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