Laws on Texas Apartment Rentals

Published: 05th December 2011
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Laws on Texas Apartment Rentals

Apartment housing is an area of consumer spending vital to the consumer interest. The need for suitable housing is a challenge that all consumers face, yet often the supply and quality of property rentals is nothing to brag about. It’s important that apartment renters know their tenant rights to be able to enforce them if need be. Before leasing, you should understand the laws and regulations for apartment home rentals. There are some general apartment living rules you should know as well.

Texas Apartment Deposits

There are three types of deposits renter’s face in regards to leasing their new apartment home.

• Renter’s Security Deposits
• Application Fee
• Pet Deposit

Security Deposit: Like many other states, Texas has laws governing rental security deposits paid by renters to property management. Leasing staff will not collect more than one month’s rent as a security deposit. When resident’s leases are up, the management company may only deduct for unpaid rent and for damages beyond reasonable wear and tear. Within 30 days after the renters lease term has expired, security deposits must be given back, noting deductions.

Application Fee: An application deposit is money prospective renters pay in advance when submitting a TAA rental application. The fee may be put towards renter’s security deposit once application is approved. If the prospective renters application is not approved due to bad rental history or criminal background issues, the fee is usually refundable, but not always.

Pet Deposit: Renters with pets have to pay a deposit in advance to cover any damages caused by the animal during tenancy at a Texas apartment home. The amount of the pet deposit depends on weight breed restrictions. Only a portion of the pet deposit is refundable.

Laws and Regulations on Apartments in Texas

When signing an apartment lease in Texas, renters are agreeing to pay a certain amount of money on a monthly basis for the entirety of the lease term. This is an easy process, but there are some things you should keep in mind and understand clearly, such as postponed possession of rental property, habitability of apartment unit, tenant repairs and discrimination (Fair Housing Act).

Late Possession of Apartment Unit

Many times renters experience difficulty in taking possession of their assigned apartment home due to the leasing staff’s inability to deliver the unit. Reasons for this type of situation may be caused by the previous tenant not moving out, or the property management team may find that it will take more time than expected to get the unit in proper condition for move-in. This can cost the renter additional money in the form of hotel expenses, storage rentals and longer commutes to work until the relocation can be made. In Texas, renters so wronged have the right to sue in an attempt to collect damages. Property management will reimburse renters in full.

Habitability of Apartment Home

The habitability of the Texas apartment rental unit must meet some legally prescribed minimum standards, such as running water, functional toilets, air conditioning/heat, and a working stove.

Tenant Repairs and Interior Decor

Texas apartment tenants may legally make minor repairs themselves and deduct those cost from their next rent payment. This is subject to certain restrictions, such as giving sufficient prior written notification to leasing staff. Renters may also paint and hang pictures on the wall in their apartment. The unit should be put back to its original state prior to move out. Otherwise, any damage repairs and labor on behalf of property management will be deducted from the security deposit.

Fair Housing Act

Discrimination is acting on the basis of bias or intentional prejudice, which is illegal. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, handicap, familial status, or national origin in the rental of apartment housing.

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