Texas legally requires landlords to meet certain “habitability” requirements for all rental properties. This means that they’re responsible for providing a property that meets specific health and safety standards and for fixing issues that violate them.
Texas Implied Warranty of Habitability
In Texas, the implied warranty of habitability means that a landlord must provide and maintain a safe and habitable rental property. “Implied” means the requirement applies whether or not the lease agreement specifically says so and even if the lease tries to waive the obligation.
Examples of clear habitability violations include:
Exposed electrical wiring.
A pipe leaking human waste.
A broken front doorknob that won’t lock.
However, the implied warranty of habitability does not guarantee that anything at the property will be pretty, clean, new or issue-free, so it doesn’t cover things like peeling carpet or dents in a wall. It only guarantees basic health and safety.
Landlord Responsibilities in Texas
Note: Check local city/county laws and ordinances for additional requirements.
Landlord Responsibilities for Heating & Air Conditioning in Texas
Texas landlords haveno specific responsibilityto provide heating or air conditioning. However, the landlord does have to repair cooling or heating equipment provided on the rental property, if a government official certifies that it impacts tenant health and safety.
Are Landlords Required to Provide Air Filter Replacements in Texas?
Texas landlordsaren’t required to replace things like air filters,unless a government official certifies that not doing so would negatively impact tenant health and safety.
Landlord Responsibilities for Plumbing in Texas
Texas landlords have minimal responsibilities regarding plumbing. They mustmaintain hot water service,keep provided water service from unreasonable interruptions,andfix flooding plus buildups of raw sewage.
Are Landlords Required To Provide Hot Water in Texas?
Texas landlords mustprovide and maintain hot waterfor rental properties. The water must be heated to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Are Landlords Responsible for Fixing Clogged Drains & Toilets in Texas?
Texas landlords are only responsible forfixing clogs that flood the propertyorcreate a backup of raw sewage.
Are Landlords in Texas Responsible for Fixing Leaks?
Texas landlords are only responsible forfixing leaks that flood the property.
Landlord Responsibilities for Kitchen Appliances in Texas
Texas landlords haveno specific responsibilityto provide or maintain kitchen appliancessuch as a dishwasher, stove, oven, microwave, or refrigerator.
Landlord Responsibilities for Electrical Issues in Texas
Texas landlords haveno specific responsibility to provide electric service.However, if providing electric service, the landlord must keep it free from unreasonable interruptions.
Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Light Bulbs in Texas?
Texas landlords arenot responsible for replacing light bulbs.
Landlord Responsibilities for Garbage Removal in Texas
Texas landlords haveno explicit responsibility regarding garbage removal.However, the landlord likely has a legal duty to provide garbage service for rental property since piled garbage is a habitability issue.
Landlord Responsibilities for Landscaping in Texas
Texas landlords haveno specific responsibilityto provide landscapingor maintain it with actions like cutting grass. They only have to deal with issues like fallen trees if they create a hazard to health or safety.
Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Mold in Texas
Texas landlords areresponsible for most mold issues.They don’t have to conduct regular testing for mold. However, mold not caused by the renter’s lack of cleanliness is a health and safety hazard that the landlord is required to fix.
Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Pests in Texas
Texas landlords are responsible forexterminating all infestations– such as roaches, mice, bed bugs, or ants – that could affect health or safety, unless the tenant caused the issue. There’s no requirement for regular testing.
Landlord Responsibilities for Windows & Window Coverings in Texas
Texas landlords arenot responsible for providing or fixing blinds, screens, or other window coverings.The landlord has to repair broken windows the tenant didn’t cause, since this is a health and safety issue. Certain windows also have to lock.
Landlord Responsibilities for Doors & Locks in Texas
Texas landlords havedetailed responsibilities regarding doors and locks.If a landlord doesn’t provide required locks, renters can install the locks themselves and deduct the cost from rent, and they may also sue for significant civil penalties.
Whether or not requested, the landlord must provide and pay for all of the following:
Window latches on all exterior windows.
Keyed lock on each exterior door.
Keyless (interior) deadbolt on each exterior door.
Lock for sliding glass doors, plus latch / security bar.
Rekeying after a change of tenants.
At the renter’s request and expense, the landlord must also provide, but not pay for:
Keyed deadbolt on any exterior door lacking one.
Latch or security bar on any sliding glass door lacking one
Rekeying of any door as often as requested.
Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Safety Devices in Texas
Texas landlords are responsible forproviding and maintaining required smoke alarms,but not carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
The landlord has to ensure smoke alarms work both at the beginning of the lease and upon request. It’s the landlord’s responsibility to fix any issues and pay associated costs, unless the issue is the tenant’s fault. The same rules apply to provided fire extinguishers.
Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Batteries of Safety Devices in Texas?
Texas landlords are responsible forreplacing batteries of safety devices,unless the renter caused the issue that requires battery replacement.
Landlord Responsibilities for Washers and Dryers in Texas
Texas landlords arenot required to furnishtheir rental properties with a working washer and dryer.
Renter’s Rights for Repairs in Texas
Texas renters have theright to repairs for issues they didn’t causewhich affect health and safety, unless they’re behind on rent. Depending on the issue and the form of notice, the law requires submitting one or two requests and giving the landlord 3-14 days to fix the issue.
If the landlord does not make timely repairs, the renter can take any of the following actions:
Break the lease.
Repair and deduct from rent.
Get a court order forcing repairs or reducing rent.
“(a) A landlord shall make a diligent effort to repair or remedy a condition if: (1) the tenant specifies the condition in a notice to the person to whom or to the place where rent is normally paid; (2) the tenant is not delinquent in the payment of rent at the time notice is given; and (3) the condition: (A) materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant; or (B) arises from the landlord’s failure to provide and maintain in good operating condition a device to supply hot water of a minimum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
“(b) Unless the condition was caused by normal wear and tear, the landlord does not have a duty during the lease term or a renewal or extension to repair or remedy a condition caused by: (1) the tenant; (2) a lawful occupant in the tenant’s dwelling; (3) a member of the tenant’s family; or (4) a guest or invitee of the tenant.”
“Repairs under this section may be made only if all of the following requirements are met: … (3) Any one of the following events has occurred: (A) The landlord has failed to remedy the backup or overflow of raw sewage inside the tenant’s dwelling or the flooding from broken pipes or natural drainage inside the dwelling. (B) The landlord has expressly or impliedly agreed in the lease to furnish potable water to the tenant’s dwelling and the water service to the dwelling has totally ceased. (C) The landlord has expressly or impliedly agreed in the lease to furnish heating or cooling equipment; the equipment is producing inadequate heat or cooled air; and the landlord has been notified in writing by the appropriate local housing, building, or health official or other official having jurisdiction that the lack of heat or cooling materially affects the health or safety of an ordinary tenant. (D) The landlord has been notified in writing by the appropriate local housing, building, or health official or other official having jurisdiction that the condition materially affects the health or safety of an ordinary tenant.”
“(a) A landlord or a landlord’s agent may not interrupt or cause the interruption of utility service paid for directly to the utility company by a tenant unless the interruption results from bona fide repairs, construction, or an emergency.
“(b) Except as provided by this section, a landlord may not interrupt or cause the interruption of water, wastewater, gas, or electric service furnished to a tenant by the landlord as an incident of the tenancy or by other agreement unless the interruption results from bona fide repairs, construction, or an emergency.”
“(a) [Except as otherwise provided, and]… without necessity of request by the tenant, a dwelling must be equipped with: (1) a window latch on each exterior window… (2) a doorknob lock or keyed dead bolt on each exterior door; (3) a sliding door pin lock on each exterior sliding glass door… (4) a sliding door handle latch or a sliding door security bar on each exterior sliding glass door… and (5) a keyless bolting device and a door viewer on each exterior door…
“(c) …installed at the landlord’s expense. …
“(g) A keyed dead bolt or a doorknob lock is not required to be installed at the landlord’s expense… if at the time the tenant agrees to lease the dwelling: (1) at least one exterior door usable for normal entry into the dwelling has both a keyed dead bolt and a keyless bolting device… and (2) all other exterior doors have a keyless bolting device[.]”
“If a landlord does not comply with Section 92.153 or 92.156(a) regarding installation or rekeying of a security device, the tenant may: (1) install or rekey the security device as required by this subchapter and deduct the reasonable cost of material, labor, taxes, and extra keys from the tenant’s next rent payment, in accordance with Section 92.166.”
“[J]udgment [shall be] for: (A) a court order directing the landlord to comply and bring all dwellings owned by the landlord into compliance, if the tenant serving the written request is in possession of the dwelling; (B) the tenant’s actual damages; (C) punitive damages if the tenant suffers actual damages; (D) a civil penalty of one month’s rent plus $500; (E) court costs; and (F) attorney’s fees except in suits for recovery of property damages, personal injuries, or wrongful death.”
“(a) Except as otherwise provided by Subsection (e), a security device operated by a key, card, or combination shall be rekeyed by the landlord at the landlord’s expense not later than the seventh day after each tenant turnover date.
“(b) A landlord shall perform additional rekeying or change a security device at the tenant’s expense if requested by the tenant. A tenant may make an unlimited number of requests under this subsection.
“(c) The expense of rekeying security devices for purposes of the use or change of the landlord’s master key must be paid by the landlord.”
“At a tenant’s request made at any time, a landlord, at the tenant’s expense, shall install: (1) a keyed dead bolt on an exterior door if the door has: (A) a doorknob lock but not a keyed dead bolt; or (B) a keyless bolting device but not a keyed dead bolt or doorknob lock; and (2) a sliding door handle latch or sliding door security bar if the door is an exterior sliding glass door without a sliding door handle latch or sliding door security bar.”
“A landlord shall install at least one smoke alarm in each separate bedroom in a dwelling unit. In addition: (1) if the dwelling unit is designed to use a single room for dining, living, and sleeping, the smoke alarm must be located inside the room; (2) if multiple bedrooms are served by the same corridor, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the corridor in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms; and (3) if the dwelling unit has multiple levels, at least one smoke alarm must be located on each level.”
“(b) The landlord shall determine that the smoke alarm is in good working order at the beginning of the tenant’s possession by testing…
“(c) During the term of a lease or during a renewal or extension, the landlord has a duty to inspect and repair a smoke alarm, but only if the tenant gives the landlord notice of a malfunction or requests to the landlord that the smoke alarm be inspected or repaired. This duty does not exist with respect to damage or a malfunction caused by the tenant… except… if the tenant pays in advance the reasonable repair or replacement cost, including labor, materials, taxes, and overhead.
“(d) The landlord must comply with the tenant’s request for inspection or repair of a smoke alarm within a reasonable time, considering the availability of material, labor, and utilities.”
“If a landlord has installed a 1A10BC residential fire extinguisher as defined by the National Fire Protection Association or other non-rechargeable fire extinguisher in accordance with a local ordinance or other law, the landlord or the landlord’s agent shall inspect the fire extinguisher: (1) at the beginning of a tenant’s possession; and (2) within a reasonable time after receiving a written request by a tenant.”
“(a) The landlord shall repair or replace a fire extinguisher at the landlord’s expense if: (1) on inspection, the fire extinguisher is found: (A) not to be functioning; or (B) not to have the correct pressure indicated on the gauge or pressure indicator as recommended by the manufacturer of the fire extinguisher; or (2) a tenant has notified the landlord that the tenant has used the fire extinguisher for a legitimate purpose.
“(b) If the tenant or the tenant’s invited guest removes, misuses, damages, or otherwise disables a fire extinguisher… the landlord is required to repair or replace the fire extinguisher within a reasonable time if the tenant pays in advance the reasonable repair or replacement cost, including labor, materials, taxes, and overhead.”
“(b) A landlord is liable to a tenant as provided by this subchapter if: (1) the tenant has given the landlord notice to repair or remedy… (2) the condition materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant; (3) the tenant has given the landlord a subsequent written notice… after a reasonable time… [or] has given the notice under Subdivision (1) by sending that notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, by registered mail, or by another form of mail that allows tracking of delivery… (4) the landlord has had a reasonable time to repair or remedy the condition after the landlord received the tenant’s notice…
“(d) …in determining whether a period of time is a reasonable time to repair or remedy a condition, there is a rebuttable presumption that seven days is a reasonable time.”
“If the requirements of Subsection (d) of this section are met, a tenant may: (1) have the condition repaired or remedied immediately following the tenant’s notice of intent to repair if the condition involves sewage or flooding… [or] cessation of potable water … [and] the landlord has failed to repair or remedy the condition within three days following the tenant’s delivery of notice of intent to repair; (3) have the condition repaired or remedied if the condition involves inadequate heat or cooled air… [when] the landlord has failed to repair the condition within three days after delivery of the tenant’s notice of intent to repair; or (4) have the condition repaired or remedied if the condition… [affects] the physical health or safety of the ordinary tenant … [and] the landlord has failed to repair or remedy the condition within seven days after delivery of the tenant’s notice of intent to repair.”
“Except as provided by Subsections (b) and (c), a landlord must comply with a tenant’s request for rekeying, changing, installing, repairing, or replacing a security device … within a reasonable time. A reasonable time for purposes of this subsection is presumed to be not later than the seventh day after the date the request is received by the landlord.”
“(c) A reasonable time for purposes of Subsections (a) and (b) is presumed to be not later than 72 hours after the time of receipt of the tenant’s request and any required advance payment if at the time of making the request the tenant informed the landlord that: (1) an unauthorized entry occurred or was attempted in the tenant’s dwelling; (2) an unauthorized entry occurred or was attempted in another unit in the multiunit complex in which the tenant’s dwelling is located during the two months preceding the date of the request; or (3) a crime of personal violence occurred in the multiunit complex in which the tenant’s dwelling is located during the two months preceding the date of the request.”
“[A] tenant to whom a landlord is liable under Subsection (b) of this section may: (1) terminate the lease; (2) have the condition repaired or remedied according to Section 92.0561 [repair and deduct]; (3) deduct from the tenant’s rent, without necessity of judicial action, the cost of the repair or remedy according to Section 92.0561; and (4) obtain judicial remedies according to Section 92.0563.”
“A tenant’s judicial remedies under Section 92.056 shall include: (1) an order directing the landlord to take reasonable action to repair or remedy the condition; (2) an order reducing the tenant’s rent, from the date of the first repair notice, in proportion to the reduced rental value resulting from the condition until the condition is repaired or remedied; (3) a judgment against the landlord for a civil penalty of one month’s rent plus $500; (4) a judgment against the landlord for the amount of the tenant’s actual damages; and (5) court costs and attorney’s fees, excluding any attorney’s fees for a cause of action for damages relating to a personal injury.”