When is it legal to change the locks on your rental in Texas?

Texas statutes concerning residential leases can be difficult to figure out. But, if you think about it, it makes sense why there has to be so many specific regulations surrounding rental properties. Potential residents must have certain protections in place to ensure that they can remain for the full duration of their agreement. On the other side, property owners need to protect their assets, which they have rented out to complete strangers. The relationship between landlords and residents is a delicate one, and highly regulated.

As a landlord, make sure you aren’t running afoul of statutes concerning locks on your rental properties in Texas. If you change the locks at the wrong time, or fail to change them after a request, you could find yourself in legal trouble and pay costly fines or court fees.

Texas Lock Laws

Here are some pertinent statutes concerning locks on rental properties in Texas. NB: Keep in mind that this does not constitute legal advice, and always consult an attorney for a full understanding of the law.

  • You must change keyed locks at your expense upon a change of resident. You have up until 7 days after the new resident has moved in to change the locks.
  • Every exterior door must have a keyed lock of some kind, either a doorknob lock or a deadbolt. In addition, they must also have a keyless bolting device and a viewing hole or window on every exterior door.
  • A resident can request a change of locks at any time during the occupation at their own expense, and you have 7 days to complete the request. After special circumstances like a break-in or violent crime, the period is shortened to 3 days.
  • It is illegal to change the keyed locks without a resident’s agreement, unless it is during the first 7 days of their lease.

It is never a good idea to change the locks on the doors in order to try to force a resident out. Doing so can result in the termination of the lease, giving your tenant a chance to walk away without paying for the rest of the term. In addition, you could be sued for wrongful eviction among numerous other torts.

Dealing with troublesome residents and not sure what to do? Norniella Management Company can help you. We are a full-service property management company who can make sure your investment property is occupied, taken care of, and making you money with little hassle. Let us do the hard work of running a property for you. Call us today to learn more about our services at 888-979-5357.

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