306 views | 4 | Last updated on Mar 10, 2020 Landlord/Tenant Law
Unless there was an explicit agreement at the time that you signed the lease, a security deposit is not rent and instead is a way for a landlord to ensure that costs to repair any damage to the property will be paid for.
Section 92.108 of the Texas Property Code prohibits tenants from withholding the last month’s rent on the grounds that the security deposit is for unpaid rent. If a person violates this law, they may be liable for three times the amount of money withheld plus attorney’s fees.
One exception to this is when a tenant ends the lease due to a landlord’s failure to repair a condition that could affect their health or safety (found in Texas Property Code Section 92.056). In this case, the tenant may deduct the amount of their security deposit from the rent that they owe, or they may obtain a refund of their security deposit.
For more information please see Texas Tenant Advisor's article on security deposits. The library also has more information about landlord/tenant law on our research guide to Texas landlord/tenant law.