Texas Landlord and Tenant Law

1. Where can one go to get a copy of Texas landlord and tenant law?2. What resources are available at the Real Estate Center’s website?3. What is the difference between leasing and property management?
ScenarioClayton Booth is a real estate sales agent with one of the largest firms in town. Although he has done residential sales, he has more experience with leasing and property management. His broker asked him to form a team to handle the leasing and property management functions of the firm. The broker then asked Clayton to oversee the new team, which will be called the Westside Property Management Group.Clayton’s first task was to recruit some of the firm’s sales agents and broker associates to join the group. He was soon able to find six people excited to be a part of this new enterprise. Some of them had experience with leasing and property management, but a few did not. One of the newer agents asked what was the difference between leasing and property management. Weren’t they the same thing? Clayton explained that leasing is the solicitation of prospects to effect a leasing of the property. Property management involves only the management and oversight of the property..After some initial discussions with his team, Clayton believed that the first order of business was to make sure that everyone was well-versed in Texas landlord and tenant law. Clayton directed his team to the websites of the Texas Legislature and the Real Estate Center. At the former site, they could read the statutes about landlord and tenant law; at the latter, they were able to download Publication #866, “Landlords’ and Tenants’ Guide” and read chapters from the Property Code. Chapters from this resource also explained Texas landlord and tenant law, but it presented information in an easy to understand question-and-answer format.Once Clayton was confident everyone had a solid foundation in this area of the law, he then delved into a couple of thornier issues that could arise between landlords and tenants.One of the most disputed issues between residential landlords and tenants deals with the landlord’s duty to repair the property. Tenants often think that the landlord should repair everything; landlords think they should repair nothing. The truth, of course, is somewhere in between.
The team reviewed what the law said about this issue. Section 92.052 of the Property Code addressed it:The landlord must make a diligent effort to repair or remedy any condition when• the tenant has specified the condition in a notice to the person who collects rent or to the place where rent is paid (such notice should be in writing if required by the written lease),• the tenant is current in rent when the notice is given, and• the condition materially affects the health or safety of an ordinary tenant.Another often disputed issue between landlords and tenants is security deposits. Section 92.102 begins the section on this topic:The amount of the security deposit is negotiable between the parties, but the law is specific about the return of the deposit and about written explanations of deductions made from that deposit. The deposit and written explanation of any deductions must be sent to the tenant within 30 days after the tenant “surrenders the premises” (or 60 days if the property is commercial real estate).
Clayton’s team knew this, but then he asked them if they knew when the 30-day clock started ticking: the group was at a loss. So, Clayton had them go back to the statutes and Publication #866 to find the answer. They learned that a landlord is required to return a deposit within 30 days after three requirements are met:Tenant has given advance notice of intent to surrender the premises if such was required in the written lease in underlined or bold print.The tenant surrenders the premises (returns keys, garage door openers, etc.).The tenant has provided a forwarding address in writing (the duty to refund the deposit is waived until the address is provided).
1. What does Texas law say about a residential landlord’s duty to repair a rental property?2. What does Texas law say about a residential landlord’s duty to return a security deposit?3. Is landlord and tenant law in Texas the same for residential and commercial properties?

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