Home Buying in Houston>Question Details

Jigang, Renter in Houston, TX

question about property tax

Asked by Jigang, Houston, TX Mon Dec 17, 2012

I heard of the property tax. If I buy a house to let, who should pay the tax, the landlord or the tenant? Should I pay the tax if the house is unoccupied?

Help the community by answering this question:


Property tax on residential properties is normally paid by the owner.
On commercial properties it could be either owner or tenant.
You will often see on commercial properties the rent listed as NNN or Triple Net.
This means the tenant is paying the taxes, maintenance, and insurance.
I've never seen that for residential properties.
You're still paying even if unoccupied.

You also typically will pay building insurance....the tenant can pay for renter's insurance for their items.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 21, 2012
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
It is always the owners responsibility to pay any and all property taxes. What you receive in rent offsets any mortgage, taxes and insurance but that has nothing to do with paying applicable taxes. Taxes are always due regardless if the house is occupied or not.

I would recommend you work on educating yourself because owning a home for rent has a lot of possible pitfalls and you really need to have a good general foundation of how things work. A good Realtor may be able to help you and I would also recommend reading some books on the subject.

Best of luck to you,
Don Groff
REALTOR® | Mortgage Broker
Keller Williams Realty | 360 Lending Group
o 512.669.5599 m 512.633.4157
listings@dongroff.com | http://www.AustinListed.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 18, 2012
Ditto to the prior answers. The property owner is responsible to pay. Some variations may exist with certain commercial leases. --- Here are a few basics everyone should know. ---

To get a better understanding of property taxes in Texas, you should review this guide to understanding property taxes. > http://hcad.org/Help/Process/Guide.asp.

Various jurisdictions that have the authority to tax each property as well as tax rates (to calculate taxes) can be found by searching for the property on the appraisal district web site. Most county appraisal district links can be found at hcad.org.

Make note of the property value each year. The valuation date for property taxes in Texas is Jan 1 of each year (actual values are posted usually from February to March; sometimes later). If you feel the value is too high, you should file a protest with the local county appraisal district. The deadlines to protest are here > http://hcad.org/Help/Process/Calendar.asp. Penalties are pretty stiff for late payment.

I have a fairly extensive knowledge of property taxes. If you have additional questions or need assistance in protesting, feel free to call.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
Hello Jigang, property taxes are the responsibility of the person who owns the home, so if you are renting, you will be paying the taxes, since the home is under your name. Generally, landlords charge enough rent to cover taxes and any other fees that may be imposed in that area.

If the house is not occupied, then you will be covering the mortgage amount and the taxes/fees that go with it.

Taxes are due at the end of each year and you generally have an idea of approximately how much you will owe. Since you intend to rent, you will not be able to claim a homestead exemption.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
In addition to the comments below I will caution you that some areas have a higher tax rate than others and if there is a MUD (municipal utility district) tax it can be higher as well. Make sure you have a clear idea of the taxes you will owe if you purchase a property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012

You must pay property taxes on any home you own. Regardless if you live inside of it, rented out of vacant. Their might be some discounts on the property you live in once you file a homestead exemption, typically you will pay the full amount on a rental home.

When you lease a home, make sure the rent covers your property taxes along with the mortgage, insurance and a little for future repairs. Most taxes disclosed on web sites such as Trulia are of the full amount and will be prorated at closing.

If your looking to purchase an investment property, please reach out to us as we can assist you in finding that home and advise on tax issues plus a lot more!

Mark McNitt
m 832-567-4357
Bernstein Realty, Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
You, as the owner of the property, are responsible for the taxes. You should charge enough rent to cover all your expenses - payment, property taxes, insurance, etc. As long as you own the property, you pay the taxes, occupied or not.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
The most simple answer is - yes, all of the rentals that I've come across, the landlord pays for the common charges and real estate tax and the maintenance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
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