Your lease or rental agreement should spell out your landlord’s key rent rules, including:
- the amount of rent (there are no limits to how much a landlord can charge in Texas since there are no communities with rent control in the state)
- where rent is due (such as by mail to the landlord’s business address)
- when rent is due (including what happens if the rent due date falls on a weekend date or holiday)
- how rent should be paid (usually check, money order, cash, and/or credit card)
- the amount of notice landlords must provide to increase rent
- the amount of any extra fee if your rent check bounces, and
- the consequences of paying rent late, including late fees and termination of the tenancy.
State laws in Texas cover several of these rent-related issues, including limits on late fees, the amount of notice a landlord must provide to increase rent under a month-to-month tenancy, and how much time a tenant has to pay rent or move before a landlord can file for eviction.
Texas Rules on Late Fees
If you don’t pay rent when it is due, the landlord may begin charging you a late fee. Under Texas law, the late fee provision must be included in a written lease and cannot be imposed until the rent remains unpaid one full day after the date rent is due. The fee is valid only if it is a reasonable estimate of uncertain damages to the landlord that are incapable of precise calculation. The landlord may charge an initial fee and a daily fee for each day the rent is late.
Amount of Notice Texas Landlords Must Give Tenants to Increase Rent
Texas does not have a state statute on the amount of notice the landlord must provide tenants in order to increase the rent or change other terms of a month-to-month rental agreement. Unless your rental agreement specifies otherwise, the landlord must typically provide the same amount of notice to change the rent or another term of the tenancy as state law requires the landlord to provide when ending the tenancy—in this case, one month. The landlord and tenant may agree in writing to different notice periods, or none at all. Keep in mind that if you have a long-term lease, the landlord may not increase the rent until the lease ends and a new tenancy begins—unless the lease itself provides for an increase.
Rent Increases as Retaliation or Discrimination
Texas landlords may not raise the rent in a discriminatory manner—for example, only for members of a certain race. Also, Texas landlords may not use a rent increase in retaliation against you for exercising a legal right—for example, in response to your legitimate complaint to a local housing agency about a broken heater.
Texas State Laws on Termination for Nonpayment of Rent
States set specific rules and procedures for ending a tenancy when a tenant has not paid the rent. Texas landlords must give a tenant who has not paid the rent at least three days’ notice to move (unless the lease specifies a shorter or a longer time).
Texas Guide to Tenant Rights
For an overview of tenant rights when it comes to paying rent under Texas landlord-tenant law, see http://texastenant.org/repairs.html.
Texas State Laws on Late Fees, Termination for Nonpayment of Rent, and Other Rent-Related Issues
For state rent rules and procedures on issues such as raising rent, see Tex. Prop. Code Ann. §§ 92.019 and 91.001.
For Texas laws on termination for nonpayment of rent, see Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 24.005.
See the Laws and Legal Research section of Nolo for advice on finding and reading statutes and court decisions.