Texas has a number of rules and provisions in its civil code regulating residential landlord and tenant agreements. These regulations provide rights to the tenant and landlord, responsibilities for both and legal remedies if a problem needs to be solved in court. Chapter 92 of the property code contains most of the statutes for residential lease agreements.
Tenant rights are established before, during and after the tenancy. A Texas tenant has the right to enjoy his property in peace and quiet. Noise disturbances are handled in slightly different fashions depending on whether the disturbance comes from another tenant under the same landlord or a neighbor.
Texas does not require landlords to provide tenants advance notice before entering the premises. Another Texas tenant right is the right to repairs. Texas landlords are typically responsible for major repairs and defects that interfere with the ability of the tenant to reside in the home. Written or oral notification is required to be given to the landlord regarding the needed repairs. Texas Statute Section 92.056 of the property code defines a reasonable wait for repairs to be seven days in most cases. After that point, a tenant has six choices. He can terminate the lease, sue for damages, repair the defect and deduct rent, repair the defect without deduction, report to local government or do nothing.
A Texas landlord has the right to enter his property for several specific reasons, primarily for making requested repairs and maintenance inspections. Other reasons include emergencies and showing the apartment near the end of a tenant's tenancy. A landlord also has the right to establish rules for the rental unit, building or community. The rules must be applied to all tenants and cannot be based on discriminatory grounds.
A Texas tenant has responsibilities for his rental unit. Any damage caused by the tenant or his guests is the tenant's responsibility to repair, not the landlord's. Additional repair responsibilities are established in the lease at the landlord's discretion. A tenant must also not interfere with the quiet enjoyment of his neighbors. Any other lease covenants must be followed by the tenant to avoid a lease termination. The tenant must also inform the landlord of any repairs needed to keep the unit in a livable condition.
Texas landlords have several responsibilities to the tenants. All doors and windows must have some sort of security device installed, such as a lock. The unit must comply with local housing and health codes and repairs must be conducted in a timely manner. The landlord must also provide smoke detectors in all units.
Lease Termination and Eviction
A landlord can terminate a lease for several reasons. Nonpayment of rent is a common termination cause, as is a violation of a lease term. The other reason the landlord can terminate a lease is at the end of a tenancy. This is common in month-to-month leases, where a notice is sent prior to the end of the term. A tenant can also terminate a month-to-month lease. The only other reasons a tenant can terminate a lease is if the landlord does not make needed repairs, the house is uninhabitable or the tenant is called into active military duty.