New Texas Law Limits “Rent To Own” Theft Charges

A new law in Texas is going to make it more difficult to arrest people who fail to complete rent to own contracts. Have you ever bought furniture on a “rent to own” basis? Where you made monthly payments to a store, and then after a year or two owned the item? If you couldn’t afford the payments any longer, would that turn you into a criminal?

In Texas, the answer is yes. Companies do file criminal charges against people who had failed to pay out rental contracts on items, even if they never intended to steal anything. Treating renters behind on their finances as criminals is stupidly evil, but par for the course in Texas criminal justice.

What’s the new law on rent to own theft in Texas?

Texas House Bill 2524 goes into effect on September 1st, and removes most consumer rental agreements from the Theft of Service Statute.

What does 2524 change? These following agreements are no longer included in the “intent to avoid payment” part of the Theft of Service law (31.04). So you won’t be deemed to have intended to steal something if you miss payments for the following types of agreements.

       (d-2)  For purposes of Subsection (a)(3), the term “written
rental agreement” does not include an agreement that:
             (1)  permits an individual to use personal property for
personal, family, or household purposes for an initial rental
             (2)  is automatically renewable with each payment after
the initial rental period; and
             (3)  permits the individual to become the owner of the


Contact Information