Legal Rights of Texas Renters

By Eric Ervin
Texas law states renters have the right to safe and clean environments.

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Texas renters have rights that are afforded to them by state law. Texas renters can exercise these rights when facing discrimination, unsafe and unsanitary living conditions, disputes over security deposits and evictions. The Texas attorney general's office encourages renters to familiarize themselves with the laws that govern renter's rights.

Discrimination

According to the Texas Fair Housing Act, renters can live anywhere they choose as long as they are not former convicted felons. Texas renters cannot be denied housing because of their race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin. Texas law protects renters against discrimination and carries with it fines for those who violate the law. Renters who suspect that they have been denied housing based on discrimination should file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division.

Property

Texas renters have the right to live in a quiet environment. A quiet environment means that renters should not be bothered with excessive and unbearable noise, threats of eviction without proper cause and an interruption in service of utilities. Renters must be notified in advance about repairs or construction projects that will result in having water, electricity, phone service or other utilities shut off.

The property must be equipped with the following security and safety features: window latches, keyed deadbolt locks and a smoke detector. If the features are not installed, renters have the right to ask for the them at no charge.

Living Conditions

A Texas renter does not have to endure unhealthy and unsafe living conditions. The property that a Texas renter occupies should be free from any infestations of roaches, rats, termites and other pests. There should not be any leaks in the roof or gas leaks. The property should also have hot running water, working plumbing and up-to-date wiring. Texas renters have the right to ask a landlord to make repairs to the property or be able to move out without penalty. According to the Texas attorney general, in some cases renters can make the necessary repairs and the deduct the cost from the rent.

Security Deposits

Texas law states that renters have the right to a refund of their security deposit after their lease has ended and they move out of a property. The landlord must return the security deposit to the former renter within 30 days after they move out. Renters can sue a landlord for the security deposit if it's not returned. Renters can also dispute and sue if the amount of the security deposit that's refunded is not accurate because of deductions the landlord has made for repairs and cleanup fees.

Eviction

Texas law states that landlords must notify renters of the intent to evict at least three days in advance. Texas renters can ask a local justice of the peace or judge for a trail within six days after the landlord has filed for immediate eviction. Renters have the right to remain at the property until a judge has ordered an eviction. At no time can a landlord enter the property to remove the tenant's belongings. Renters can argue to remain at the property on the grounds that proper procedures to evict were not made, rent was paid on time every month, repairs were constantly needed and other areas of the lease were violated.

About the Author

Eric Ervin has more than 10 years of experience as a print journalist, having worked at newspapers and magazines in Alabama, Texas and Georgia. His work has been published in the "Houston Press," "Houston Chronicle" and "Mobile Press Register." Ervin received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of South Alabama.

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