The Myths of Renting in Texas
Tenants and landlords often make decisions based on incorrect, long-standing assumptions.This can be costly! To protect your rights, the Austin Tenants’ Council recommends that before you sign a lease, read it carefully. Assume you're liable for all terms of the lease unless you agree otherwise IN WRITING. Verbal agreements aren't usually enforceable, and won't change the written lease. Get all agreements in writing and have all parties sign it. Someone who won’t sign a written agreement might not intend to honor that agreement.
Myth: A landlord or manager must return a deposit to hold an apartment if the tenant decides not to take it.
Truth: Many application agreements let the landlord keep the entire deposit if the tenant is approved and then the tenant decides not to sign the lease. Even if there is no written agreement about the deposit, the landlord or manager may be entitled to reimbursement for expenses after taking the property off the market, including advertising and lost rent.
Myth: A tenant can move out if the landlord fails to meet one or more obligations outlined in the lease.
Truth: Generally, the lease remains in force and the tenant continues to be liable under the terms of the lease agreement until a court rules otherwise.
Myth: A signed lease is not valid until a deposit is paid or until the tenant moves into the property.
Truth: Even if the landlord never receives rent and the tenant never moves in, the tenant is liable under the lease once it is signed.
Myth: A tenant may withhold rent if the landlord fails to make repairs.
Truth: A tenant’s withholding of rent is seen as retaliation, and the tenant risks eviction and may forfeit certain rights under the law.
Myth: if the tenant pays the rent late, the landlord can't evict you if you later pay the rent in full.
Truth: In many cases, the landlord can proceed with eviction even if the rent is paid in full after the tenant falls behind in rent.