The Texas rental agreements are legal contracts written between a landlord and a tenant who wishes to use a real property. These documents contain the terms both parties must comply with, including the amount and due date of regular compensatory payments (“rent”). All agreements are subject to the Texas landlord-tenant laws.
Texas Rental Agreement Types
Common Rental Agreements in Texas
- Texas Association of Realtors Residential Lease – this form, for use by members of the Texas Association of Realtors only, is used for leasing residential dwelling units. The form incorporates Texas state law citations and goes into great detail about automatic lease renewals, repair procedures, and tenant obligations.
- Texas Apartment Association Lease Agreement – this template, for use by members of the Texas Apartment Association (TAA) only, is heavily used by apartment complexes throughout Texas. It provides an extensive list of rules and procedures, including specifics that go as far as outlining conduct prohibited around community pools.
- Texas Real Estate Commission Seller’s Temporary Residential Lease – this template, for use by trained real estate licensees of the Texas Real Estate Commision (TREC) only, is used specifically for when a seller occupies the property for no more than 90 days after the closing. The contract is for residential purposes only and features the amount of daily rent payments owed to the landlord (excluding the day of closing and funding).
Texas Required Lease Disclosures
- Landlord’s Name & Address (required for all) – Landlords in Texas must provide their contact information or the contact information of an agent authorized to act on their behalf in the lease agreement for establishing correspondence for legal notices and other communication.
- Parking Rules Disclosure (required for some) – To be enforceable, Texas landlords who impose parking rules must provide a copy of the rules along with the lease agreement, and the tenant must sign the attachment titled “Parking” or “Parking Rules” in capitalized, underlined, and bold font.
- Late Fee Disclosure (required for some) – For late fees to be enforced in Texas, they must be included in the lease agreement, and they may not be charged until after a 2-day grace period from the rent’s due date nor exceed 12% for 4 or fewer units and 10% if there are 5 or more units.
- Emergency Phone Number Disclosure (required for some) – Texas landlords are required to provide an emergency phone number in the lease agreement that can be accessed 24-hours per day to report emergencies if the property has an on-site management office.
- Right to Repairs Disclosure (required for all) – To ensure habituality is maintained in the property, Texas lease agreements must include a specific disclosure on the right for tenants to request repairs and remedies in the rental unit, provided in bold or underlined text.
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure (required for some) – For any property built before 1978, a Texas residential lease agreement must contain a lead-based paint disclosure with an EPA informational pamphlet and notice of any hazards in the property to avoid landlord damages resulting from exposure.
To learn more about required disclosures in Texas, click here.
Texas Landlord Tenant Laws
- Warranty of Habitability – Texas requires landlords to make the rental units habitability by making sure a tenant has hot water and smoke detectors. Additionally, they are obligated to repair any condition that affects the tenant’s health or safety unless the tenant or the tenant’s guest(s) have caused the damage through abnormal use. Repairs must be made within 7 days of a filed request. Otherwise, an effected tenant may be empowered to perform a repair and deduct. Tenants may not withhold rent for habitability issues.
- Evictions – Texas landlords may evict tenants for a number of reasons including, but not limited to failure to pay rent, a violation of a leasing term, or committing an illegal act. Landlords must provide tenants with prior notice and the amount of notice depends on the type of eviction. As such, most evictions in Texas are completed in four to ten weeks.
- Security Deposits – Texas state law does not currently cap how much a landlord can charge as a security deposit. Despite this, the state does require any unused portion of a security deposit to be returned within 30 days of a tenant’s lease ending.
- Lease Termination – To break off a month-to-month lease in Texas, a tenant must supply at least 30 days of notice. However, to break off a fixed-term lease in Texas, a tenant must supply proof of one or more extenuating factors. These include active military duty, unit uninhabitability, landlord harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
- Rent Increases & Fees – Texas landlords who intend to raise their rent rates are not limited when it comes to the value of said increases. The state also does not require advance notice of these increases. This state does not even limit most service fees in value, mandating only that they be “reasonable.”
- Landlord Entry – Texas landlords must provide notice before entering an occupied unit. However, the precise amount is not standardized by law. So, any specific notice requirements and emergency entry policies must be established through a lease agreement.
- Settling Legal Disputes – The Texas small claims court system only accepts cases valued at less than $10,000. Also, these courts allow both parties to bring legal representation.
To learn more about landlord tenant laws in Texas, click here.