Texas Property Code

Sec. § 92.008
Interruption of Utilities


(a)

A landlord or a landlord’s agent may not interrupt or cause the interruption of utility service paid for directly to the utility company by a tenant unless the interruption results from bona fide repairs, construction, or an emergency.

(b)

Except as provided by this section, a landlord may not interrupt or cause the interruption of water, wastewater, gas, or electric service furnished to a tenant by the landlord as an incident of the tenancy or by other agreement unless the interruption results from bona fide repairs, construction, or an emergency.

(c)

Repealed by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1112, Sec. 3, eff. January 1, 2010.

(d)

Repealed by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1112, Sec. 3, eff. January 1, 2010.

(e)

Repealed by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1112, Sec. 3, eff. January 1, 2010.

(f)

If a landlord or a landlord’s agent violates this section, the tenant may:

(1)

either recover possession of the premises or terminate the lease; and

(2)

in addition to other remedies available under law, recover from the landlord an amount equal to the sum of the tenant’s actual damages, one month’s rent plus $1,000, reasonable attorney’s fees, and court costs, less any delinquent rents or other sums for which the tenant is liable to the landlord.

(g)

A provision of a lease that purports to waive a right or to exempt a party from a liability or duty under this section is void.

(h)

Subject to Subsections (i), (j), (k), (m), and (o), a landlord who submeters electricity or allocates or prorates nonsubmetered master metered electricity may interrupt or cause the interruption of electric service for nonpayment by the tenant of an electric bill issued to the tenant if:

(1)

the landlord’s right to interrupt electric service is provided by a written lease entered into by the tenant;

(2)

the tenant’s electric bill is not paid on or before the 12th day after the date the electric bill is issued;

(3)

advance written notice of the proposed interruption is delivered to the tenant by mail or hand delivery separately from any other written content that:

(A)

prominently displays the words “electricity termination notice” or similar language underlined or in bold;

(B)

includes:

(i)

the date on which the electric service will be interrupted;

(ii)

a location where the tenant may go during the landlord’s normal business hours to make arrangements to pay the bill to avoid interruption of electric service;

(iii)

the amount that must be paid to avoid interruption of electric service;

(iv)

a statement providing that when the tenant makes a payment to avoid interruption of electric service, the landlord may not apply that payment to rent or other amounts owed under the lease;

(v)

a statement providing that the landlord may not evict a tenant for failure to pay an electric bill when the landlord has interrupted the tenant’s electric service unless the tenant fails to pay for the electric service after the electric service has been interrupted for at least two days, not including weekends or state or federal holidays; and

(vi)

a description of the tenant’s rights under Subsection (j) to avoid interruption of electric service if the interruption will cause a person residing in the tenant’s dwelling to become seriously ill or more seriously ill; and

(C)

is delivered not earlier than the first day after the bill is past due or later than the fifth day before the interruption date stated in the notice; and

(4)

the landlord, at the same time the service is interrupted, hand delivers or places on the tenant’s front door a written notice that:

(A)

prominently displays the words “electricity termination notice” or similar language underlined or in bold; and

(B)

includes:

(i)

the date the electric service has been interrupted;

(ii)

a location where the tenant may go during the landlord’s normal business hours to make arrangements to pay the bill to reestablish interrupted electric service;

(iii)

the amount that must be paid to reestablish electric service;

(iv)

a statement providing that when the tenant makes a payment to reestablish electric service, a landlord may not apply that payment to rent or other amounts owed under the lease;

(v)

a statement providing that the landlord may not evict a tenant for failure to pay an electric bill when the landlord has interrupted the tenant’s electric service unless the tenant fails to pay for the electric service after the electric service has been interrupted for at least two days, not including weekends or state or federal holidays; and

(vi)

a description of the tenant’s rights under Subsection (j) to avoid interruption of electric service if the interruption will cause a person residing in the tenant’s dwelling to become seriously ill or more seriously ill.

(i)

Unless a dangerous condition exists or the tenant requests disconnection, a landlord may not interrupt or cause the interruption of electric service under Subsection (h) on a day:

(1)

on which the landlord or a representative of the landlord is not available to collect electric bill payments and reestablish electric service;

(2)

that immediately precedes a day described by Subdivision (1); or

(3)

on which:

(A)

the previous day’s highest temperature did not exceed 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the temperature is predicted to remain at or below that level for the next 24 hours according to the nearest National Weather Service reports; or

(B)

the National Weather Service issues a heat advisory for a county in which the premises is located or has issued such an advisory on one of the two preceding days.

(j)

A landlord may not interrupt or cause the interruption of electric service under Subsection (h) of a tenant who, before the interruption date specified in the notice required by Subsection (h)(3), has:

(1)

established that the interruption will cause a person residing in the tenant’s dwelling to become seriously ill or more seriously ill by having a physician, nurse, nurse practitioner, or other similar licensed health care practitioner attending to the person who is or may become ill provide a written statement to the landlord or a representative of the landlord stating that the person will become seriously ill or more seriously ill if the electric service is interrupted; and

(2)

entered into a deferred payment plan that complies with Subsection (l).

(k)

If a tenant has established, in accordance with Subsection (j), the circumstances necessary to avoid electric service interruption under that subsection, the landlord may not interrupt or cause the interruption of the tenant’s electric service under Subsection (h) before:

(1)

the 63rd day after the date those circumstances are established; or

(2)

an earlier date agreed to by the landlord and the tenant.

(l)

A deferred payment plan for the purposes of this section must be in writing. The deferred payment plan must allow the tenant to pay the outstanding electric bill in installments that extend beyond the due date of the next electric bill and must provide that the delinquent amount may be paid in equal installments over a period equal to at least three electric service billing cycles.

(m)

A landlord may not interrupt or cause the interruption of electric service under Subsection (h) to a tenant who receives energy assistance for a billing period during which the landlord receives a pledge, letter of intent, purchase order, or other notification that the energy assistance provider is forwarding sufficient payment to continue the electric service.

(n)

If a delinquent electric bill is paid, or a deferred payment plan is entered into, during normal business hours, the landlord shall reconnect the tenant’s electric service within two hours of payment or entry into the deferred payment plan.

(o)

A landlord may not interrupt or cause the interruption of electric service under Subsection (h) for any of the following reasons:

(1)

a delinquency in payment for electric service furnished to a previous tenant;

(2)

failure to pay non-electric bills, rent, or other fees;

(3)

failure to pay electric bills that are six or more months delinquent; or

(4)

failure to pay an electric bill disputed by the tenant, unless the landlord has conducted an investigation as required by the particular case and reported the results in writing to the tenant.

(p)

A landlord who provides notice in accordance with Subsection (h) may not apply a payment made by a tenant to avoid interruption of electric service or reestablish electric service to rent or any other amounts owed under the lease.

(q)

The landlord may not evict a tenant for failure to pay an electric bill when the landlord has interrupted the tenant’s electric service under Subsection (h) unless the tenant fails to pay for the electric service after the electric service has been interrupted for at least two days, not including weekends or state or federal holidays.

(r)

Subject to this subsection, a reconnection fee may be applied if electric service to the tenant is disconnected for nonpayment of bills under Subsection (h). The reconnection fee must be computed based on the average cost to the landlord for the expenses associated with the reconnection, but may not exceed $10. A reconnection fee may not be applied unless agreed to by the tenant in a written lease that states the exact dollar amount of the reconnection fee. A fee may not be applied to a deferred payment plan entered into under this section.
Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3632, ch. 576, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 200, Sec. 4, eff. Aug. 26, 1985. Renumbered from Sec. 91.002 by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 683, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 31, 1987. Amended as Sec. 91.002 by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 826, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1987. Renumbered from Sec. 91.002 and amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 689, Sec. 1, 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 869, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1996; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 952, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
Amended by:
Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1112 (H.B. 882), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2010.
Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1112 (H.B. 882), Sec. 3, eff. January 1, 2010.
Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 899 (H.B. 1086), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.
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Jun. 7, 2021