Texas Security Deposit
Texas Security Deposits

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Texas Security Deposits are covered under the Texas Property Code, §92.101 - §92.109, protecting the rights of renters regarding their security deposit.

Many tenants may not be aware of this law and therefore, do not receive a proper refund of their deposit. 

LIMIT: Texas landlords have 30 days after the tenant vacates the premises to refund the security deposit. 

If the tenant fulfills the lease contract, the security deposit is always refundable; a tenant can never waive their right to a refund of the security deposit. However, the landlord can keep part of the deposit if the lease states that a "redecorating fee" or a "make-ready fee" will be deducted from the deposit. If the landlord retains all or part of a security deposit, the landlord is required to give to the tenant a written description and itemized list of all deductions providing the tenant meets certain conditions.

 These conditions are:

1. Rent Owed: A landlord is not required to give the tenant a description and itemized list of deductions if the tenant owes rent when the tenant moves out and there is no controversy over the amount of rent owed. If the landlord claims the tenant owes rent and the tenant disputes the claim, the tenant should make a written request for the deposit which states the tenant’s position about the rent.

2. Forwarding Address. The landlord is not required to return a deposit until 30 days after the tenant moves out and only if the tenant gives the landlord the tenant's forwarding address in writing. However, the tenant does not forfeit the right to a refund of the security deposit or to receive a description of damages just because the tenant forgot to turn in a written forwarding address. Send the forwarding address certified mail, return receipt requested.

Preventative Steps to Take to Ensure a Deposit Return
A tenant must meet all of the above conditions to ensure a refund of the deposit, but meeting those conditions is not all the tenant should do. The chances of receiving return of the deposit will be increased if the following suggestions are also followed:

Move-in Inventory Inspection. When you move in your home or apartment, make a lsit and take photos f the apartment and any damage. Typically, you should do a walk through with the owner or manager prior to moving in. Get them to sign an acknowledgement of the damage and note what (if anything) will be done. This will help you when you move out.

Move-Out Notice.
A lease may require that the tenant give the landlord 30 days written notice prior to move-out in order to get the security deposit back. Texas Property Code says that advance notice of move-out can be a condition for return of the deposit if the requirement for advance notice is written into a lease and is underlined or in conspicuous bold print. Even if the lease does not require it, notify the landlord  prior to moving.

Move-out Inventory Inspection. When the tenant prepares to move, the apartment or home should be cleaned and the landlord asked to appear for a move out inspection. The tenant should fill out another inventory form, similar to the move-in inventory. Ideally, you should have a copy of the original move in form - for both your use and the landlord.


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