Texas Property Code
Sec. § 92.164
Tenant Remedies for Landlord’s Failure to Install or Rekey Certain Security Devices


(a)

If a landlord does not comply with Section 92.153 (Security Devices Required Without Necessity of Tenant Request) or 92.156 (Rekeying or Change of Security Devices)(a) regarding installation or rekeying of a security device, the tenant may:

(1)

install or rekey the security device as required by this subchapter and deduct the reasonable cost of material, labor, taxes, and extra keys from the tenant’s next rent payment, in accordance with Section 92.166 (Notice of Tenant’s Deduction of Repair Costs From Rent);

(2)

serve a written request for compliance on the landlord, and, except as provided by Subsections (b) and (c), if the landlord does not comply on or before the third day after the date the notice is received, unilaterally terminate the lease without court proceedings;

(3)

file suit against the landlord without serving a request for compliance and obtain a judgment for:

(A)

a court order directing the landlord to comply, if the tenant is in possession of the dwelling;

(B)

the tenant’s actual damages;

(C)

court costs; and

(D)

attorney’s fees except in suits for recovery of property damages, personal injuries, or wrongful death; and

(4)

serve a written request for compliance on the landlord, and, except as provided by Subsections (b) and (c), if the landlord does not comply on or before the third day after the date the notice is received, file suit against the landlord and obtain a judgment for:

(A)

a court order directing the landlord to comply and bring all dwellings owned by the landlord into compliance, if the tenant serving the written request is in possession of the dwelling;

(B)

the tenant’s actual damages;

(C)

punitive damages if the tenant suffers actual damages;

(D)

a civil penalty of one month’s rent plus $500;

(E)

court costs; and

(F)

attorney’s fees except in suits for recovery of property damages, personal injuries, or wrongful death.

(b)

A tenant may not unilaterally terminate the lease under Subsection (a)(2) or file suit against the landlord to obtain a judgment under Subsection (a)(4) unless the landlord does not comply on or before the seventh day after the date the written request for compliance is received if the lease includes language underlined or in boldface print that in substance provides the tenant with notice that:

(1)

the landlord at the landlord’s expense is required to equip the dwelling, when the tenant takes possession, with the security devices described by Sections 92.153 (Security Devices Required Without Necessity of Tenant Request)(a)(1)-(4) and (6);

(2)

the landlord is not required to install a doorknob lock or keyed dead bolt at the landlord’s expense if the exterior doors meet the requirements of Section 92.153 (Security Devices Required Without Necessity of Tenant Request)(f);

(3)

the landlord is not required to install a keyless bolting device at the landlord’s expense on an exterior door if the landlord is expressly required or permitted to periodically check on the well-being or health of the tenant as provided by Section 92.153 (Security Devices Required Without Necessity of Tenant Request)(e)(3); and

(4)

the tenant has the right to install or rekey a security device required by this subchapter and deduct the reasonable cost from the tenant’s next rent payment, as provided by Subsection (a)(1).

(c)

Regardless of whether the lease contains language complying with the requirements of Subsection (b), the additional time for landlord compliance provided by Subsection (b) does not apply if at the time the tenant served the written request for compliance on the landlord the tenant informed the landlord that an unauthorized entry occurred or was attempted in the tenant’s dwelling, an unauthorized entry occurred or was attempted in another unit in the multiunit complex in which the tenant’s dwelling is located during the two months preceding the date of the request, or a crime of personal violence occurred in the multiunit complex in which the tenant’s dwelling is located during the two months preceding the date of the request, unless despite the diligence of the landlord:

(1)

the landlord did not know of the tenant’s request, without the fault of the landlord;

(2)

materials, labor, or utilities were unavailable; or

(3)

a delay was caused by circumstances beyond the landlord’s control, including the illness or death of the landlord or a member of the landlord’s immediate family.
Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 357, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.
Source
Last accessed
Apr. 20, 2021