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Legal Information: Texas

Housing Laws

November 5, 2020

Who is protected by this housing law? What protections does this law offer?

If you (the tenant) are a victim of family violence (as defined by law), or if an occupant who is living in your home with the landlord’s consent is a victim of family violence, you may be eligible to terminate your lease without penalty.1 To terminate your lease, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. you have one of the following:
    1. a temporary or permanent family violence protective order (explained here);
    2. a temporary injunction, issued as part of divorce proceeding that meets the terms of TX Family Code § 6.501;
    3. a magistrate’s order of emergency protection issued after the abuser was arrested for an offense involving family violence, sexual assault, stalking, or trafficking;
    4. documentation of family violence against you (the tenant) or an occupant from any of the following people:
      • a licensed health care services provider who examined the victim;
      • a licensed mental health services provider who examined or evaluated the victim; or
      • an advocate who assisted the victim;
  2. you must give the landlord a copy of one of the above-mentioned orders or documentation;
  3. at least 30 days before the date on which you intend to end the lease, you must give the landlord written notice in which you state your plans to terminate the lease; and
  4. you vacate (leave) the apartment or home on the day that you indicated in step # 3.2

If the abuser is a co-tenant or occupant of your residence, you do not have to give the landlord 30 days’ advance notice of your lease termination. Instead, you can terminate your lease by completing steps #1 and #2, above, and you must vacate (leave) the apartment or home.3

1 Tex. Property Code § 92.016(a)(2)
2 Tex. Property Code § 92.016(b), (b-1), (c)
3 Tex. Property Code § 92.016(c-1)