When a Texas landlord or tenant decides to end a lease or rental agreement, she usually needs to give the other party some notice of her decision. The amount of notice required varies and may be as little as a day or as long as a month, depending on the circumstances and the terms of the lease.
Rental and Lease Agreements
In Texas, as in every other state, leases and rental agreements are contracts. Both landlord and tenant are legally bound by their agreement and each has specific rights and responsibilities under their agreement. There are, however, instances in which either party may be able to terminate a lease or rental agreement, usually when the other party fails to uphold his side of the lease.
Tenant's Right to Terminate a Lease
If a landlord fails to make necessary repairs, harasses a tenant or fails to prevent other tenants from interfering with his right to "peace and quiet," the tenant may be able to end his lease early and move from his rental home. Before moving, he should notify his landlord in writing about his concerns. Under Texas law, he must give the landlord a reasonable amount of time (seven days is considered sufficient) to correct a problem. After this, he can move out, though the website of the Texas Attorney General strongly suggests that tenants consult with an attorney prior to doing this. While the tenant may have good cause for leaving, the landlord may still try to sue the tenant for breach of contract. Talking with a lawyer first can spare a tenant a lot of grief.
Landlord's Right to Terminate a Lease
Landlords can refuse to renew leases and rental agreements for any reason, but cannot simply terminate a lease without having grounds for eviction. In Texas, grounds for eviction include a tenant's failure to pay the rent or breaking of property rules. While the landlord must give a tenant written notice of his plans to evict, the amount of notice varies. Texas law provides for a three-day notice, but landlords can shorten this period of time to as little as 24 hours if the lease or rental agreement contains a clause supporting his right to do so.
Notice of Nonrenewal
Leases and rental agreements often include a clause stating the amount of notice that a landlord or tenant must give the other party if he doesn't plan to renew his lease or rental agreement. If a Texas tenant or landlord decides to not renew a lease, he should do so in the time frame specified by this clause in the agreement. If a tenant has a month-to-month lease and his rental agreement does not specify a particular time frame within which to give notice, Texas law allows either the tenant or her landlord to terminate the rental agreement with a 30-day notice. If the 30-day notice does not correspond with the day a tenant's rent is due, the tenant is only required to pay prorated rent for that month.