What Can a Landlord Deduct From a Security Deposit?

Source of information in this article


In Texas, understanding what can be legally deducted from a security deposit is critical for both landlords and tenants. This article outlines the guidelines as provided in the Texas Property Code.

Legislation Overview

Texas Property Code Section 92.104

This section specifies the conditions under which a landlord can retain part of a security deposit. Legitimate deductions include damages and lease breaches for which the tenant is legally responsible, excluding normal wear and tear.

Defining Normal Wear and Tear

Defined in Section 92.001(4), "normal wear and tear" refers to deterioration that occurs due to the intended use of the dwelling. It excludes damages arising from negligence, carelessness, accidents, or abuse by the tenant or their guests.

Itemized List of Deductions

According to Section 92.104(c), landlords are required to provide an itemized list of all deductions, only if the tenant has cleared all rent dues and there is no disagreement over the rent.

Understanding Normal Wear and Tear

The Austin Tenants Council clarifies that normal wear and tear refers to deterioration from regular daily use such as nail holes caused by hanging pictures. Damage due to negligence or accidents is not covered under this.

Refunds of Security Deposits

Obligations to Refund

Outlined in Sections 92.101 to 92.110, landlords are obliged to refund the security deposit within 30 days of the premises being vacated, provided the tenant shares their forwarding address for the refund.

Legal Actions for Refund

Even without a forwarding address, tenants retain the right to a refund and can take legal actions for the same.

Remedies for Bad Faith Deductions

Tenants have the right to sue the landlord for wrongful withholding of the security deposit. Section 92.109 discusses this in detail, highlighting the possibilities of seeking thrice the amount wrongfully held, among other fees.

Legal Provisions for Security Deposits

Resources for Understanding the Law

Monthly Fee in Lieu of Security Deposit

A law effective from September 1, 2021, permits landlords to offer a monthly fee option instead of a security deposit. It mandates landlords to notify tenants of their rights regarding the same in writing.

Legal Reference


Understanding the intricacies of the laws governing security deposits in Texas is vital for landlords to manage deductions appropriately and for tenants to safeguard their rights. Referencing the correct sections of the Texas Property Code can guide in navigating the legal aspects involved.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful