Tenants must comply with the contract and the Texas Property Code.
A tenant should understand a Landlord has the right to retain a security deposit and make charges “for which the tenant is legally liable under the lease or as a result of breaching the lease.”
Items a tenant should do to secure the return of their security deposit:
1. Comply with the lease;
2. Provide a WRITTEN 30 day notice;
3. Provide a forwarding address;
4. Document the condition of the residence at move in and surrender;
5. Understand the residential lease deductions in the lease agreement;
6. Do not try to use the security deposit as the last month’s rent;
7. Do not damage the residence; and 8. Do not skip out of the residence without paying.
If a landlord fails to return a security deposit §92.109 provides remedies to the tenant. Specifically a landlord may be liable for $100, and three times the amount of the wrongfully withheld security deposit, and reasonable attorney fees.
Each case is fact specific, however, a tenant who has complied with the Texas Property Code and their residential lease contract should contact an attorney to determine their legal rights if a landlord refuses to return their deposit.