Texas Landlord Retaliation Laws

Texas Landlord Retaliation Laws

Last Updated: August 11, 2023

Tenant Protected Actions
  • Repair Requests
  • Good-Faith Exercise of Rights Against Landlord
  • Good-Faith Complaints About Maintenance to Gov’t or Nonprofit
  • Activity Regarding a Tenant Organization
Landlord Retaliatory Actions
  • Raising Rent
  • Reducing Access / Services
  • Filing Eviction
  • Bad-Faith Interference With Tenant’s Rights
Penalties for Retaliation
  • Court Injunction
  • All Tenant’s Costs + Civil Penalty

When Is It Illegal for Landlords to Retaliate in Texas?

It’s illegal for Texas landlords to retaliate with raised rent, reduced services, eviction, or bad-faith interference with tenant rights, against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions in the past six months:

  • Maintenance requests.
  • Good-faith exercise of rights under the law or lease.
  • Good-faith complaints to relevant nonprofits or government agencies about code issues.
  • Participation in a tenant organization.

The law allows an exception when the landlord can prove a non-retaliatory, good-faith reason for the alleged retaliatory action. For example, a landlord who raises rent proportionately in response to a large increase in property tax is not retaliating, even if a tenant has recently complained about maintenance.

What Can Tenants Do in Response in Texas?

Texas tenants can respond to landlord retaliation with a civil lawsuit seeking costs including court and attorney fees (including things like moving costs), plus a civil penalty of one month’s rent plus $500. Tenants might also seek an injunction to compel repairs or other services.