Questions about rent
- What happens if I don't pay the rent?
- Can I be locked out of my apartment for non-payment of rent?
- Can the rent be increased during my lease?
- Is there any limit on rent increases?
A number of things can happen if you don't pay your rent.
- You may incur late charges, which must be paid in addition to the rent.
- If your lease includes the appropriate provision, the owner can enter your apartment and remove items like TVs, stereos, sports equipment, etc. and keep it until you pay your rent. This provision must be underlined or in bold print in your lease. The owner cannot remove items that are listed as "exempt" in Section 54.041 of the Texas Property Code. Seized items may be sold if the owner gives you the proper notice under the statute. (Residents who receive Section 8 assistance or live at tax credit properties may not have items taken without a court order.)
- If the property owner gives you the proper notice under Section 92.0081 of the Texas Property Code, you may be locked out of your apartment or rental home; you will then have to contact the property owner or manager to get back into your apartment. (Residents of tax credit properties may not be locked out for nonpayment of rent.)
- The owner may also file to evict you from the property, and report your non-payment to consumer reporting agencies, rental history tracking companies, properties you may try to rent from in the future, etc.
- If your lease includes a water allocation or submetering provision and you pay your water bill to the property, the property owner may charge a fee of up to 5 percent of the amount due when your payment is late.
Yes. Section 92.0081 of the Texas Property Code allows owners to change the door locks on an apartment unit if the rent is delinquent. However, the owner must first notify you at least three days before the locks are to be changed. After the lockout, the owner must leave a notice telling you where the key can be obtained 24 hours a day. You must contact the owner or the owner's agent to gain access to your apartment or rental home, but the owner cannot refuse to allow you back in, even if you have not yet paid your rent. If you haven't paid your rent, though, you'll still be subject to any of the owner's remedies against you for non-payment, including another lockout.
No, unless your lease has a provision that allows increases during the term. Under the TAA Lease Contract, the rent cannot be increased during the initial lease term unless a "special provision" is inserted or an addendum to that effect is attached. To increase the rent (or any other amount noted on page 1 of the lease) at the end of the initial lease term, the owner must give you the same amount of notice that you are required to give if you plan to move out at the end of the term, plus five days.