Texas law requires landlords to refund security deposits within 30 days (60 days for commercial tenants) from the day the leased premises is surrendered by the tenant. However, the landlord is allowed to retain all or a portion of the security deposit for damages to the property (not including normal wear and tear) if the lease so allows. If the landlord deducts any amount from the security deposit, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a written description and itemized list of all deductions provided (1) the tenant does not owe rent (2) there is no controversy concerning the amount of rent owed and (3) tenant provides landlord with a forwarding address.
A landlord who in bad faith** retains a security deposit in violation of the law is liable for an amount equal to the sum of $100, three times the portion of the deposit wrongfully withheld, and the tenant's reasonable attorney's fees in a suit to recover the deposit.
Furthermore, a landlord who in bad faith does not provide a written description and itemized list of damages and charges in violation of the law: (1) forfeits the right to withhold any portion of the security deposit or to bring suit against the tenant for damages to the premises; and (2) is liable for the tenant's reasonable attorney's fees in a suit to recover the deposit.
**A landlord who fails either to return a security deposit or to provide a written description and itemization of deductions on or before the 30th day after the date the tenant surrenders possession (60 days for commercial tenants) is presumed to have acted in bad faith.
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