As a Houston landlord, you are bound by a number of federal, state and local laws that pertain to your rental property. We are all subject to the Texas Property Code. There is an entire chapter specifically dedicated to landlord tenant laws. It covers what those laws are and what you can get in trouble for. Basically it serves as our bible for properties. If you don’t know this section of the property code, you can get yourself in a lot of trouble. Here are some of the things that are really big for us:
We are the only state with a specific law mandating extra locks on the property if you have a tenant living in it. This is not a voluntary thing. You must put certain locks on certain types of doors, and if you don’t know how to do that, you need to contact a professional who does.
Smoke alarms and detectors have to be in certain places. This is different from typical residential homes that you might live in yourself. Tenant occupied properties need extra alarms in specific locations.
Another security feature that’s required is a door viewer or a peephole on all the exterior doors of rental properties. You might not have this feature at your own home, but you need them at your rental property.
There are fair housing laws locally, statewide and nationally. Following all of them is critical. You need to know why you can turn someone down and why you can’t. You need to know whether you can say no pets and under what conditions you can charge a pet deposit.
Security deposits are the most litigated issue in the landlord tenant relationship. You must know how to handle a security deposit, whether you can keep it or spend it and how long after a tenant moves out must you return or account for it. Staying out of trouble need to be a priority when you’re dealing with security deposits.
Do you know what constitutes an emergency? For example, a leaky toilet might need to be fixed at midnight and it might not. It depends on a few things, and you need to know the requirements.
These are serious issues if you break the laws associated with them. A professional property management can help you with these things. We know how to follow the rules. If you have any questions,contact us at Terra Residential Services, and we will help you out.