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Required Locks And Security Devices

All residential rental properties are required to fully comply with the revised lock law of 1993. The Texas rental property code, Subchapter D, Sections 92.151 - 92.170, guarantees apartment residents certain rights for locks, also known as security devices. This brochure explains which locks every Houston apartment or rental dwelling must have, which locks the rental property owner or apartment manager has to install at the apartment resident's request, and defines each security device.

What Locks Are Required for a Houston Apartment?
Required Locks for apartments in Houston 1. A rental property owner or apartment manager, at the rental property owner or apartment manager.s expense, is required to change or re-key locks within seven days of a new apartment resident moving in to cheap apartments in Houston, Texas.

2. A rental property owner or apartment manager is also required to install the following security devices without the apartment resident having to request them:

  • one window latch on each exterior window in the apartment
  • a doorknob lock or keyed deadbolt on each exterior door; (see NOTE)
  • a keyless bolting device (i.e. a keyless deadbolt) on each exterior door;
  • a door viewer on each exterior door; and
  • a pin lock and either a handle latch or a security bar on each exterior sliding glass door.

NOTE: The rental property owner or apartment manager does not have to install a deadbolt or doorknob lock if at the time the apartment resident agrees to lease the dwelling, at least one exterior door usable for normal entry, has both a keyed deadbolt and a keyless bolting device, and all other exterior doors have a keyless bolting device.

Remedies for Repairing and Installing Locks
If the rental property owner or apartment manager fails to install a lock required WITHOUT the apartment resident's request or fails to change or re-key a lock after the apartment resident turnover date, the apartment resident may, without written request:

1. install or re-key the lock and deduct the cost from the apartment resident’s next rent payment;

2. file suit against the rental property owner or apartment manager for compliance and obtain a judgment for:

  • a court order directing the rental property owner or apartment manager to comply (avail- able only in County and District Courts);
  • damages
  • court costs; and
  • attorney’s fees (except when the suit seeks damages for rental property, personal injuries, or wrongful death)

OR

The apartment resident can serve a written request for compliance and if the rental property owner or apartment manager fails to comply in three days, the apartment resident may:

1. file suit against the rental property owner or apartment manager for compliance and obtain a judgment for:

  • a court order directing the rental property owner or apartment manager to comply (available only in County and District Courts);
  • damages;
  • punitive damages (if actual damages suffered):
  • civil penalty of one month’s rent plus $500;
  • court costs: and
  • attorney’s fees (except when the suit seeks damages for rental property, personal injuries, or wrongful death);

AND

2. Unilaterally terminate the apartment lease agreement without court proceedings. However, if the apartment lease agreement contains a provision that in substance notifies the apartment resident of the rights described in section one, the apartment resident must wait seven days after the notice is served before the apartment lease agreement can be terminated. In addition, if the apartment lease agreement notifies the apartment resident of the apartment resident’s rights about security devices and the apartment resident notifies the rental property owner or apartment manager that there has been an actual or attempted break-in in apartment resident’s unit or an actual or attempted break-in or a crime of personal violence in the apartment complex within the past two months, the apartment resident can request that the rental property owner or apartment manager change or re-key the locks and the rental property owner or apartment manager must do so within three days after receiving the request.

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