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.
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
- Section 92.104 of the Texas Property Code
- Section 92.103 of the Texas Property Code
- Section 92.109 of the Texas Property Code
Resources for Understanding the Law
- Austin Tenants Council – Security Deposits
- Nolo's Legal Encyclopedia – Texas Security Deposit Limits and Deadlines
- Austin Tenants Council – Filing a Claim in Small Claims Court
- Texas Landlord's Guide to Security Deposit Disputes in Justice Court
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.
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.