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Texas Residential Lease Agreement for Rental Properties
Leases are the cornerstone of a successful landlord-tenant relationship, providing a legal framework for both parties to enter a harmonious agreement.
Every Texas residential lease agreement—including its structure, nature, and contents—is regulated by Texas landlord tenant laws. For this reason, it’s imperative to understand the intricacies of the law before constructing a Texas lease.
This guide will walk you through the crucial components of a Texas lease agreement, ensuring you’re well-equipped to make informed decisions. And to make your journey easier, we’re offering a free rental agreement form Texas landlords can download!
A Texas lease agreement or Texas rental agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions governing the rental of a residential property within the state. This lease adheres to Texas’s landlord-tenant laws, providing a clear framework for both landlords and tenants to follow, thus fostering a secure and transparent rental environment.
The following components should be included in every Texas residential lease agreement. Keep in mind that these components primarily apply to residential leases; a Texas commercial lease agreement will necessarily have different requirements.
This section specifies the lease’s start and end dates, establishing the duration of the rental agreement.
Here, you’ll find details regarding the rent rate, due date, and the status of rent control (which could vary across Texas municipalities). Texas does not have any state-wide limits on rent increases. However, individual cities may have rent control laws specific to the municipality. Be sure you’re aware of these laws before creating your Texas lease agreement.
The penalties for missing rent payments should be clearly stated in each Texas lease agreement, as should any exceptions. In Texas, late fees must be “reasonable” – defined as no more than 12% of monthly rent for properties with four or fewer units and 10% of rent for properties with more than four units (Tex. Prop. Code § 92.019).
Additionally, tenants in Texas automatically get a two-day grace period for rent payments. This means landlords cannot charge a late fee until at least two days after the due date. If you want to enforce a longer grace period, you must include it in your Texas lease.
Texas lease laws do not set a maximum or limit for security deposit amounts. This means you can charge any reasonable amount that you see fit, as long as it is clearly stated in the Texas lease agreement. However, Texas law does require security deposits to be returned to tenants, minus any deductions for damages, within 30 days after the lease ends (Tex. Prop. Code § 92.103).
This section encompasses crucial required disclosures in Texas, which are information that must be disclosed to the tenant in the lease before they agree to rent the property. These required disclosures may be included as part of the Texas residential lease agreement, or they could be separate written notices.
In Texas, the required disclosures are:
- Lead-based paint – Landlords in all 50 states must disclose lead-based paint hazards in rental agreements for most properties built before 1978.
- Landlord/agent identity – Texas landlords must disclose the name and contact information of the property management company, on-premises manager, or any other authorized agents.
- Parking rules – If you own a multiunit complex with parking in Texas, you must give tenants copies of parking and vehicle towing policies, either in the Texas lease agreement, attached to it, or signed as a separate agreement. Texas landlords must give prior notice before changing their parking policies.
- Tenant’s remedies – Texas landlords must inform tenants of their right to request remedies if the landlord fails to make necessary repairs.
- Special conditions to cancel agreement – Texas landlords must inform tenants of their right to vacate and terminate the lease early in the case of family violence, sex offenses, stalking, military deployment/transfer, or death.
Landlord Right to Entry
In Texas, there are no specific laws governing when a landlord can enter a rental property. This means Texas landlords can set their own policies as for when entry is permissible. In general, landlords should provide at least 24 hours’ notice before entering for any non-emergency purpose. The landlord’s right of entry and notice that will be provided before entry should both be included in a Texas lease agreement.
Repairs & Maintenance
This section of the lease outlines how and when tenants should submit maintenance requests and clarifies the process for addressing necessary repairs. Texas landlords should check local laws to ensure that maintenance responsibilities are distributed between the landlord and tenant in compliance with the law.
Lease Termination/Renewal Procedures
This section details the procedures for early lease termination and breaking the lease, including eviction processes. The process for renewing and terminating the lease should be clearly stated, including the number of days’ notice tenants must provide for renewals or terminations.
Most states require landlords to provide a specific number of days’ notice before filing for eviction for a given reason. In Texas, landlords are free to choose their own notice periods, so long as these notices are included in the lease agreement. If no notice period is included in the lease, the default notice is three days’ notice to quit for most lease violations.
Any specific community rules or regulations, such as policies on smoking, guests, and pets, are listed in this section. Texas law requires landlords to clearly state all parking and towing policies in the rental agreement.
Joint and Severability Clause
This clause explains the legal consequences if one roommate fails to fulfill their obligations. It ensures that the entire lease isn’t invalidated due to one roommate’s breach. Include this clause in your Texas residential lease agreement if the unit will be occupied by multiple adults who are not members of the same family.
Both the landlord and tenant will sign the complete Texas residential lease agreement either on paper or electronically, ensuring a secure and convenient process.
Texas Lease Agreement Download
To make your leasing journey simpler, we offer a free, downloadable copy of a rental agreement form Texas landlords can use. This form is tailored to meet the specific requirements of Texas state law, making it a valuable tool for landlords and tenants.
Understanding the nuances of a Texas residential lease agreement is vital for a smooth and legal tenancy. We hope this guide has provided you with a clear understanding of the components of a Texas residential lease agreement. To get started on the right foot, download our free Texas lease template and ensure a transparent, lawful, and satisfying rental experience.