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Required Security

These devices are required.  The tenant does not have to request them…

Generally, a landlord has the duty to equip residential rental dwellings with the following items, even in the absence of a tenant request:

  • A window latch on each exterior window of the dwelling.
  • A doorknob lock or keyed dead bolt on each exterior door.
  • A sliding door pin lock on each exterior sliding glass door of the dwelling.
  • A sliding door handle latch or a sliding door security bar on each exterior sliding glass door of the dwelling.
  • A keyless bolting device and a door viewer on each exterior door of the dwelling.

Before January 1, 1996, the landlord was required to supply  the window latch and lock or dead bolt identified in items one and two.  Additionally, the landlord had to supply (1) a sliding door pin lock, a sliding door handle latch, or a sliding door security bar on each exterior sliding glass door of the dwelling (if construction of the dwelling was completed before September 1, 1993, and the calendar date was before January 1, 1995); (2) a sliding door pin lock and a sliding door handle latch or a  sliding door security bar on each exterior sliding glass door of the dwelling (if construction of the dwelling was completed on or after September 1, 1993, or the calendar date was January 1, 1995, or later); (3) a keyless bolting device and a door viewer on each exterior door of the dwelling (if initial construction of the  dwelling was completed on or after September 1, 1993); and (4) a keyless bolting device and a door viewer on each exterior door of the  dwelling (if the calendar date was January 1, 1995, or later) [former Prop. C.  § 92.153(a)].

In the case of French doors, special requirements apply. One door must meet the normal standards, and the other must have (1) a keyed dead  bolt or keyless bolting device capable of insertion into the doorjamb above  the door,  and a keyless bolting device capable of insertion into the floor or  threshold, each with a bolt having a throw of one inch or more; or (2) a bolt  installed inside the door and operated from the edge of the door, capable of insertion into the doorjamb above the door, and another bolt installed inside the door and operated from the edge of the door capable of insertion into the  floor or threshold, each bolt having a throw of three-fourths inch or more. The foregoing requirements apply only when a tenant is in possession of a dwelling.

The devices must be installed at the landlord’s  expense. While a security device required by Texas Property Code Section 92.153 must be operable throughout the time a tenant is in possession of a dwelling, a landlord may deactivate or remove the locking mechanism of a doorknob lock or remove any device not qualifying as a keyless bolting device if a keyed dead bolt has been installed on the same door.

There are situations in which the landlord is not required to install certain security devices at the landlord’s expense. First, the landlord need  not install a keyless bolting device on an exterior door if (1) the dwelling is part of a multiunit complex in which the majority of dwelling units are leased to tenants who are over 55 years of age or who have a  physical or mental disability; (2) the tenant or occupant in the dwelling is over 55 years of age or has a physical or mental disability; and (3) the landlord is expressly required or permitted to check periodically on the well-being or health of the tenant as part of a written lease or other written agreement. Second, a keyless bolting device need not be installed at the landlord’s expense if a  tenant or occupant in the dwelling is over 55 years of age or has a physical or mental  disability, and certain requirements are met. The tenant must request, in  writing, that the landlord deactivate or not install the keyless bolting  device, certifying the tenant’s age or disability. The request must be a separate document and may not be included as part of a lease agreement. A landlord is not exempt if the landlord knows or has reason to know that the  requirements of this exemption are not fulfilled. Third, the landlord is not required to install a keyed dead bolt or doorknob lock on an exterior door if, at the time the tenant agrees to lease the dwelling, (1) at least one exterior door usable for normal entry into the dwelling has both a proper keyed dead bolt and a keyless bolting device; and (2) all other exterior doors have an approved keyless bolting device.

A security device operated by a key, card, or combination must  be rekeyed by the landlord at the landlord’s expense not later than the seventh  day after each tenant turnover date. A landlord must perform additional rekeying or change a security device at the tenant’s expense, if  requested to do so. A tenant may make an unlimited number of requests. The expense of rekeying security devices for purposes of the use or change of the  landlord’s master key must be paid by the landlord. Locks on closet doors or  other  interior doors are not governed by these rules.

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