Your lease or rental agreement should spell out your landlord’s key rent rules, including:
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.
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 two full days after the date rent is due. The fee must also be reasonable. “Reasonable” is defined by statute as:
The landlord may charge an initial fee and a daily fee for each day the rent is late. (Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 92.019.)
Texas landlords must accept a tenant’s timely cash rental payment unless the lease requires payment in another manner. Landlords who receive cash rental payments must provide the tenant with a written receipt and enter the payment date and amount in a record maintained by the landlord. (Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 92.011.)
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.
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. (Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 92.331.)
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). (Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 24.005.)