87th Session Recap - Landlord Tenant

H.B. 531 - Relating to notice requirements for a leased dwelling located in a floodplain. H.B. 531 did pass and creates a new flood notice provision that every landlord in Texas needs to be aware of. 

The long saga of H.B. 531 started back during the 2019 session coming on the heels of Hurricane Harvey.  As filed back in 2019, and initially filed this session, this bill was a much more robust requirement and penalty directed at landlords for failing to disclose to a prospective tenant if any part of the property was in a 100 or 500 year flood area.

However, through extensive negotiations the final applicable provisions of H.B. 531 merely requires a notice that states:

"(Landlord) ( ) is or ( ) is not aware that the dwelling you are renting is located in a 100-year floodplain.  If neither box is checked, you should assume the dwelling is in a 100-year floodplain.  Even if the dwelling is not in a 100-year floodplain, the dwelling may still be susceptible to flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maintains a flood map on its Internet website that is searchable by address, at no cost, to determine if a dwelling is located in a flood hazard area. Most tenant insurance policies do not cover damages or loss incurred in a flood.  You should seek insurance coverage that would cover losses caused by a flood."

If the property is elevated above the floodplain the notice is not required.  However, if the landlord does have actual knowledge that flooding has occurred within the most recent five years, the landlord must provide the following notice:

"(Landlord) ( ) is or ( ) is not aware that the dwelling you are renting has flooded at least once within the last five years."

The notices required must be included in a separate written document given to the tenant at or before execution of the lease.

The effective date of this new law is January 1, 2022.  TMHA will update our library of forms and notices for our members to include these new notice provisions.


H.B. 900 - Relating to the liability of a landlord for damages resulting from the execution of a writ of possession in an eviction suit.

This new law protects landlords from liability following an eviction suit when a writ of possession is executed by an officer of the court under Chapter 24, Property Code.  TMHA supported this bill.

Prior to this law’s recent passage, the state statutes protect renters, officers, movers and even storage facility owners as it relates to the liability for damages to personal property removed during the execution of a writ of possession. However, the landlord is not explicitly exempt from liability in this moving process. Should the personal property be damaged or stolen before it is recovered by the tenant, the landlord could be held liable through no fault of their own.

H.B. 900 corrects this imbalance by offering the same immunity to a landlord as the law provides to officers and warehousemen as it relates to a tenant's personal property during the execution of a writ of possession.

This law is effective on September 1, 2021.


H.B. 1012 - Relating to access to a residence or former residence to retrieve certain personal property.

In instances of a divorce, this new law grants courts with jurisdiction over divorce to issue the decree for one party to enter the residence to retrieve personal property.  While this shouldn’t impact landlords directly, and this is done only with the supervision of a police office, this new law is something community owners and managers should be aware of. 

Certainly, trying to avoid getting in the middle of a heated divorce situation of tenants, the clearest path is to rely on the mandatory presence of a police officer when one party is demanding entry under a court order.

This law is effective on September 1, 2021.


H.B. 1153 - Relating to the applicability of the Texas Fair Housing Act to certain sales and rentals.

These law changes update the Texas Fair Housing Act to align the Texas law with the current federal law and regulation.  There are various exemptions to both state and federal law under Fair Housing, but then there are also exceptions to those exemptions under the federal law that have not been updated at the state level.

The rationale, other than consistency and clarity, for the change steam from concerns that failure to do so creates law conflicts and could make Texas ineligible to receive some federal funds.

This law is effective on September 1, 2021.


S.B. 1783 - Relating to a fee collected by a landlord in lieu of a security deposit.

This new law allows explicitly for the option to collect a fee by a landlord in lieu of a security deposit.  The bill codifies many common current practices as permissible where a tenant is unable or does not prefer to pay the total amount of an upfront security deposit.  The new law allows the practice of utilizing a small monthly "deposit waiver fee" instead of a large down payment upon move-in. This will encourage landlords to use lease insurance and offer zero-deposit rentals.

Lease insurance reimburses landlords for damages and unpaid rent. When tenants pay this small monthly deposit waiver fee to help landlords pay the insurance premium, landlords can eliminate security/damage deposits and tenants can save thousands of dollars on move-in day.

This law change is effective on September 1, 2021.