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If You Have Problems

by | Aug 25, 2011 | Renter's Rights, Renting 101 | 0 comments

The Texas Attorney General provides steps to follow if you have problems with your apartment lease.

If the landlord won’t make repairs needed to protect your health, safety, or security, and you follow the procedures required by law, you may be entitled to:

  • End the lease;
  • Have the problem repaired and deduct the cost of the repair from the rent; or
  • File suit to force the landlord to make the repairs.

You MUST Follow These Steps:

  1. Send the landlord a dated letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by registered mail, outlining the needed repairs. You may also deliver the letter in person. Keep a copy of the letter. Be sure that your rent is current when the notice is received.
  2. Your landlord should make a diligent effort to repair the problem within a reasonable time after receipt of the notice. The law presumes seven days to be a reasonable time, but the landlord can rebut this presumption. If the landlord has not made a diligent effort to complete the repair within seven days and you did not have the first notice letter delivered to your landlord via certified mail, return receipt requested, or via registered mail, you will need to send a second notice letter regarding the needed repairs.
  3. If the landlord still has not made diligent efforts to repair the problem within a reasonable time after receipt of the notice letter sent by certified mail, return receipt requested or by registered mail, you may be entitled to terminate the lease, repair the problem and deduct the cost from your rent, or get a court to order that the repairs be made. You should consult with an attorney before taking any of these actions.

Under Texas law, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against you for complaining in good faith about necessary repairs for a period of six months from the date you made such a complaint. Of course, you can always be evicted if you fail to pay your rent on time, threaten the safety of the landlord or intentionally damage the property.

You do not have a right to withhold rent because the landlord fails to make repairs when the condition needing repair does not materially affect your health and safety. If you try this method, the landlord may file suit against you.

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