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Property Management Basics: What is the Texas Property Code & How Does it Affect My Fort Worth Rental?

Derek DeGuire - Monday, May 14, 2018

Today, we are talking about the Texas Property Code, and specifically how it affects rental properties in the Fort Worth area. The Property Code is broken down into nine subchapters, and it covers every aspect of rental property management, including issues that can arise between landlords and tenants.

Occupancy

One thing the Property Code addresses is occupancy levels and limits. Three adults are permitted to live in the property, per the number of bedrooms. An adult is defined as someone who is 18 years of age or older. It also breaks down the criteria to establish what makes a bedroom.

Right to Vacate

You will find information about certain circumstances in which a tenant has the right to vacate before the end of the lease without any liability. Four examples, if there is a family violence issue or a military service requirement, the tenant is permitted to vacate.

Repairs

Timelines for when a landlord is required to make repairs are also provided. You’ll also find that a landlord doesn’t even have to acknowledge a repair request if the tenant is behind on rent.

Security Devices

Security devices are also covered by the Property Code. For example, security devices like a door viewer cannot be any higher than 48 inches from the floor or lower than 36 inches from the floor.

Disclosures

You must disclose ownership of the property and the contact information for your management company. The Property Code also requires that you tell tenants where to bring rental payments.

Smoke Alarms

The Property Code also tells us where smoke alarms have to be placed. You’ll need to have them in bedrooms, and accessible to living areas. There is also information about how they need to be placed in relation to the walls.

Utility Cutoffs

The Property Code prohibits utility cutoffs when the tenant is behind on rent. However, landlords are permitted to shut them off for repairs, construction or emergencies.

Retaliation

The Property Code even addresses retaliation. Landlords cannot retaliate against the tenant. If your tenant is constantly complaining or requesting repairs, you are not permitted to suddenly raise the rent because of the extra work you have to put in.

Deposits and Fees

You will also read information about rental application deposits versus fees. Deposits have to be refunded if the application is rejected.

The Texas Property Code must be the working handbook of all landlords. It lets everyone know what is required and it spells out the consequences and damages for anyone who does not comply. The Texas Property Code is your playbook. Study it, learn it and apply it. When you do that, you’ll reduce liability and improve tenant and landlord communication. That’s the whole purpose of Texas Property Code, Chapter 92.

If you have any questions about the Property Code, please contact us at DeGuire Properties.