Being a landlord is not just about collecting rents and ensuring the maintenance of properties. It also entails adherence to a host of legal requirements. One such pivotal requirement for Texas landlords is the obligation to disclose specific information about rental property ownership and management. As outlined in Section 92.201 of the Texas Property code, there are several components that a landlord must be aware of and comply with.
What Landlords Must Disclose:
Name and Address Details: Upon request from a tenant or any government body, landlords are required to disclose:
- The name and address of the record title holder of the rental property. This refers to the person or entity that legally owns the property, as per the deed records in the county clerk’s office.
- The name and address of any management company, particularly if an off-site entity is chiefly responsible for managing the dwelling.
Timeliness of Disclosure: The disclosure must be made:
- In writing to the tenant within seven days after the landlord receives the request. Alternatively, this information can be continually posted in a conspicuous place in the dwelling or the office of the on-site manager or included in the tenant’s lease.
- For government officials or employees, the same timeline of seven days applies.
Corrections: If there’s any change in the disclosed information, such as a name or address, landlords must correct this within seven days after being notified of the discrepancy by the tenant.
Consequences for Non-disclosure:
A landlord’s failure to comply with these requirements can lead to significant consequences. Violation of this law may entitle the tenant to:
- A court order mandating the landlord to disclose the required details.
- A judgment for one month’s rent plus $100.
- Coverage of the tenant’s actual costs in discovering the required information.
- Reimbursement for court costs and attorney’s fees.
- The right to unilaterally terminate the lease without undergoing a court proceeding.
Ensuring Accurate Disclosure:
It’s important to note that deeds – which provide specifics about property ownership – are kept in the real property records at the county clerk in the county where the property is located. Therefore, as a best practice, landlords should pull the deed to ensure that they are disclosing the correct information. This is especially relevant since many rental properties are owned by entities like LLCs or corporations.
Why is this Disclosure Important?
The essence of Section 92.201 is to provide tenants and governmental bodies with a streamlined procedure for obtaining the correct information for notices. Furthermore, the