If you own rental property in Houston, you know that all sorts of issues can crop up, from problem tenants, to maintenance and repairs, to dealing with security deposits, you need an array of resources to draw from. And while you don’t need to know the answers to all your questions, you do need to know where to look. Here’s a list on online resources related to landlord-tenant law in Texas and Houston that might come in handy:
An outstanding resource for landlords, property managers, and tenants, the Texas Law Library’s Landlord/Tenant Law Guide offers direct links to statutes as well as information in “plain english.” They include:
- fact sheets from the Austin Tenant’s Council (which are just as helpful to rental owners as they explain the rights and duties of both landlord and tenant),
- Landlord-Tenants guide from Texas A&M Real Estate Center,
- and links to eviction resources.
If its seems that many of the resources are geared towards tenants, you’re right. However, those same resources are helpful for landlords as they lay out what your rights and obligations are, in easy-to-understand language.
The Houston Apartment Association is a resource and advocate for rental housing owners. To that end, the Association has put together a list of fair housing resources for rental owners. While geared towards large multi-family apartment situations, the resources are equally applicable to the independent landlord. And while you’re on the HAA site, check out their other resources.
We should note that the link to the Greater Houston Fair Housing Council appears to be inactive as of this writing, so we provide it above. Again, you’ll not that the GHFHC is geared towards renters. We’ll reiterate that the information is just as useful to landlords who wish to comply with fair housing laws. And in our experience, these organizations are very interested in helping landlords comply with the fair housing laws.
In addition, the City of Houston has a fair housing hotline that’s open to landlords and tenants. Call them if you have any fair housing law questions — you definitely don’t want to find out the hard way if you’ve been inadvertently violating the law.
There are conflicting reports on whether or not Houston is a good market for real estate investing.
Based on a new report from HomeUnion, Houston is one of the best cities in the US to invest in rental property. That source claims that although oil prices have led to substantial layoffs in the area, Houston’s status as a biotech hub and leader in the medical and research fields provide diversity and stability to its economy.
However, the impact of the oil slump on the housing market has been felt. The rate at which home prices were increasing has slowed, and in some areas has even dipped. And according to Zilllow, rent growth has also slowed.
About Houston’s Neighborhoods
With over 2 million residents, Houston is the largest city in Texas.
When it comes to buying investment property, Houston’s neighborhoods offer lots of variety. Assuming you’re not looking to buy a high-end luxury rental property, we’ve take the liberty of describing some of Houston’s neighborhoods to consider when looking for a rental investment property. Keep in mind that some estimates put the number of neighborhoods at over 600, so this is just the tip of the iceberg.
- Highland Heights: with an average monthly rent of about $700, this Houston neighborhood offers more affordable rentals and a good mix of owner and renter occupied residences. Although it’s vacancy rate is higher than the US average, it’s lower than some other Houston neighborhoods.
- Alief: singles, families, and retirees live in this diverse, older Houston neighborhood. Known for more affordable rentals, there is good access to public transportation. Community colleges are in the area. According to NeighborhoodScout.com, average monthly rent in Alief is $852. Although lots of renters live in Alief, the rental vacancy rate is on the high side. Many jobs are in the sales and services industries, and incomes are low to average.
- Clear Lake: one of the most popular suburban neighborhoods in Houston, and home to the University of Houston-Clear Lake, this neighborhood is popular with families, offering great schools and low crime rates. The neighborhood is known for being relatively wealthy, with most homes being owner-occupied. The average monthly rent is $1,557.
- Foster Place: one of the more affordable Houston neighborhoods, the average monthly rent in Foster place is $625 and the median price for a home is just under $94,000. This older neighborhood is comprised of mostly smaller single-family homes and apartments. The vacancy rate is pretty high in this mostly low-income area.
Help From the Property Management Experts
If you’re seriously considering investing in Houston rental real estate, a realtor experienced in rental investments and property management can be a wealth of information. You can find out about the neighborhoods that offer the best returns on investment, best resale, and the neighborhoods that attract the best renters. If you decide you want to self-manage your rental, your realtor will help you find properties that are closer to your home and suggest other considerations, such as whether you want a property that doesn’t require much maintenance.
To find out more about self-managing a rental property in Houston, or hiring a property management company to help you, stay tuned.
Image of Panoramic view of the Downtown Houston skyline. By – Own work
CC BY-SA 3.0