In the state of Texas, both tenants and landlords have legal rights and responsibilities under the law. Understanding the legal requirements inherent in the landlord-tenant relationship can ensure the most positive experience for both parties. If troubles do arise, however, consulting with a professional Houston real estate law firm can provide added support for property owners rights and tenants rights alike in protecting their legal and financial rights.
The Rights of Tenants in Texas
Under the provisions of Chapter 92 of the Texas Property Code, tenants are entitled to certain rights when renting or leasing property in the Lone Star State. Some of the most important rights guaranteed to tenants include the following:
- Tenants have the right to demand repairs for conditions that negatively affect health or safety or render the dwelling unfit for human habitation. Additionally, broken locks, defective window latches and malfunctioning outdoor door handles must typically be repaired by the property manager or at his or her expense. Texas law also requires that hot water must be provided to tenants in the state. Failure to do so may be grounds for refund of paid rent, court-ordered reductions of monthly rent payments or penalties of $500 to be paid to the affected tenant.
- Property managers are also required to ensure the presence of a working smoke alarm in every apartment or rental home at the time tenants take possession of these properties.
- Landlords cannot discriminate against applicants with disabilities, families with children and other protected classes. Communities that primarily serve tenants over the age of 55, however, may refuse to rent to families with children under the provisions of Texas law.
- Tenants also have the right to enjoy their rental residence in peace and quiet and without constant disturbances due to noise and without unnecessary interruptions from members of the property management team.
- If a security deposit was collected as part of the lease agreement, the provisions of the Texas Security Deposit Law requires that landlords either return the deposit within 30 days after the departure of the tenant or provide a detailed written accounting of the damages caused that prompted the landlord to retain the deposit. Failure to abide by these guidelines can result in the property manager being charged three times the amount of the deposit to compensate you for your losses.
Retaining the services of a Houston consumer law professional can help tenants protect their legal rights and pursue their claims against bad landlords and property managers in the real estate marketplace.
The Rights of Texas Property Managers
In general, the rights of the landlord are outlined in the lease agreement and may vary significantly from one apartment complex to another. Property managers generally have the right to enter rental properties at reasonable hours to perform repairs, evaluate the condition of the property or to show an apartment that will soon be available for rent. Landlords may also have the right to evict tenants for failure to pay rent on time. Some leases include provisions that allow landlords to change the locks on entry doors if rent is not paid by a certain time. Consulting with an attorney is advisable before beginning eviction proceedings or changing the locks on rental properties.
The Houston civil litigation lawyers at Lambert & Jakob can provide expert advice for landlords dealing with rental issues in the state of Texas. Our knowledgeable staff specializes in assisting companies and individuals with complex real estate and business issues. We serve the counties of Fort Bend, Harris and Waller and provide expert legal counsel to the entire Houston metropolitan area. Call us today at 713-640-5700 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced legal team. We look forward to the opportunity to represent you in and out of court.