If you are renting or looking to rent a property in Texas, you will probably have to sign the lease agreement. But what is this document all about, and how do you get it?
The Texas lease agreement is a legally binding contract drafted to protect the rights and define the obligations of the landlord (lessor) and the tenant (lessee). The contractual parties are free to include any provision in their lease agreement that is not prohibited by federal and state laws.
Before the lease agreement drafting process even starts, the landlord usually requires the tenant to submit a rental application. This application contains all the relevant information about the tenant, including their credit score and references from previous leases.
After the landlord reviews the rental application, they invite the tenant to start the negotiations and lease agreement drafting.
Texas Lease Agreement Required Disclosures
Federal and Texas state laws provide a few mandatory disclosures that must be included in every lease agreement in Texas, namely:
Lead-based paint disclosure. The landlord must disclose the information about the lead-based paint hazard at the leased property and include it in the lease agreement. This disclosure is mandatory for any property built before 1978. (Section 1018 of Title X)
Manager and owner disclosure. The lease agreement must contain the names and addresses of all the persons who are the holders of the record title (owners) and the persons or companies in charge of the property management. (§ 92.201)
Towing and parking rules disclosure. The landlord must inform the tenant about the towing and parking rules at the leased property. The notification included in the lease agreement must be titled "Parking" or "Parking Rules" and be signed by the tenant. (§ 92.0131)
Tenant remedies. The tenant must be informed about the remedies available in case the landlord fails to make the repairs at the property within 7 days after the repairs are requested. Namely, the disclosure should inform the tenant of their right to terminate the lease agreement or make the repairs and deduct the cost from the next month’s rent. (§ 92.056)
Special canceling conditions disclosure. Every Texas lease agreement must contain the following statement: “Tenants may have special statutory rights to terminate the lease early in certain situations involving family violence or a military deployment or transfer.” (§ 92.016)
Texas Lease Agreement Optional Disclosures
Additionally, the landlord and the tenant can include a few extra disclosures in their lease agreement to prevent any disputes or liabilities, such as:
Bed bug disclosure. If there is a history of bed bug infestation at the property, the landlord should include this disclosure in the lease agreement. It will inform the tenant of the previous bed bug infestation history and provide guidelines on how the tenant should act in case a new bed bug infestation appears.
Move-in checklist. This checklist should contain all the items and furnishings at the leased property and an overall description of its condition. It should mention any damages that were present before the tenant moved in. This will simplify the move-out process and prevent any disputes about the damages.
Consequences of Non-Disclosure
According to federal law, the landlord can be fined up to $19,507 for not disclosing the lead-based paint hazard in the lease agreement. (24 CFR § 30.65)
Additionally, the tenant can file a civil lawsuit against the landlord for any damages caused by the health and safety hazards that were not properly disclosed in the lease agreement.
Texas Lease Agreement Security Deposits
Security Deposit Maximum
There is no limit on the security deposit amount in Texas. Therefore, the landlord and the tenant should determine a reasonable security deposit and insert it in the lease agreement.
Security Deposit Return
The landlord must return the security deposit within 30 days after the tenant surrenders the leased property. (§ 92.103)
Any due rent and damages outside of regular wear and tear can be compensated from the security deposit. In that case, the landlord must make an itemized list of all deductions and send it to the tenant. (§ 92.104)
When is Rent Due in Texas? (Grace Period)
The due date for the rent payment is provided in the lease agreement.
The Texas Statutes provide a 2-day grace period for the rent payment. That means that within 2 days of the rent due date, the landlord cannot charge the late fee to the tenant, nor can they initiate the eviction process. (§ 92.019)
Texas Rent Late Fees
If the landlord is renting fewer than five units, the late fee is limited to 12% of the monthly rent.
In cases where the landlord rents five or more units, the late fee cannot be higher than 10% of the monthly rent amount. (§ 92.019)
Texas NSF Checks
If the tenant uses a bad check to pay for the rent, the landlord can charge a processing fee to the tenant of up to $30. (Business and Commerce Code § 3.506)
Texas Landlord’s Right to Enter
Except in cases of an emergency, the landlord must give reasonable notice to the tenant before accessing the property. However, the law doesn’t further define reasonable notice. In practice, the 24-hour advance notice is, in most cases, considered reasonable.
Texas Lease Agreement FAQ
Yes, the Texas lease agreement is considered a legally binding contract.
Once the landlord and the tenant both sign the lease agreement, it is considered fully valid and legally binding.
The Texas lease agreement should have the following structure:
Names and addresses of the contractual parties
Details about the leased property
Duration of the lease
Rent amount, due date, and late fees
Security deposit amount
Mandatory clauses provided by federal and state law
Rights and duties of contractual parties
Rules about the lease agreement termination
Date and place of signing the lease agreement
Signatures of the landlord and the tenant
The best way to get a professional and customizable lease agreement for a property in Texas is to download one of the many lease agreement templates available on our website.
This way, you will be sure your lease agreement is in line with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
After completing the lease agreement, you should inspect the leased property.
By inspecting it, you ensure there are no repairs or cleaning needed before the move-in. The inspection should be done by both the landlord and the tenant. If everything is in order, they should both sign the move-in form.
Finally, the tenant should pay the first month’s rent and security deposit, and the landlord shall enable the tenant to access and use the leased property.