In Dallas, rental contracts involve more than just signing a lease. It’s important to understand the legal aspects of rental contracts so that you’re able to protect your rights as a tenant and ensure that you enter into an agreement that satisfies both landlord and tenant needs. From security deposits to termination and late fees, there are a number of components to think about when it comes to navigating the complex world of rental contracts.

In this article, we’ll be discussing some of the most important Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding rental contracts in Dallas. Whether you’re a new tenant or an experienced one, understanding these rental contract FAQs will arm you with the knowledge and information that you need to enter into and sustain a secure and successful rental agreement.

What are the rules regarding application fees?

When applying for a rental unit in Dallas, the landlord or property manager may charge an application fee to perform a credit check, background check, and other necessary verification.

In Texas, Section 92.352 of the Texas Property Code outlines the circumstances for application fees, and states that a landlord is only allowed to charge application fees for the actual cost of verifying your credit check, employment, rental history, and/or criminal background. The amount of the fee cannot exceed $50.

Any application fee charged in excess of $50 is considered a “bogus charge” and is against the law.

What kind of rental agreement should I use?

Whether you’re a landlord or tenant, it’s important to use a legally binding rental agreement to outline the terms and conditions of your rental contract. This agreement should include details about the rental term (usually a one-year lease), the amount of rent due, repair responsibilities, whether or not pets are allowed, and other similar topics.

Using a detailed rental agreement is especially important for landlords, as it will let you set clear expectations and provide a legally binding document that you can refer to if there is ever a dispute between you and the tenant about the terms of the rental contract.

It’s also important to ensure that the lease agreement is in accordance with the Texas state laws and any applicable local landlord-tenant ordinances.

What is a security deposit?

A security deposit is a sum of money held by the landlord before tenant occupancy begins, and it serves as a form of financial protection for the landlord against potential damages caused to the property during the tenancy.

In Texas, the maximum amount of a security deposit for residential properties is two months’ worth of rent. Upon termination of the rental contract, the landlord is required to return the security deposit within 30 days or provide the tenant with a written explanation of why some or all of the deposit is being withheld.

What are the rules surrounding subleases and assignments?

In Texas, it’s legal to assign or sublease a residential lease, but it must be done in accordance with the original lease agreement. This means that the tenant must get written consent from the landlord in order to assign or sublease the rental contract to another party.

If the original lease agreement does not include a provision regarding assignments and subleases, the tenant is then allowed to make the decision on whether or not to sublet or assign the lease. It’s important to note that the tenant still needs the landlord’s approval in writing, and the original tenant is still held liable in case of any damages or late payments.

What kinds of fees may my landlord charge?

When it comes to rental contracts in Texas, landlords are allowed to collect fees for a few specific reasons, including late fees, termination fees, pet fees, and other fees required for leasing a specific unit in the building.

The rules for late fees vary from place to place, but most leases state that the tenant will be responsible for paying a fee if their rent is more than five days late.

The laws regarding termination fees vary and are highly dependent on the type of rental agreement in place. If the lease agreement does not include a provision for a termination fee, the Texas Property Code states that landlords cannot collect such a fee.

How do I terminate a rental contract in Dallas?

In Dallas, terminations of a fixed-term lease happen when either you or the landlord decides to terminate the agreement before the original end date of the lease. This is typically done with a written notice of termination, which must be given at least three months before the termination date (unless the landlord agrees to a different date).

If you decide to terminate your rental contract before the expiration date, the landlord may be able to collect a “surrender fee” (as stated in the lease agreement) to cover any financial losses they have incurred due to the early termination of the contract.

On the other hand, the landlord may terminate the lease themselves if a tenant fails to comply with the rules of the rental contract or is in violation of any applicable laws.


Rental contracts can be complex and intimidating, but understanding the FAQs that relate to rental contracts in Dallas can help equip you with the knowledge that you need to protect yourself as a tenant, landlord, or potential leaseholder.

From application fees to understanding your rights as a tenant or landlord, it’s important to arm yourself with the relevant information and be aware of your obligations when it comes to the world of rental contracts in Dallas.


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