A residential lease agreement in Houston 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 Houston
Houston has no city-specific residential lease agreement requirements or disclosures. As such, landlords and tenants in Houston follow Texas requirements for lease agreements.
Landlord-Tenant Rights and Regulations in Houston
Houston abides by State and Federal law when it comes to landlord-tenant rights and fair housing practices.
Optional Lease Agreement Disclosures and Addendums in Houston
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.
While the city’s crime rates have dropped significantly since 2022, Houston is still listed as having one of the highest crime rates in Texas. Landlords may want to include a crime-free addendum stating that engaging in criminal activity, including drug-related activity, is prohibited on or near the property.
Houston is one of the most humid cities in the U.S. With an annual average of 89% humidity, this city is no stranger to frequent mold issues. If landlords choose not to include a mold disclosure in their lease agreement, they may be liable for future mold-related damage.
Medical Marijuana Use Disclosure
Medical marijuana use is legal in Houston—which is why it’s important to disclose if it will be permitted on the property. Texas law allows landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only. Clarify if there are designated smoking areas on the premises.
Pest Control Disclosure
Due to Houston’s high cockroach population, landlords may want to include a pest control disclosure. This should highlight tenants’ responsibilities related to pest prevention—including reporting any signs of pests to management as soon as possible.
Texas is listed among the top states for asbestos exposure. Due to this statistic, 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.