You can save and edit the form before you buy--just create a Nolo. It's easy, free, and there's no obligation to buy anything. Your email was sent! We seem to be experiencing technical difficulties. Please try again later. To preview your document, click here. It states the amount of the security deposit and explains how the law allows you to use it for damage, necessary cleaning, or unpaid rent.
To set clear expectations, the lease explains your legal right to enter the unit, and the responsibilities of both tenant and landlord for keeping it safe and maintained. You can also include other terms: Finally, you can make legally required disclosures about environmental hazards or other issues. To prepare your lease or rental agreement, just follow the step-by-step instructions, which clearly explain each clause and show you how to fill in required information.
If you have chosen to make a lease, you'll see that the "Term" clause ends with an informative statement regarding a tenant's right to terminate the lease and move if the tenant is the victim of sexual assault or abuse on the premises. A tenant who is the victim of such abuse may move, after providing the landlord with the proper documentation, without responsibility for future rent.
But landlords are entitled to back rent, if any exists at the time the tenant moves. By law, however, you may not collect back rent unless your lease includes the aforementioned informative statement.
Who Should Complete the Rental Application?
Code Section For more information on Texas law, see the Texas Attorney General's explanation of Tenant Rights and the resources noted on that page. How do I establish a legal occupancy policy for this rental?
In order to avoid overcrowding, Texas law limits the number of people who may reside in the rental. Landlords may allow up to three adults per bedroom a bedroom is a room intended for sleeping, and excludes a kitchen, dining room, bathroom, living room, utility room, closet, or storage area; and an adult is someone 18 years old or older. These rules concern the maximum number of residents you may allow. But can you set an occupancy policy that provides for fewer occupants per bedroom?
Texas Rental Application Form
You may adopt a policy of two persons per bedroom, but you may need to allow more occupants if the application of federal or state fair housing law would so require -- for example, if your bedrooms are unusually large and would accommodate more residents. Be certain that you do not apply an occupancy policy in a way that discriminates against families with children.
And be realistic -- the presence of a newborn or infant usually will not create overcrowding.
Finally, you must allow an adult to occupy a dwelling that already has a maximum number of residents if that person is a victim of domestic violence, but for one month only. Your rental document advises multiple tenants that each tenant will be responsible for paying rent and abiding by all the terms of the agreement.
If you're renting to a single tenant now, it puts this tenant on notice that tenants who join the lease later will also be subject to this rule. The rule means that you can legally seek the entire rent from any one of the tenants should the others skip out or be unable to pay. It also gives you the right to evict all of the tenants even if just one has broken the terms of the lease.
By law in Texas, all notice periods are 30 days unless landlords and tenants agree to something else in writing. Most landlords choose a day period, finding that this gives both parties the flexibility they need while also giving each other a reasonable amount of warning. If you choose different notice periods, be careful not to specify a short notice period from the tenant and a long one for the landlord -- a court may not uphold it. Late fees can be a powerful motivator for on-time rent payments.
Texas Tenant Advisor
But they must not be excessive, or a thinly disguised profit center. Texas law allows you to choose an initial fee and a subsequent daily fee. You could write your policy like this: This clause makes it clear that the tenant may not make alterations and repairs without your consent.
It also covers locks and other security devices. The "except as provided by law" language in subsection a refers to the fact that in certain situations, tenants have a narrowly defined right to alter or repair the premises, regardless of what's in the rental agreement. Examples include:.
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This clause explains that the tenant who chooses not to move in take possession after signing the lease must still pay rent and satisfy other conditions of the agreement. By law in Texas, if the tenant has already paid you a security deposit, you may not retain it if you or the tenant have procured an acceptable replacement who moves in on or before the lease begins. If you secure the replacement, you may retain and deduct from the deposit a sum equal to your actual expenses in finding a replacement, including a reasonable amount for your time.
The clause also protects you if you're unable, for reasons beyond your control, to turn over possession after having signed the agreement -- for example, if a fire spreads from next door and destroys the premises, or if former tenants refuse to move out.
The new tenant is entitled to consider the lease terminated, but your financial liability to the new tenant will be limited to the return of any prepaid rent and security deposit the "sums previously paid". Your rental document requires both landlord and tenant to refrain from violating laws and causing disturbances, and to maintain the tenant's right to "quiet enjoyment. Your promise to give the tenant "quiet enjoyment" means that you will preserve the ability of the tenant to use and enjoy the rented premises.
Examples include not allowing garbage to pile up, dealing with a rodent infestation, and controlling a neighboring tenant on your property whose constant loud music makes it impossible for other tenants to sleep. This clause also forbids tenants from interfering with other tenants' or nearby residents' ability to reasonably enjoy their homes. For instance, a tenant who hosts loud, late parties has interfered with others' quiet enjoyment. Serious and repeated violations of the covenant of quiet enjoyment on the part of the landlord entitle the tenant to break the lease and move out.
Such violations on the part of the tenant allow the landlord to terminate the tenancy. With some exceptions, all landlords must complete the federally required Lead Paint and Lead-Paint Hazards Disclosure form and give it to prospective tenants. Your lease includes a clause in which landlords who are not exempt from this requirement state that they have complied with the rule exemptions are explained in the Help sections of the clause.
If other tenants in your building are disturbing you, you should complain to the landlord. Of course, you may not disturb other tenants either. Except under certain circumstances and subject to certain conditions, a landlord may not interrupt utilities to a tenant unless the interruption results from bona fide repairs, construction, or an emergency.
See Tex. Code Ann. You have a right to demand that the landlord repair any condition that materially affects your physical health or safety. Tenants can go to justice court without an attorney to obtain a repair order. Under certain conditions, you and the landlord may have a written agreement that you will make needed repairs. The landlord must also provide smoke detectors. Pursuant to the Texas Property Code Chapter 92, Subchapter F, you may not waive that provision, and you may not disconnect or disable the smoke detector. Although there are some specific exceptions, under the Texas Property Code Chapter 92, Subchapter D, a dwelling must be equipped with security devices such as window latches, keyed dead bolts on exterior doors, sliding door pin locks and sliding door handle latches or sliding door security bars, and door viewers.
These devices must be installed at the landlord's expense. If such devices are missing or are defective, you have the right to request their installation or repair. If the landlord won't make repairs needed to protect your health, safety, or security, and you follow the procedures required by law, you may be entitled to:. Under Texas law, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against you for complaining in good faith about necessary repairs for a period of six months from the date you made such a complaint.
Of course, you can always be evicted if you fail to pay your rent on time, threaten the safety of the landlord, or intentionally damage the property. You do not have a right to withhold rent because the landlord fails to make repairs when the condition needing repair does not materially affect your physical health or safety.
If you try this method, the landlord may file suit against you. Recovering Your Deposit.
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Most landlords require you to pay a security deposit to cover any repairs needed when you move out or to cover your failure to pay the last month's rent. By law, landlords cannot refuse to return the deposit without a valid reason. Deductions for damages. Under Texas law, you must give the landlord a forwarding address in order to receive your returned security deposit.
The landlord must return your deposit — less any amount deducted for damages — within 30 days. If the landlord withholds part or all of your deposit, they must give you an itemized list of deductions with a description of the damages. Normal wear and tear. The landlord may not charge you for normal wear and tear on the premises and may only charge for actual abnormal damage. For example, if the carpet simply becomes more worn because you and your guests walked on it for a year, the landlord may not charge you for a new carpet.
If your water bed leaks and the carpet becomes mildewed as a result, you may be charged. Advance notice requirements. You should check your rental agreement to see if it requires you to give the landlord advance notice that you are moving. Many leases require a day notice as a condition of returning your deposit.
If you give your landlord your new address in writing and you do not receive your deposit or an explanation within 30 days of your departure, contact the landlord. If you cannot resolve the problem satisfactorily, you may wish to consult an attorney.