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Texas Lock Requirements for Rental Properties

If you are confused about the Texas entry lock requirements for rentals to be installed on rental properties here is a summary to help you better understand what is needed.

 

Landlords in Texas are required to install keyless locking devices as per the Texas Property Code, section 92, subchapter D. Most rental properties must have several security devices in place while a tenant is in possession of the property or the landlord could potentially face liability.

 

Security Devices Under Subchapter D

The following is a listing of security devices that the landlord must install without request from the tenant at the landlord’s expense.

  • A window latch on eachexterior window;
  • A doorknob lock orkeyed dead bolt on each exterior door;
  • A sliding door pin lock on eachexterior sliding glass door;
  • A sliding door handle latch ora sliding door security bar on each exterior sliding glass door; and
  • A one sided deadbolt on eachexterior door.
  • A door viewer on each exterior door.

 

An “exterior door” is defined as a door providing access from a dwelling interior to the exterior. The term includes a door between a living area and a garage, but does not include a sliding glass door or a screen door.

 If the rental property has French doors, one door of each pair of French doors must meet the “category 1” requirements and the other door must have:

  1. keyed dead bolt or keyless bolting device capable of insertion into the doorjamb above the door anda 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.

“French doors” means a set of two exterior doors in which each door is hinged and abuts the other door when closed. The term includes double-hinged patio doors.

Note: These requirements apply only when the tenant is in possession of the property.

 

Lock definitions

doorknob lock is operated from the exterior by a key, card or combination and from the interior without a key, card or combination.

A “door viewer” is a permanently installed device in an exterior door that allows a person inside the dwelling to view a person outside the door. The device must be:

(A) a clear glass pane or one-way mirror; or

(B) a peephole having a barrel with a one-way lens of glass or other substance providing an angle view of not less than 160 degrees.

A “keyed dead bolt” is:

(A) a door lock not in the doorknob that:

(i) locks with a bolt into the doorjamb; and

(ii) is operated from the exterior by a key, card, or combination and from the interior by a knob or lever without a key, card, or combination; or

(B) a doorknob lock that contains a bolt with at least a one-inch throw.

 

A “keyless bolting device” is a door lock not in the doorknob that locks:

(B)  by a drop bolt system operated by placing a central metal plate over a metal doorjamb restraint that protrudes from the doorjamb and that is affixed to the doorjamb frame by means of three case-hardened screws at least three inches in length. One-half of the central plate must overlap the interior surface of the door and the other half of the central plate must overlap the doorjamb when the plate is placed over the doorjamb restraint. The drop bolt system must prevent the door from being opened unless the central plate is lifted off of the doorjamb restraint by a person who is on the interior side of the door.

The term “keyless bolting device” does not include a chain latch, flip latch, surface-mounted slide bolt, mortise door bolt, surface-mounted barrel bolt, surface-mounted swing bar door guard, spring-loaded nightlatch, foot bolt, or other lock or latch.

 (C)  by a metal bar or metal tube that is placed across the entire interior side of the door and secured in place at each end of the bar or tube by heavy-duty metal screw hooks. The screw hooks must be at least three inches in length and must be screwed into the door frame stud or wall stud on each side of the door. The bar or tube must be capable of being secured to both of the screw hooks and must be permanently attached in some way to the door frame stud or wall stud. When secured to the screw hooks, the bar or tube must prevent the door from being opened unless the bar or tube is removed by a person who is on the interior side of the door.

A “sliding door pin lock” is a lock on a sliding glass door that consists of a pin or nail inserted from the interior side of the door at the side opposite the door’s handle and that is designed to prevent the door from being opened or lifted.

A “sliding door security bar” is a bar or rod that can be placed at the bottom of or across the interior side of the fixed panel of a sliding glass door and that is designed to prevent the door from being opened.

A “window latch” is a device on a window that prevents the window from being opened and that is operated without a key and only from the interior.

 

Smoke Detectors Under Subchapter F

 

Smoke detectors are required by state law and local ordinances. For information on whether your community has adopted such ordinances, consult your local building, fire or housing codes. Barring some exceptions, at least one smoke detector must be installed by the landlord outside of each bedroom.  If several bedrooms are served by the same corridor, one smoke detector may be installed in the corridor in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms. Furthermore a smoke detector is also required inside each bedroom. In an efficiency apartment where the same room is used for dining, living, and sleeping purposes, the smoke detector must be located inside rather than outside the room. If there is a bedroom above the living or cooking area, a detector must be placed on the ceiling above the stairway.

 

Bear in mind that there are also placement specifications for the required security hardware and smoke detectors.  For more specific information please see the Texas Property Code Sec 92.