When you decide to become a landlord in Texas, you have to perform research into what responsibilities are involved. Aside from an acquaintance with standard laws and regulations, there are other small aspects you may have be aware of.
Upon the signing of the lease, both tenants and landlords become entitled to certain specific rights. Before you become a full-time landlord, you should take a look at what is and isn’t allowed on the part of landlords in the state of Texas.
You May Set Your Own Security Deposit
According to the State of Texas, there is no limit on how much you may charge for a security deposit. It’s your prerogative as the landlord to set the amount; however, the standard practice is to make it equal to the monthly rental price.
You have the legal obligation to send the security deposit to the forwarding address within 30 days of the tenant’s departure from the premises, less any costs for minor repairs attributable to damage or regular wear and tear.
You May Not Discriminate Against Applicants
According to the Federal Fair Housing Act, every applicant and tenant has the right to rent an apartment, apply for and receive a mortgage, purchase a home, or obtain renters insurance free from discrimination based on an array of factors.
These include such items as race, color, religion, gender, disability, and several others. Cities and counties elsewhere may have additional laws to protect certain groups.
It’s critical to have a complete understanding of these laws and regulations to avoid any potential legal difficulties down the road.
You May Terminate a Lease Early
Given the circumstances, landlords in the state of Texas may terminate a lease early. It’s a more affordable means of accomplishing an eviction, as long as the tenant cooperates.
The same standard reasons apply to early termination of a lease as to an eviction. However, there are other bases, according to Texas law, that would allow a landlord to terminate early.
If the tenant has been convicted of public indecency and has exhausted all appeals, for instance, that’s an extenuating circumstance for the overall safety of the other tenants. In such a case, the landlord may end the lease early without legal repercussions.
You Must Not Allow a Noisy Environment
Renters are entitled to enjoy peace and quiet in and around their rental unit. This term is legally known as “quiet enjoyment.”
Of course there might be standard outside noise from such sources as vehicular traffic, nearby train lines, or local business establishments. Excess noise from other tenants or throughout your building, however, is not permitted.
This also applies to how you as a landlord interact with your tenants. If someone calls you with a noise complaint, it’s your responsibility to address the issue.
It doesn’t give you the right to show up at the person’s apartment unannounced and commence an argument or defend yourself. It also doesn’t give the tenant any right to interfere with other tenants’ right to quiet enjoyment.
This is why, as a landlord, it’s your duty to maintain the peace.
You May Evict If Necessary
Landlords gain the right to evict a tenant if the latter is in breach of the lease. Such violations as being overly noisy, failing to pay the rent, or causing excessive property damage may qualify as justifications for a landlord to attempt an eviction.
It’s a rather lengthy and costly process, so if you decide to pursue it, you’ll want to be fully prepared. Working with a property management company in Texas would be the safest way to go about it.
Such operations have the professional and legal resources to handle this type of stressful situation for you without further complications.
You May Not Disregard Maintenance Requests
In the state of Texas, landlords have up to seven days to address any maintenance requests. If certain repairs ought to be made which relate to the tenant’s access to heat, sewage, running water, or flooding, then this is regarded as an uninhabitable living arrangement and must be addressed as an emergency that requires immediate action from the landlord.
In circumstances when the tenant appears to be responsible for the damage, the landlord is not obligated to fix the problem based upon the lease agreement. It will be the responsibility of the tenant to effect any necessary repairs.
You May Raise the Rent
The rental market is changing steadily. If you’re treating your property as an investment opportunity, you’ll want to stay on top of the local market and keep track of any fluctuations in rental prices.
With that being said, Texas is a “no rent control” state. This means landlords are not held to a limit on how much or how often they might choose to increase their rents. This must be outside of the current rental agreement.
For instance, you cannot raise the rent in the middle of the tenant’s lease. You have to inform them no less than 30 days before the lease is up if you plan to enact an increase in the rental price.
You May Not Neglect an Uninhabitable Environment
If a tenant’s safety and well-being are at risk due to unhealthy living conditions, the landlord must address the issues immediately. The repair cannot exceed $10,000 and must fall under the realm of normal wear and tear.
The tenant is within his or her rights to take you to court for compensation if you fail to address the issue(s) within a reasonable time frame.
As we’ve attempted to make clear, a range of factors must be considered when you become a landlord. Every state, city, and even county will have its own set of applicable rules and regulations, and you’d be wise to familiarize yourself with them, depending on where your rental property is located.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do this on your own. Green Residential is a property management company in the Greater Houston area that provides services for landlords so they can focus on the more important parts of their business.
If you’re ready to get started, give Green Residential a call today and speak with one of our friendly and professional team members.