Texas Late Fees, Termination for Nonpayment of Rent, and Other Rent Rules

Find out Texas rent rules, including limits on late fees, notice requirements for rent increases, and notice required for terminating a tenancy for nonpayment of rent.

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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 can't be charged 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:

  • not more than 12% of the rent for properties with four or fewer units
  • not more than 10% of the rent for properties with more than four units, or
  • it can be more than 10 or 12% of the rent if it's related to the landlord's damages from the late payment, such as the expenses, costs, or overhead associated with the collection of the payment.

The landlord may charge an initial fee and a daily fee for each day the rent is late.

Landlords who violate these rules could end up owing the tenant $100, three times the amount of the late fee that was wrongfully collected, and the tenant's attorneys' fees.

(Tex. Prop. Code § 92.019 (2023).)

Texas Rules on Cash Rental Payments

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 § 92.011 (2023).)

Amount of Notice Texas Landlords Must Give Tenants to Increase Rent

For month-to-month tenancies, 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 the 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, at least one month. (Tex. Prop. Code § 91.001 (2023).) The landlord and tenant may agree in writing to different notice periods, or none at all.

If you have a long-term lease (such as a lease for a year), 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. (Tex. Prop. Code § 92.331 (2023).)

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). (Tex. Prop. Code § 24.005 (2023).)

Texas Guide to Tenant Rights

Texas Housers maintains a Texas Tenant Advisor website containing detailed information on Texas tenants' rights.

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