Breaking of a Commercial Lease in Texas

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Under Texas law, both landlords and tenants can break a commercial property lease in 30 days or less without penalty. Chapters 91 and 93 of the Texas Property Code (TPC) establish basic laws governing the breaking of a commercial lease, including time frames, remedies, the rights of both parties and the refunding of security deposit monies. Landlords in Texas can sue tenants who break a commercial lease improperly, while landlords who break a lease improperly face stiff fines, liens and lawsuits.

Time Frame

To break a commercial lease that lasts a month or longer, either the landlord or the tenant must provide the other with 30 days' written notice of his intent to break the rental agreement. The tenancy agreement will end 30 days after either the landlord or tenant receives notice or on a day outlined in the termination notice. For leases shorter than 30 days, either the landlord or tenant must provide the other with notice equal to the rental pay period, according to Chapter 91.001 of the Texas Property Code (TPC).

Tenant Rights

In Texas, commercial tenants do not have to vacate a property until a landlord obtains a court order to evict them, regardless of who breaks the lease. If a Texas tenant breaks his commercial lease agreement by not paying his rent or violating terms, his landlord cannot lock him out of the leased property or remove doors, windows, locks or hatchways to convince him to leave the property, or the landlord will pay to the commercial tenant actual damages or $500, court costs and attorney’s fees, according to 93.002 TPC. A tenant can also break his lease if the commercial property has significant defects or safety issues, according to the Blake Law Firm of Austin.

Landlord Rights

Landlords can break a commercial lease in Texas if the tenant uses the property for activities considered publicly indecent and criminal, such as prostitution, or sublets the property out in violation of the rental agreement. If a tenant abandons the property, the landlord no longer has to abide by the lease terms, according to Section 93.002(d) TPC. Landlords can also set additional rules in a commercial lease agreement that allow them to break a lease early.

Read More: Landlord Rights of Entry in Texas

Security Deposit

A landlord must return a commercial tenant’s security deposit not later than 60 days after the tenant vacates the property and provides notice of his new address to his former landlord. Landlords can deduct from a tenant’s security deposit monies for property damage but cannot keep any portion of a security deposit for normal wear and tear. Tenants in Texas will forfeit their security deposit to their landlord if they do not provide proper notice of lease termination or abandon the property, according to Section 93.006(c)(1) TPC.