2009 Texas Code
PROPERTY CODE
TITLE 8. LANDLORD AND TENANT
CHAPTER 93. COMMERCIAL TENANCIES  

PROPERTY CODE

TITLE 8. LANDLORD AND TENANT

CHAPTER 93. COMMERCIAL TENANCIES

Sec. 93.001. APPLICABILITY OF CHAPTER. (a) This chapter

applies only to the relationship between landlords and tenants of

commercial rental property.

(b) For purposes of this chapter, "commercial rental property"

means rental property that is not covered by Chapter 92.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 687, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1,

1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 689, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 93.002. INTERRUPTION OF UTILITIES, REMOVAL OF PROPERTY, AND

EXCLUSION OF COMMERCIAL TENANT. (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) A landlord may not remove a door, window, or attic hatchway

cover or a lock, latch, hinge, hinge pin, doorknob, or other

mechanism connected to a door, window, or attic hatchway cover

from premises leased to a tenant or remove furniture, fixtures,

or appliances furnished by the landlord from premises leased to a

tenant unless the landlord removes the item for a bona fide

repair or replacement. If a landlord removes any of the items

listed in this subsection for a bona fide repair or replacement,

the repair or replacement must be promptly performed.

(c) A landlord may not intentionally prevent a tenant from

entering the leased premises except by judicial process unless

the exclusion results from:

(1) bona fide repairs, construction, or an emergency;

(2) removing the contents of premises abandoned by a tenant; or

(3) changing the door locks of a tenant who is delinquent in

paying at least part of the rent.

(d) A tenant is presumed to have abandoned the premises if

goods, equipment, or other property, in an amount substantial

enough to indicate a probable intent to abandon the premises, is

being or has been removed from the premises and the removal is

not within the normal course of the tenant's business.

(e) A landlord may remove and store any property of a tenant

that remains on premises that are abandoned. In addition to the

landlord's other rights, the landlord may dispose of the stored

property if the tenant does not claim the property within 60 days

after the date the property is stored. The landlord shall deliver

by certified mail to the tenant at the tenant's last known

address a notice stating that the landlord may dispose of the

tenant's property if the tenant does not claim the property

within 60 days after the date the property is stored.

(f) If a landlord or a landlord's agent changes the door lock of

a tenant who is delinquent in paying rent, the landlord or agent

must place a written notice on the tenant's front door stating

the name and the address or telephone number of the individual or

company from which the new key may be obtained. The new key is

required to be provided only during the tenant's regular business

hours and only if the tenant pays the delinquent rent.

(g) 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) recover from the landlord an amount equal to the sum of the

tenant's actual damages, one month's rent or $500, whichever is

greater, reasonable attorney's fees, and court costs, less any

delinquent rents or other sums for which the tenant is liable to

the landlord.

(h) A lease supersedes this section to the extent of any

conflict.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 689, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1,

1989. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 44, Sec. 1, eff. Sept.

1, 1993.

Sec. 93.003. COMMERCIAL TENANT'S RIGHT OF REENTRY AFTER UNLAWFUL

LOCKOUT. (a) If a landlord has locked a tenant out of leased

premises in violation of Section 93.002, the tenant may recover

possession of the premises as provided by this section.

(b) The tenant must file with the justice court in the precinct

in which the rental premises are located a sworn complaint for

reentry, specifying the facts of the alleged unlawful lockout by

the landlord or the landlord's agent. The tenant must also state

orally under oath to the justice the facts of the alleged

unlawful lockout.

(c) If the tenant has complied with Subsection (b) and if the

justice reasonably believes an unlawful lockout has likely

occurred, the justice may issue, ex parte, a writ of reentry that

entitles the tenant to immediate and temporary possession of the

premises, pending a final hearing on the tenant's sworn complaint

for reentry.

(d) The writ of reentry must be served on either the landlord or

the landlord's management company, on-premises manager, or rent

collector in the same manner as a writ of possession in a

forcible detainer action. A sheriff or constable may use

reasonable force in executing a writ of reentry under this

section.

(e) The landlord is entitled to a hearing on the tenant's sworn

complaint for reentry. The writ of reentry must notify the

landlord of the right to a hearing. The hearing shall be held not

earlier than the first day and not later than the seventh day

after the date the landlord requests a hearing.

(f) If the landlord fails to request a hearing on the tenant's

sworn complaint for reentry before the eighth day after the date

of service of the writ of reentry on the landlord under

Subsection (d), a judgment for court costs may be rendered

against the landlord.

(g) A party may appeal from the court's judgment at the hearing

on the sworn complaint for reentry in the same manner as a party

may appeal a judgment in a forcible detainer suit.

(h) If a writ of possession is issued, it supersedes a writ of

reentry.

(i) If the landlord or the person on whom a writ of reentry is

served fails to immediately comply with the writ or later

disobeys the writ, the failure is grounds for contempt of court

against the landlord or the person on whom the writ was served,

under Section 21.002, Government Code. If the writ is disobeyed,

the tenant or the tenant's attorney may file in the court in

which the reentry action is pending an affidavit stating the name

of the person who has disobeyed the writ and describing the acts

or omissions constituting the disobedience. On receipt of an

affidavit, the justice shall issue a show cause order, directing

the person to appear on a designated date and show cause why he

should not be adjudged in contempt of court. If the justice

finds, after considering the evidence at the hearing, that the

person has directly or indirectly disobeyed the writ, the justice

may commit the person to jail without bail until the person

purges himself of the contempt in a manner and form as the

justice may direct. If the person disobeyed the writ before

receiving the show cause order but has complied with the writ

after receiving the order, the justice may find the person in

contempt and assess punishment under Section 21.002(c),

Government Code.

(j) This section does not affect a tenant's right to pursue a

separate cause of action under Section 93.002.

(k) If a tenant in bad faith files a sworn complaint for reentry

resulting in a writ of reentry being served on the landlord or

landlord's agent, the landlord may in a separate cause of action

recover from the tenant an amount equal to actual damages, one

month's rent or $500, whichever is greater, reasonable attorney's

fees, and costs of court, less any sums for which the landlord is

liable to the tenant.

(l) The fee for filing a sworn complaint for reentry is the same

as that for filing a civil action in justice court. The fee for

service of a writ of reentry is the same as that for service of a

writ of possession. The fee for service of a show cause order is

the same as that for service of a civil citation. The justice may

defer payment of the tenant's filing fees and service costs for

the sworn complaint for reentry and writ of reentry. Court costs

may be waived only if the tenant executes a pauper's affidavit.

(m) This section does not affect the rights of a landlord or

tenant in a forcible detainer or forcible entry and detainer

action.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 687, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1,

1989. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 595, Sec. 1, eff. June

11, 2001.

Sec. 93.004. SECURITY DEPOSIT. A security deposit is any

advance of money, other than a rental application deposit or an

advance payment of rent, that is intended primarily to secure

performance under a lease of commercial rental property.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1460, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

2001.

Sec. 93.005. OBLIGATION TO REFUND SECURITY DEPOSIT. (a) The

landlord shall refund the security deposit to the tenant not

later than the 60th day after the date the tenant surrenders the

premises and provides notice to the landlord or the landlord's

agent of the tenant's forwarding address under Section 93.009.

(b) The tenant's claim to the security deposit takes priority

over the claim of any creditor of the landlord, including a

trustee in bankruptcy.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1460, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1143, Sec. 1, eff.

Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 93.006. RETENTION OF SECURITY DEPOSIT; ACCOUNTING. (a)

Before returning a security deposit, the landlord may deduct from

the deposit damages and charges for which the tenant is legally

liable under the lease or damages and charges that result from a

breach of the lease.

(b) The landlord may not retain any portion of a security

deposit to cover normal wear and tear. In this subsection,

"normal wear and tear" means deterioration that results from the

intended use of the commercial premises, including breakage or

malfunction due to age or deteriorated condition, but the term

does not include deterioration that results from negligence,

carelessness, accident, or abuse of the premises, equipment, or

chattels by the tenant or by a guest or invitee of the tenant.

(c) If the landlord retains all or part of a security deposit

under this section, the landlord shall give to the tenant the

balance of the security deposit, if any, together with a written

description and itemized list of all deductions. The landlord is

not required to give the tenant a description and itemized list

of deductions if:

(1) the tenant owes rent when the tenant surrenders possession

of the premises; and

(2) no controversy exists concerning the amount of rent owed.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1460, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

2001.

Sec. 93.007. CESSATION OF OWNER'S INTEREST. (a) If the owner's

interest in the premises is terminated by sale, assignment,

death, appointment of a receiver, bankruptcy, or otherwise, the

new owner is liable for the return of the security deposit

according to this chapter from the date title to the premises is

acquired, regardless of whether an acknowledgement is given to

the tenant under Subsection (b).

(b) The person who no longer owns an interest in the rental

premises remains liable for a security deposit received while the

person was the owner until the new owner delivers to the tenant a

signed statement acknowledging that the new owner has received

and is responsible for the tenant's security deposit and

specifying the exact dollar amount of the deposit. The amount of

the security deposit is the greater of:

(1) the amount provided in the tenant's lease; or

(2) the amount provided in an estoppel certificate prepared by

the owner at the time the lease was executed or prepared by the

new owner at the time the commercial property is transferred.

(c) Subsection (a) does not apply to a real estate mortgage

lienholder who acquires title by foreclosure.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1460, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

2001.

Sec. 93.008. RECORDS. The landlord shall keep accurate records

of all security deposits.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1460, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

2001.

Sec. 93.009. TENANT'S FORWARDING ADDRESS. (a) The landlord is

not obligated to return a tenant's security deposit or give the

tenant a written description of damages and charges until the

tenant gives the landlord a written statement of the tenant's

forwarding address for the purpose of refunding the security

deposit.

(b) The tenant does not forfeit the right to a refund of the

security deposit or the right to receive a description of damages

and charges for failing to give a forwarding address to the

landlord.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1460, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

2001.

Sec. 93.010. LIABILITY FOR WITHHOLDING LAST MONTH'S RENT. (a)

The tenant may not withhold payment of any portion of the last

month's rent on grounds that the security deposit is security for

unpaid rent.

(b) A tenant who violates this section is presumed to have acted

in bad faith. A tenant who in bad faith violates this section is

liable to the landlord for an amount equal to three times the

rent wrongfully withheld and the landlord's reasonable attorney's

fees in a suit to recover the rent.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1460, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

2001.

Sec. 93.011. LIABILITY OF LANDLORD. (a) A landlord who in bad

faith retains a security deposit in violation of this chapter is

liable for an amount equal to the sum of $100, three times the

portion of the deposit wrongfully withheld, and the tenant's

reasonable attorney's fees incurred in a suit to recover the

deposit after the period prescribed for returning the deposit

expires.

(b) A landlord who in bad faith does not provide a written

description and itemized list of damages and charges in violation

of this chapter:

(1) forfeits the right to withhold any portion of the security

deposit or to bring suit against the tenant for damages to the

premises; and

(2) is liable for the tenant's reasonable attorney's fees in a

suit to recover the deposit.

(c) In a suit brought by a tenant under this chapter, the

landlord has the burden of proving that the retention of any

portion of the security deposit was reasonable.

(d) A landlord who fails to return a security deposit or to

provide a written description and itemized list of deductions on

or before the 60th day after the date the tenant surrenders

possession is presumed to have acted in bad faith.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1460, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1143, Sec. 2, eff.

Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 93.012. ASSESSMENT OF CHARGES. (a) A landlord may not

assess a charge, excluding a charge for rent or physical damage

to the leased premises, to a tenant unless the amount of the

charge or the method by which the charge is to be computed is

stated in the lease, an exhibit or attachment that is part of the

lease, or an amendment to the lease.

(b) This section does not affect a landlord's right to assess a

charge or obtain a remedy allowed under a statute or common law.

(c) This section does not affect the contractual right of a

landlord that is a governmental entity created under Subchapter

D, Chapter 22, Transportation Code, whose constituent

municipalities are populous home-rule municipalities to assess

charges under a lease to fully compensate the governmental entity

for the governmental entity's operating costs.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1397, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

2002. Renumbered from Property Code Sec. 93.004 by Acts 2003,

78th Leg., ch. 1275, Sec. 2(119), eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

71, Sec. 1, eff. May 20, 2009.

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