Texas Residential Lease Agreement

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The Texas residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) is a written contract outlining the terms and conditions of renting a property for both the landlord and tenant. Once endorsed by the landlord and tenant, the tenant will make periodic payments (“rent”) in exchange for use of the property.

Texas Lease Disclosures & Addendums

The following disclosures or addendums are either required for some or all residential lease agreements in Texas.

There are also a number of optional disclosures and addendums that help reduce future conflicts and/or legal liability in Texas.

Landlord’s Name & Address

Applicable to all rental units in Texas.

So that future legal notices and demands sent by the tenant can be properly delivered to the landlord, the name and address of either the landlord or the person authorized to act on the landlord’s behalf must be disclosed up-front (commonly done so in the lease agreement) .

Parking Rules Disclosure

Applicable to multi-unit complexes with parking rules & restrictions.

Texas landlords who are enforcing parking rules for multi-unit complexes must provide a copy of the rules in or alongside the lease agreement. They must either sign the lease to agree to the terms or explicitly sign the attachment to acknowledge the notice, which should be represented in capitalized, underlined, and bold-printed “Parking” or “Parking Rules” .

This parking agreement can be used as an attachment, alongside the following disclosure in the lease:

PARKING RULES. Attached to this lease agreement are the terms for the parking policy, which must be completed and signed by Tenant and Landlord.

Late Fee Disclosure

Applicable to any unit charging late fees.

Late fees in Texas must be outlined in the lease agreement to be enforceable after a 2-day grace period. These fees can be imposed as an initial fee and daily fee for late payments, as long as the overall charges are still within reasonable guidelines .

Fees may not exceed 12% of the overdue balance if there are 4 or fewer dwelling units in the building, or 10% if there are 5 or more units in the same building unless reasonable damages exceeding these sums can be demonstrated by the landlord .

The following is an example of a late fee section:

LATE FEE. If rent is not paid by the due date outlined in this lease, a late fee of $__ or __% will be assessed to the balance due after a 2-day grace period. A daily fee of $__ will be charged for payments after the grace period expires, not to exceed State regulations.

Emergency Phone Number Disclosure

Applicable to any property with an on-site management office.

Texas requires property management companies and landlords to provide a 24-hour emergency phone number that can be used to report emergencies within the building. It should be included in the lease agreement as well as posted in a conspicuous location outside of the residing office .

EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBER. In the case of an emergency, Landlord or a property manager can be reached at ___-___-____ to report a problem.

Right to Repairs Disclosure

Applicable to all rental units.

In Texas, each lease agreement must contain the state statues for the right of a tenant to request repairs or remedies of conditions. They must be provided in bold or underlined text and clearly visible in the lease .

LANDLORD LIABILITY AND TENANT REMEDIES; NOTICE AND TIME FOR REPAIR. (a) A landlord’s liability under this section is subject to Section 92.052(b) regarding conditions that are caused by a tenant and Section 92.054 regarding conditions that are insured casualties.

(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 a condition by giving that notice to the person to whom or to the place where the tenant’s rent is normally paid;

(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 to repair or remedy the condition after a reasonable time to repair or remedy the condition following the notice given under Subdivision (1) or the tenant 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 from the United States Postal Service or a private delivery service;

(4) the landlord has had a reasonable time to repair or remedy the condition after the landlord received the tenant’s notice under Subdivision (1) and, if applicable, the tenant’s subsequent notice under Subdivision (3);

(5) the landlord has not made a diligent effort to repair or remedy the condition after the landlord received the tenant’s notice under Subdivision (1) and, if applicable, the tenant’s notice under Subdivision (3); and

(6) the tenant was not delinquent in the payment of rent at the time any notice required by this subsection was given.

(c) For purposes of Subsection (b)(4) or (5), a landlord is considered to have received the tenant’s notice when the landlord or the landlord’s agent or employee has actually received the notice or when the United States Postal Service has attempted to deliver the notice to the landlord.

(d) For purposes of Subsection (b)(3) or (4), 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. To rebut that presumption, the date on which the landlord received the tenant’s notice, the severity and nature of the condition, and the reasonable availability of materials and labor and of utilities from a utility company must be considered.

(e) Except as provided in Subsection (f), 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;

(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.

(f) A tenant who elects to terminate the lease under Subsection (e) is:

(1) entitled to a pro rata refund of rent from the date of termination or the date the tenant moves out, whichever is later;

(2) entitled to deduct the tenant’s security deposit from the tenant’s rent without necessity of lawsuit or obtain a refund of the tenant’s security deposit according to law; and

(3) not entitled to the other repair and deduct remedies under Section 92.0561 or the judicial remedies under Subdivisions (1) and (2) of Subsection (a) of Section 92.0563.

Lead Based Paint Disclosure

Applicable to any rental units built prior to 1978.

It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints. This law requires landlords in Texas to:

  • Fill out and attach this lead based paint disclosure form to the lease agreement.
  • Provide the tenant with an EPA-approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint.
  • Provide additional records or reports about the presence or hazards of any known lead based paint in the unit. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.

Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)

The following lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by Texas law in residential lease agreements, but either help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.

  • Medical Marijuana Use – it is recommended to state where medical marijuana use is and isn’t allowed on the property so that expectations are clear. Texas law allows landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or control where users can smoke so as to not interfere with other tenants.
  • Move-in Checklist – it is recommended to provide an itemized list of damages to the property before move-in to make sure tenants are responsible for any serious damages that occur during the lease term. This can be attached to the lease agreement or signed as a separate document.
  • Late and Returned Check Fees – it is recommended that landlords disclose in the lease any late fees or returned (bounced) check fees that they intend to charge. Texas does not limit how high these fees can be, but they should be considered reasonable (often no more than 10% of rent) and reflect the actual expenses incurred by the landlord as a result of a late payment. They must also be charged only after the agreed upon due date for rent, dictated in the lease.
  • Shared Utilities Arrangements – for rental units with shared utilities, it is recommended to disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated, so that tenants have a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.
  • Bed Bug Disclosure – for rental units with a history of infestation, it is recommended to establish an understanding of the current status of bed bugs at the property in case of a future infestation and to provide information on the protocol for handling one.
  • Asbestos Disclosure – for rental units in buildings built prior to 1981 (which are considered at-risk for asbestos), it is recommended to establish an understanding of any prior knowledge on the existence of asbestos on the property.
  • Mold Disclosure – it is recommended to disclose the current mold status of a property in the lease to protect against future liability of mold damages due to tenant negligence during the lease term.