5 Laws You Should Know When Renting in Dallas

In many ways, renting a place has become more difficult than ever.

Prices are extremely high and there are few available options. Simply finding an affordable apartment in Dallas can be extremely difficult.

Fortunately, it is not all bad. While renting in some cities comes with a whole host of risks if you get a bad landlord, there are some major protections in Dallas.

red for rent sign in front of residential house

You should know about the following 5 laws if you are renting a place in Dallas.

1. Landlords can require renters insurance

Renters insurance is something that many first-time tenants are confused about. Although there is no law that says that if you rent a property in Dallas, you need to have insurance , your landlord can require it as part of your lease. Some landlords do require it, and there is good reason for it.

You should have insurance whether your landlord asks you to or not. It will cover your possessions if anything happens, as your landlord’s insurance only covers their property. But why would landlords require it?

Since renters insurance includes personal liability cover, it gives them the ability to claim from you if you cause damage to their place.

They can claim against you even if you don’t have insurance, but this makes it more likely that they’ll get their money even if you can’t afford to pay up.

2. Landlords can’t barge in on you

Texas is not the best state when it comes to protecting tenant privacy. However, there are rules against landlords entering your place without your permission. They might try to claim that because they own it they have the right to access it whenever they want. But since they’re renting it out to you, it is your right to deny them access unless they give you notice in advance.

They do have the right to enter in an emergency, however, but your landlord is unlikely to abuse this right by claiming everything is an emergency.

3. Rent discrimination is illegal

If you’re looking for a place to rent in Dallas, the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 says that a potential landlord cannot discriminate against you based on race or color; religion; sex; national origin; familial status (i.e. having children); and disability.

As of 2021, the Fair Housing Act also includes protections for LGBTQ people.

4. Your landlord cannot retaliate against you for complaining

Some tenants do complain a bit too much, but others are scared to. They fear that their landlord might take issue with this and raise their rent so as to get them to stop complaining or to make the place unaffordable.

In Dallas, a landlord cannot retaliate against you by raising rent, evicting you, or diminishing your services.

Proving retaliation can be difficult. However, it may be enough to inform your landlord that you are filing a complaint against them to get them to be reasonable.

5. Your landlord is responsible to maintain anything that impacts your health or safety

If something stops working in your home and it impacts your health or safety, your landlord is required to fix it in a timely manner. This may include things like heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC), smoke detectors, alarms, and the like.

If they don’t fix it, you can file a complaint against them and a justice of the peace will order them to do so.

You can also take matters into your own hands and end your lease, fix the problem yourself and deduct the cost from rent, or file a lawsuit.

Some landlords are great and will do everything it takes to keep you happy. Still, it is important that you are aware of these laws when renting in Dallas, as landlords can otherwise take advantage of your ignorance so as not to fulfil their duties.

By being up to date on what their responsibilities are and what your rights are, you can ensure you have a good renting experience.