Property ManagementCode Requirements

Rental property owners in Texas must adhere to various safety and security requirements outlined in the Property Code. In particular, Chapter 92 Subchapter D and F detail express requirements for ensuring the safety and well-being of tenants in rental homes. However, it’s crucial to note that this blog post is not an exhaustive list of all the requirements, and landlords should consult with legal experts to ensure complete compliance.

Subchapter D: Security Requirements

  • Window Latches: All exterior windows in the rental property must have functional window latches to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Exterior Door Locks: Landlords are required to provide the means to lock all exterior doors securely. Special requirements apply to glass doors and french doors to enhance security.
  • Keyless Deadbolts and Door Viewers: Keyless deadbolts and door viewers, also known as peep holes, should be installed on all exterior doors. 
  • Rekeying: After each tenant turnover, landlords must rekey the locks within seven days to ensure that the previous tenant does not have access to the property.

Subchapter F: Smoke Alarm Requirements

  • Bedroom Smoke Alarms: A smoke alarm should be installed in every bedroom of the rental property to provide early detection and warning in case of a fire.
  • Great Room Smoke Alarm: In applicable properties, a smoke alarm must be installed in the great room or living area to cover common gathering spaces.
  • Common Hallway Smoke Alarms: Common hallways leading to bedrooms should also be equipped with smoke alarms to ensure that everyone in the house is alerted in the event of a fire.

Tenant Remedies for Non-Compliance

It’s important for tenants to be aware of their rights and potential remedies if a landlord fails to bring the rental property up to code. Some of these remedies include:

  • Repair and Deduct: Tenants have the right to bring the property up to code themselves and deduct the expenses from their rent payments to the landlord. 
  • Lease Termination: With proper notice to the landlord, tenants may terminate the lease agreement if the property does not meet the required safety standards.
  • Court Order: Tenants can seek legal action to compel the landlord to bring the property up to code through a court order.
  • Other Legal Remedies: Depending on the specific circumstances, tenants may have other legal remedies available to them under Texas law.

Ensuring that a rental property is compliant with Texas safety and security requirements is fundamentally important. Our property management company strongly recommends that all property owners bring their rental units up to code before leasing them. Fortunately, there are services available that specialize in code compliance and can help landlords achieve this without breaking the bank.

It’s essential to acknowledge that not all landlords across the state are aware of these requirements or choose to disregard them. However, the most significant risk in non-compliance is not the damages expressly mentioned in the Texas Property Code but the potential for tragedies like fires or crimes resulting in serious injury or death. From a liability standpoint, landlords who do not comply with code requirements may face stronger negligence claims. Therefore, it’s in the best interest of both landlords and tenants to prioritize safety and security in rental properties to ensure a safer living environment for all.

 

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