Texas is one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S., with an increasing number of people leaving the east and west coasts to enjoy a taste of southern living. With this influx of residents, many Texans are seeing increases in their rental rates. This is good news for property owners who are ready to scale profits. However, property owners need to be careful not to cross any legal boundaries when increasing rent in Texas.
General principles for renting in Texas
Texas generally has favorable landlord-tenant laws as they are hands-off in most aspects. For Texas rental applications, landlords may application fees to potential tenants, but the fee must be reasonable and not exceed the actual cost of screening the tenant. The landlord must provide a receipt for the fee and disclose the screening criteria used. Texans can enter into oral or written lease agreements that become valid once the payment is accepted. Once the lease is in effect, both landlords and tenants have their rights protected, such as the right to timely repairs and payments.
Does Texas have rent control?
Texas landlords may charge whatever they wish at signing a new lease or lease renewal, because Texas state law preempts local authorities from imposing rent control. This makes Texas a sought-after place for property investment. Moreover, with the increase in population in the last five years, Texas rental rates are steadily rising at a competitive rate. And, with the freedom for landlords to change rental rates at the end of each lease term, they can easily keep up with demand in their area.
Texas Laws Regarding Rent Increase, Notices, and Fees
Texas is unique in that landlords do not need to provide notice before raising the rent. However, it is typical in the state to give at least 30 days before increasing the rental rate on month-to-month or yearly leases.
Texans are also not limited to how often they increase rent or the rate for late fees and bounce check fees. This provides a greater incentive for tenants to pay rent promptly to avoid high late fees. However, it is important to list these fees in the lease agreement to avoid litigation for claims of unlawful retaliation.
While it may seem like Texas landlords have complete freedom, they earn it at a price. Texas landlords are required to maintain a habitable unit and respond to maintenance requests within seven days, much shorter than many states' requirements. In addition, if the maintenance request is not answered, the tenant may make the repair themselves and deduct the expenses from the rent.
Cities with rent control in Texas
Texas prohibits rent control at the state and local level, but there are certain exceptions for imposing rent control in a state of emergency. For example, if a city or municipality is experiencing a housing crisis, they may declare a state of disaster and impose rent control for a limited period of time. However, the governor must approve the ordinance before being put into effect.
Average rent In Texas
Despite its population boom, Texas only has the 17th highest average rent in the country at around $800 for a two-bedroom home or apartment. Average rates range between $615 for a studio apartment and $1,388 for a house or four-bedroom apartment. This is on par with most states across the U.S. but offers a competitive landscape for landlords who want to capitalize on high-quality rental properties in a growing market.
Rent smart With RentSpree
RentSpree helps you navigate the ever-changing landscape of residential and multifamily renting with a menu of tools for success. From our rental price calculator to marketing and Texas tenant screening, we make property management for rentals in the Lone Star State easy.
Get started with RentSpree today to learn more about our all-in-one rental platform and make the right choices for your rental pricing.