Texas Security Deposit Law: 4 Things You Need to Know
The city of College Station, Texas, has the largest percentage of renters nationwide, with around 60% of its population living on rental properties.
Many other parts of Texas have similar demographics. If you’re among the many landlords who own or manage these properties, it’s essential to know what the law says about security deposits.
Keep reading to learn more about Texas security deposit law so you know what you’re allowed to do before and after a tenant moves.
Texas Security Deposit Laws Versus Local Ordinances
Before we jump into the laws themselves, it’s important to note that we’re only sharing information about state laws. There are county, city, and other local ordinances that may differ from these laws.
For this reason, you should always learn about the laws in the area where the property is before following any information here because it may not apply to your specific area.
Security Deposit Collection
At the state level, there is no limit to the amount you can collect as a security deposit, the amount you charge for rent is a good guideline.
Although you’re not required to provide documentation of this transaction, it’s a good idea to do so because it protects both parties by showing the deposit was paid and how much it was for.
Keeping Security Deposits
If there’s more damage than normal wear and tear on a property after a tenant moves out or the tenant breaches their lease, you have a right to withhold the security deposit.
When repairs are being made, you can only withhold the amount needed to return the property to its previous state. In some cases, you may also withhold a security deposit for cleaning or redecorating.
Sometimes, a tenant may attempt to avoid paying their last month’s rent, especially if they know you’re going to be keeping the security deposit. If this happens, you are entitled to three times the security deposit plus legal fees.
Returning Security Deposits
When you’ve been lucky enough to have a stellar tenant, then they have the right to receive the full amount of their security deposit back within 30 days as long as they’ve provided you with a forwarding address.
If they don’t give you a forwarding address, then you’re not required by law to make any effort to return the money to them.
However, if it’s found that you are wrongfully withholding a security deposit, you will be required to pay the tenant back three times what is owed and cover all of the associated legal fees.
When returning only part of the security deposit, be sure to include a list of the items being deducted so there are no questions about why part of the deposit is being withheld.
Need Help with Tenants?
Now you know more about Texas security deposit laws. As previously mentioned, be sure to always check with local laws as these can vary from state laws.
If you need help with a specific situation regarding tenants and need to take legal action against them, contact us today. We would be more than happy to help you get what you deserve.