Texas Property Code § 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.


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