A residential lease agreement in Austin is a binding document outlining the terms and conditions of a rental property. Once signed by both parties (landlord and tenant), the tenant will make periodic payments in exchange for living on the property.
Residential Lease Agreement Requirements in Austin
Austin has no city-specific residential lease agreement requirements or disclosures. As such, landlords and tenants in Austin follow Texas requirements for residential lease agreements.
Landlord-Tenant Rights and Regulations in Austin
The City of Austin outlines a few important laws and regulations regarding landlord-tenant rights. Landlords should be aware of the following:
Tenant Notification and Relocation Ordinance
Austin passed an ordinance requiring landlords to provide tenants with 120 days’ written notice if the owner applied for a permit to either demolish or renovate the property. They must also provide eligible tenants with both a relocation fee and relocation assistance. This applies to buildings with 5 or more occupied units.
Tenant Right to Organize
This ordinance states that tenants have a right to create or participate in tenant organizations. It also states that landlords are prohibited from interfering with a tenant’s right to exercise this freedom.
Optional Lease Agreement Disclosures and Addendums in Austin
While not mandatory, landlords can add specific disclosures and addendums to their leases. This helps outline the responsibilities of the tenant and can prevent future liability issues.
Austin is known for being one of the most pet-friendly cities in the U.S. As such, landlords may want to address the building’s pet policies. This disclosure should include whether or not pets are allowed on the property, the tenant’s responsibility to cover any pet-related damages, and any additional pet fees or restrictions.
Medical Marijuana Use Disclosure
Medical marijuana use is legal in Austin—which is why it’s important to disclose if it will be permitted on the property. In Texas, landlords can restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only. It’s also important to clarify if there are designated smoking areas on the premises.
Since Texas is listed among the top states for asbestos exposure, landlords should include a disclosure stating if asbestos is present on the property. If asbestos is present, tenants should take precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers.
Summary of Required Lease Disclosures for the State of Texas
- Landlord’s Name and Address – The landlord must include their name and mailing address on the lease. This informs tenants of where to send any future legal notices or demands.
- Parking Rules – Texas landlords who enforce parking rules must provide a copy of the rules in the rental agreement.
- Late Fee – In Texas, rent is considered late after 2 days. Landlords must outline late fees in the rental agreement in order for them to be enforceable. Late fees may include an initial fee and a daily fee for each day the tenant’s rent is unpaid.
- Emergency Phone Number – Texas requires landlords to provide a 24-hour emergency phone number that can be used to report emergencies within the building. Management should include this information in the lease and post it outside of their office.
- Right to Repair and Deduct – Texas landlords must provide documents that express, in clear language, the tenant’s right to repair and deduct.
- Lead-Based Paint – Federal law states that any home built before 1978 must disclose the risks associated with lead-based paint.
- Flooding – As of January 2022, the State of Texas requires landlords to disclose flood risk information for a rental property.