. You can always be evicted if you don’t pay your rent on time, threaten the landlord’s safety, or intentionally damage the property.
Get Your Deposit Back
Most landlords and rental property management require you to pay a security deposit to cover any repairs needed when you move out. Or cover the rent if you don’t pay the last month’s rent. By law, the landlord cannot refuse to return the deposit without a valid reason.
Discounts for damages
According to Texas law, you must give the landlord an address where you can receive your deposit. The landlord must return your deposit, discounted for damages, within 30 days. If the landlord withholds all or part of the deposit, they must provide you with an itemized list of discounts with a description of the damage.
Deterioration from normal use
The landlord cannot charge you for deterioration for the property’s use. He can only charge for damages that are currently abnormal. For example, if your rug wears out just because you and your guests walked on it for a year, your landlord cannot charge you for a new carpet. If your waterbed has a leak and mold forms on the rug from it, you can be sued.
Advance Notice Requirements. Review your rental agreement to see if you are required to give your landlord early notice when you are moving. Many rental contracts require 30-day information as a condition of returning your deposit.