A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Texas Property Code Locks
Responsible property managers know their buildings must meet certain code requirements to stay open. What many may not know is that there are regulations for how and when to install locks and security devices.
Proper Texas property code locks are secure and meet all the requirements. They keep intruders out and make sure that tenants can enter.
Texas property code covers the entire property management process. It contains plenty of provisions on how to manage buildings safely and effectively.
The property code outlines the responsibilities of both the tenant and the landlord. It also dictates what kinds of locks and security devices must be installed.
Disobeying property code law decreases the safety of tenants and the reputation of the landlord. The only way to avoid these issues is to know and follow all the regulations.
Read our guide to Texas property code for locks to understand what the requirements are and what happens if they’re ignored.
Requirements for Texas Locks
Texas property code dictates which locks and security devices must be installed. It also regulates how and where to place them.
Keyed deadbolts and keyless bolting devices both have height regulations. They must be no lower than 36 inches from the ground and no higher than 36 inches.
Some requirements relate to the way a lock is made. Keyed deadbolts and keyless bolting devices must have a bolt with a throw of at least an inch. This keeps them strong and helps them do their job.
Sliding door pin locks also have height requirements. They can be no higher than 54 inches off the ground.
Knowing how to install locks and security devices is just as important as knowing which ones to choose. Check out the rest of our content for more information on what kind of lock to install and instructions for installing deadbolts.
Who Texas Property Code Locks Laws Apply To
There is an exception to every rule and every law, and knowing these loopholes is important. Certain Texas property codes do not apply to every resident or in every situation. There are three major exceptions.
Rooms in temporary housing like motels or inns are one example. Another is dorms or other public housing owned by a school or university or prep school. The final exception results from an agreement where the buyer or seller occupies a home before or after closing for no more than 90 days.
Texas property code does apply to most other residences. These include dormitory rooms, mobile homes, duplexes, apartments, condos, and more.
Some landlords manage more than one type of building. They must look at each one individually and determine what property codes apply to it. Otherwise, they cannot remain compliant and the safety of their tenants and the reputation of their business may suffer.
Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities
Tenants sign an agreement with their landlord when they move into a property. This creates a mutual relationship of trust and responsibility. Both sides must work together to increase safety and stay compliant with property codes.
Landlords manage the properties they own. In doing so, they must ensure the buildings are safe, hospitable places that meet all property code requirements. Texas property code tells them how to do so.
Certain security devices are mandatory for every building. Landlords must install them and any additional ones their tenants request. They must also change locks and provide new keys to any new tenants to increase security.
Texas property codes also include important regulations for tenants. Their responsibilities include more than paying rent.
Tenants must provide copies of the keys to any devices they install or rekey if the landlord asks them to. They are also forbidden from removing, replacing, or repairing already existing devices without the landlord’s permission.
Regulating the behavior of landlords and tenants benefits everyone on the property. It keeps them all safe and compliant with property codes.
Required Security Devices
Texas property code locks are necessary security measures, but the law requires more. It also mandates the installation of certain security devices and tells a landlord what to do if a tenant asks for an additional device.
Even the smallest apartment contains various components. Each one requires its own security measure. Any part of the home that someone could enter through without permission must have some sort of security device placed on it.
Every exterior window must have a window latch to keep intruders from opening them. Exterior doors require a keyhole, doorknob lock, keyed deadbolt, and/or keyless bolting device.
Not every door is identical, and different styles require their own security devices. Sliding doors need a door pin lock. French doors need either a keyed deadbolt or two bolts installed on the inside.
Property code requires that landlords must install these mandatory security devices. They must do so using their own money.
Requested Security Devices
Landlords should always install the minimum security measures in any building they manage. It keeps tenants safe and is an essential part of following property code.
Some tenants may want additional protection and ask for more security devices. Texas property code also regulates how a landlord should handle these requests.
The law states that a tenant’s requests for more security devices must be honored. This applies even if the mandatory devices are already in place.
Landlords must add a keyed deadbolt at the tenant’s request, even if the door already has a doorknob lock or keyless locking device. They must also honor requests to add sliding door handle latches or security bars to sliding doors that don’t have one.
Security device and lock regulations are an important part of any property code. They keep the building secure and prevent anyone but the tenant or landlord from entering.
Repairing and Replacing Security Devices
Security devices are electronic pieces of equipment that may fall into disrepair or stop working at any time. The property code of Texas outlines how and when they must be replaced and/or repaired.
One of the landlord’s most important responsibilities is to ensure that everything on the premises is in working order and to fix any damages. This applies to security devices as well, and they must handle any issues the tenant reports.
Landlords can charge tenants for repairs or replacements of security devices, but only in certain circumstances. The tenant only has to pay if they or their guests are responsible for the device malfunctioning.
Keeping important security devices up and running is an important step in property management. That is why property codes regulate and require it.
Locking Tenants Out
Landlords must choose a course of action when tenants fail to pay rent. One option is locking them out temporarily. It should be used as a last resort because of its significant disadvantages.
One major issue with choosing a lockout is the short timeframe it’s allowed for. Tenants can only legally be locked out of a building for 24 hours.
Another disadvantage of the lockout process is the time and effort it requires. A landlord must notify the tenant in advance and provide a new key when they return.
It may be legal to lock a tenant out of a building, but it’s not always the best choice. Landlords should instead consider other methods. They could reach a compromise, but it may be necessary to evict the tenant if the issue continues.
Replacing keys is a process known as rekeying. It is also regulated by Texas property code.
When a new tenant arrives, all security devices in the building must be rekeyed. Their key, card, or combination lock replaced. The landlord must pay for the replacement with their own money before the new tenant arrives.
Landlords must also provide any security device the tenants ask for. This can mean obtaining a new set of keys as well. In this situation, the tenant bears the financial responsibility for the equipment.
Damaged or lost keys or locks are another reason for rekeying. Tenants who can’t enter the premises will be angry, so landlords should provide a new key and/or get the lock fixed by a professional locksmith as soon as possible.
There is no need to handle the complex process of rekeying on your own. Check out our rekeying services and let us handle it for you.
What Happens If You Violate the Law
Disobeying the law always comes with consequences, and this applies to property codes as well. There can be major repercussions for anyone who violates any part of it.
One of the most common punishments is having a lease agreement rendered null and void. The tenant can leave the property at any time if the landlord is not following code regulations. This leaves the property empty which means less revenue coming in.
There are also legal repercussions for violating the property code in Texas. This can include up to a month’s rent plus $500. If the case goes to court, the landlord may have to pay legal fees and monetary damages.
There is an easy way to avoid expensive legal battles that also negatively impact your business’s reputation. Landlords and tenants must understand and obey the property code. If they do, the building will remain safe and compliant.
Tenants have rights as well as responsibilities. They’re entitled to a safe place to live. A landlord who ignores property code is not providing this, meaning that their tenants are allowed to seek repercussions.
Landlords cannot deactivate or refuse to install a keyless bolting device. These are necessary security measures for almost all exterior doors. Tenants can seek remedies if they’re not installed.
Some landlords will refuse to install, replace, or rekey a security device. The tenant can take action against this negligence in any of three different ways. They can do the work themselves with the costs taken off their next rent payment, terminate their lease, and/or take the issue to court.
Tenants sometimes press charges when no laws have been broken. Innocent landlords can use the exceptions outlined in Texas property codes as their defense.
Tenants forfeit some of their rights when they refuse to pay rent and/or the cost for terminating a lease. In this case, the landlord isn’t required to install or rekey a requested device. They cannot be held legally responsible or forced to pay damages, as it is not a case of negligence on their part.
Preparation is an important part of the legal process. Whether it’s a tenant seeking remedies or a landlord charged unfairly, knowing the law is the best way to keep it from harming you.
Why Texas Property Codes Matter
Understanding and obeying the property code of Texas is important. It’s necessary for effective tenancy and/or property management. It’s also important to understand why the laws are important and why they were created in the first place.
Texas property code protects buildings and their residents, increasing safety. They do this by regulating things like the installation of security devices and the distribution of keys. These preventative measures help ensure tenants live in a secure area.
A landlord’s properties make up their business. No one wants a reputation for owning buildings that don’t measure up to property code. It negatively affects business and decreases sales.
There are also legal repercussions for disobeying property code in Texas. Not knowing the law is not enough to keep from being charged, making it essential to understand all the requirements.
Following Texas property codes to the letter provides numerous benefits. It keeps tenants safe, ensuring that no unauthorized persons can enter the property. It also keeps the landlord’s reputation clean and prevents them from having to face legal repercussions.
Where to Get Help
Following property codes keeps tenants safe and happy. It also improves the landlord’s reputation and keeps them from facing a messy legal battle.
Texas property code locks are secure and effective but not foolproof. Someone must be on hand to fix them if they malfunction, tenants get locked out, or they must be replaced.
Even the best locks will occasionally fail, making a professional locksmith service a necessity. They help ensure that tenants don’t get locked out and no intruders enter. Request our services to secure your buildings today.