Answers to Common Questions Regarding Landlords and Tenants


Question: When do I have to make repairs to the house?  What type of repairs do I have to make?

Answer: The landlord (that’s you!), has a duty to make repairs that affect the tenant’s physical health and safety. Examples of these include insect infestations, no hot water, bad wiring, and leaks. There are three reasons why you would not have a duty to repair: (1) the repair is not necessary for the health and safety of the tenant, (2) the damage occurred when the tenant used the property in an abnormal way, or (3) the lease terms provide that the tenant waived a duty for repairs other than those required. If a waiver is included in the lease, it must be clearly stated and underlined or in bold. Another issue to remember is that if you have a procedure for requesting repairs; make sure that the tenant follows them.


Question: Under what circumstances can I keep the Security Deposit?                  

Answer: The security deposit can be used to cover damage to the rental property (such as broken windows or holes in the wall), cleaning, delinquent rent or utility costs, and any missing property you furnished for the house. Make sure you provide the tenant with an itemized list of deductions from the security deposit within 30 days of the move-out date.


Question: What can I do if the Tenant damages the house?

Answer: When a tenant damages the property (and it is not covered in the lease), then they must pay for the repair. This damage must be beyond normal wear and tear. Normal wear and tear means deterioration that results from the intended use of the property. This includes breakage from age, but not deterioration from carelessness, accident, or abuse. The best process to handle the repair is for you to schedule and complete the repair, and then bill the tenant. If the tenant does not pay, then you can take them to court for the cost or choose to take it out of the security deposit.


Question: What information should I obtain about every Tenant?

Answer: A tenant should provide basic information like current address and contact information. Any other information depends on what you wish to have. You could ask about criminal history, rental history, current income, and credit history.


Question: What do I do if my Tenant breaks the lease?

Answer: When your tenant breaks the lease, they owe you any remaining rent. Under Texas law, you have a duty to mitigate damages (or lessen them). This means, you should try to find a new tenant. If the tenant doesn’t pay the rent owed or find someone to take over the lease (if allowed by the lease), then you can sue the tenant. In addition, the tenant will still be on the hook for any damages to the property.


Question: What can I do with property my Tenant has left in the house after the lease is terminated or after Tenant has moved?

Answer: When a tenant leaves property, you are allowed to remove anything left and abandoned. This property must be stored and the tenant notified. If the tenant doesn’t claim the property within 60 days, then the property can be thrown away.

– The Business Team
Scott | Josh | Jeremy

The Allen Firm, PC
181 S. Graham Street | Stephenville, Texas 76401
Ph: 254.965.3185 | Fax: 254.965.6539


The Allen Firm, PC is composed of a team of attorneys located in Stephenville, Texas. Our mission is to improve people’s lives by providing reliable and practical help with their legal matters while operating under our values of honoring people, operating with integrity and striving for excellence. We offer help in forming businesses or companies, estate planning, lawsuits, real estate, probate, oil and gas, collections, agriculture, bankruptcy, family law, and accident and injuries.


*This article has been written and provided for educational purposes in an attempt to provide the reader with a general understanding of the particular topic and area of law covered in this Article.  It is not to be relied upon for any purpose.  The reader acknowledges the underlying analysis and legal conclusions referenced in this Article may be inaccurate by the changing of the law or by a controlling court opinion to the contrary.  No attorney-client relationship exists until an appropriate engagement letter has been signed. Contact our Firm to discuss how the contents of this Article may apply to your specific situation.