This article delves into the intricacies of security deposit laws as outlined in the Texas Property Code. Landlords and tenants can refer to this knowledge base to understand the rules governing security deposits in Texas.
Security Deposit as per §92.102, Property Code
- Definition: A security deposit is any advance of money, other than a rental application deposit or an advance payment of rent, used primarily to secure performance under a dwelling lease agreed upon by a landlord and a tenant.
- Inclusion: Any other deposits made by the tenant to the landlord, barring the security deposit, will be considered part of the security deposit.
Requirements for Refund
- Notice: Tenants must provide a 30-day written notice of surrender for the landlord to be obliged to refund or account for the security deposit.
- Payment: The refund will be made payable to all named tenants in the lease.
Notices about Security Deposits
Legislation reference: §92.108, Property Code
- Rent: Last month's rent cannot be withheld on the grounds of the security deposit being a security for unpaid rent.
- Bad Faith Violations: Can result in liability up to thrice the withheld rent amount and the landlord's attorney fees.
- Surrender: Defined in paragraph 16 of the lease; the landlord is not obligated to return the deposit until the tenant provides a forwarding address post-surrender.
- Resource: Texas Legislature Website
Allowable Deductions The landlord may deduct reasonable charges from the security deposit for:
- Property damages excluding normal wear and tear.
- Cleaning, deodorizing, exterminating, and maintenance costs.
- Unpaid or accelerated rent and late charges.
- Utility charges including maintaining necessary utilities.
- Pet charges and replacing unreturned items such as keys and garage door openers.
- Removal of unauthorized fixtures and abandoned property.
- Legal proceedings costs against the tenant, including attorney’s fees and court costs.
- Costs incurred due to tenant making property inaccessible.
- Costs associated with unapproved alterations to the property.
- Costs to rekey security devices.
- (Refer to the original content for a detailed list)
Excess Deductions If deductions exceed the security deposit, the tenant must pay the excess within 10 days of receiving a written demand from the landlord.
(Source: Texas Association of Realtors Residential Lease Agreement & Texas Property Code)