State Issues

Numerous laws are enacted each legislative session at the state level. Please see the new laws below, passed by the Texas Legislature during the 84th Legislative Session. This information has been provided by the Texas Apartment Association (TAA).

A full list of new laws that impact the apartment industry can be found here.

Open Carry

  • HB 910 by Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman)- Allows qualified Texans to obtain a license to carry a handgun will also allow them to “open carry” handguns in holsters. You, as a rental property owner, can decide whether or not your tenant can participate in “open carry” or “concealed carry” and if so, designate areas on property. However, with this responsibility, you will need to follow specific guidelines and provide notice in accordance with the Texas Law.

Status: Effective 1/1/16

Here are some resources that may assist you in crafting policies for your properties:

Prohibiting Source of Income Ordinances

  • SB 267 by Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock)/Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Kingswood) - Relating to the regulation by a municipality or county of the rental or leasing of housing accommodations. This TAA bill prevents municipalities and counties from passing or enforcing ordinances or regulations that require renting to persons if the person receives federal housing assistance, such as Section 8. The bill, however, contains an exception for housing assistance to veterans and also allows ordinances that prohibit discrimination against other sources of income. The bill also clearly allows incentives and other voluntary measures aimed at increasing participation in federal housing assistance programs.

Status: Effective 9/1/15

Landlord/Tenant Bills

  • HB 1334 by Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches)/Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio) - Relating to the appeal of a residential eviction suit. TAA affirmative legislation that helps ensure that if a surety bond is used to appeal an eviction that the bond is valid and not used merely as an attempt to delay a legitimate eviction.

Status: Effective 1/1/16

  • SB 1367 by Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) - Relating to certain obligations of and limitations on landlords. Omnibus landlord/tenant bill addressing issues such as notice given to residents following the sale of a property, penalties for improper landlord liens and prohibiting the ability to waive a resident’s right to a jury trial. A committee substitute for the bill adds language sought by TAA to clarify the bill.

Status: Effective 1/1/16

  • HB 1510 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston)/Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) - Relating to liability of persons who lease dwellings to persons with criminal records. TAA affirmative legislation, which would give rental property owners who choose to rent to non-violent ex-offenders relief from liability.

Status: Effective 1/1/16

  • HB 2404 by Rep. Rodney Anderson (R-Irving) - Relating to certain security devices for residential tenancies. Amends Texas Property Code to allow landlords to deduct rekey costs from a tenant who breaches a lease if lease authorizes it; removes “pin lock” requirement for sliding doors and replaces with handle latch.

Status: Effective 1/1/16

  • HB 2489 by Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) - Relating to the ability of a property owners’ association to enforce certain provisions on the lease or rental of real property. Prohibits property owners’ associations from enforcing provisions in dedicatory instruments that impose a fee for rental or leasing; requiring a rental applicant be reviewed by the associations; requiring property owner and tenant to provide the lease, rental application and credit report if it would violate state and federal laws.

Status: Effective 6/19/15

  • HB 1853 by Rep. Angie Button (R-Dallas) - Relating to the removal of a tenant’s personal property after a writ of possession has been issued in an eviction suit. Allows a municipality to provide, without charge, a portable closed container for the personal property removed once a writ of possession is issued, and allows municipality to remove and dispose of contents after a reasonable time if not recovered.

Status: Effective 9/1/15

Standardized JP Forms

  • SB 478 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) - Relating to promulgation of certain forms for use in landlord/tenant matters. Directs Texas Supreme Court to promulgate standard “plain English” forms for individuals representing themselves in residential landlord/tenant matters, including a Spanish language version of the forms.

Status: Effective 9/1/15

Equal and Uniform Appraisals

  • HB 2083 by Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo)/Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) - Relating to the requirement a protest or appeal based upon inequality of appraisal be determined by the application of generally accepted appraisal methods and techniques. Amends Sections 23.01 of the Tax Code to provide that appeals to the Appraisal Review Board or to court based on the selection of comparable properties and the application of appropriate adjustments be based upon the application of generally accepted appraisal methods and techniques.

Status: Effective 1/1/16

  • HB 3089 by Rep. Rick Galindo (R-San Antonio) - Relating to reporting and monitoring of residential high-rise buildings without fire protection sprinkler systems. As introduced, the bill would have required high-rise buildings over 75 ft. (5 stories), to be retrofitted with sprinkler systems. However, a committee substitute limits the bill’s scope to those high-rise buildings in Bexar County, which primarily serve elderly and disabled residents and gives a longer time-frame for compliance. Historic buildings are exempt.

Status: Effective 9/1/15