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By Lindsey Hoover
Updated on May 19, 2022
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff, Staff Editor.
In Texas, there are no rent control laws in place, meaning a landlord can raise your rent by however much they want. However, if you’ve signed a fix-term lease with your landlord, it’s illegal for them to increase rent before the term expires.
Across the country, rent prices are on a steep climb—and Texas is no exception. From 2021 to 2022, cities like Austin and Amarillo saw a 45% to 52% increase in one-bedroom rent prices, which is almost double the national average.
If you call Texas home, staying informed on state-specific rental laws, including rent control policies, could help mitigate stress related to living in the Lone Star State. That’s where Jerry comes in.
Jerry is known for helping customers find great car insurance coverage at an affordable rate. But that’s not all Jerry does. Here, we present renters in Texas with the information they need to know when it comes to landlords raising rent in the Lone Star State.
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How much can a landlord raise rent in Texas?
In Texas, a landlord can raise your rent by however much they wish.
Texas is one of the biggest states in the country and is home to almost 30 million people. If you call Texas home, one thing that might surprise you is the state’s rent control laws—there are currently no rent stabilization and rent control laws in place, which means a landlord has the right to increase rent however much they want.
However, there are stipulations a landlord must follow when dealing with tenants, specifically regarding rent prices. If you have a fixed-term lease, it’s illegal for a landlord to increase your rent during the term. But once your lease has expired, landlords have the right to adjust your rent price without any written notice.
How much notice does a landlord need to give before they raise the rent?
Unlike most other states, Texas law doesn’t require a landlord to notify their tenants of a rent increase. The only exception to the law is if you’re operating on a month-to-month lease.
If you’re operating under a fixed-term lease in Texas, a landlord isn’t required to notify you of a rent hike when your lease expires. However, if your landlord increases rent before the agreed-upon expiration date, you have the legal right to object to the increase (more details below).
But not everyone is on a fixed-term lease. If you're a renter who operates under a month-to-month lease, Texas law permits your landlord the right to increase your rent at any time, but they’ll need to give you at least a 30-day written notice prior to their adjustment.
When is it illegal to raise rent in Texas?
Landlords in Texas must legally abide by Texas Fair Housing Laws. It’s also illegal for a landlord to increase your rent in the following instances:
- Before the expiration of a fixed-term lease (excluding month-to-month leases)
- As punishment (retaliation) for a tenant exercising their legal rights (e.g., complaining to a government agency, joining a tenant’s union, withholding rent due to an uninhabitable unit)
- As discrimination against Texas’ protected classes—including discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, religion, genetic information, and citizenship status
How to respond to a rent increase
Rent hikes are almost impossible to avoid, but knowing whether your landlord is abiding by the law will help you respond to the increase appropriately. Below we list several different ways to respond to a rent increase, including illegal rent hikes:
- If your landlord increases your rent as a form of discrimination or retaliation, you should file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). You can also look into hiring a lawyer.
- If your landlord increases your rent before the expiration of your fixed-term lease, you have the right to file a lawsuit against your landlord.
- If your landlord increases your rent, and you want to remain on the property, you can try to negotiate a lower rate or pay the new rate (if your finances allow you to do so).
How to save money to deal with a rent hike
Whether you live in Austin, Houston, or somewhere else in the Lone Star State, rent increases are impossible to avoid. However, there are numerous ways you can lower costs associated with renting or owning a home—one of those ways is by using insurance super app Jerry.
As a licensed broker and the #1 rated insurance app on the market today, Jerry specializes in finding you customized insurance quotes in just under one minute.
It’s simple: once you download the app and enter your information, Jerry will provide you with quotes from dozens of the top insurance companies. You make your pick and Jerry takes care of the rest.
With Jerry, there’s no calling around and no long forms—just monthly savings that make renting less stressful.
“Jerry was wonderful! I used it for my auto and renters policies. I trusted it so much that I signed up my homeowners insurance under Jerry as well. All of the agents are amazingly nice and knowledgeable.” —Mary Y.
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Can my landlord raise my rent during the pandemic?
Yes. In Texas, there are no rent control laws in place, meaning that once your lease has expired a landlord can increase your rent by however much they see fit (even during the COVID-19 pandemic). If you’re faced with an unmanageable rent hike, you can search for a rental assistance program in your area—state and local organizations may be able to help pay costs associated with rent and bills.
What is the average rent increase per year in Texas?
Rent in the Lone Star State increases about 15% per year. However, if you live in a more metropolitan area, your rent will likely soar much higher than the state average. For example, rents in Austin climbed 47% from 2021 to 2022.