Failure to Repair Cases:
Most landlords have an obligation under the Texas Property Code and under their lease to make repairs. Under the Texas Property Code, landlords are required (subject to a few rare exceptions) to repair conditions which "materially affect the health or safety of an ordinary tenant." A landlord is also obligated to make any repairs required by their lease agreement. 

What happens if a landlord won't repair a dangerous condition?

If you've properly requested that your landlord make repairs to a dangerous condition (see below) and your landlord won't make those repairs, Section 92.0563 of the Texas Property Code entitles you to the following judicial remedies:
  • You can get a court order telling your landlord to make the repairs;
  • You can get a court order reducing your rent going forward until the landlord makes the repairs;
  • You can recover one month's rent plus five hundred dollars as a civil penalty;
  • You can recover your actual damages (which includes the difference between what the house is worth without repairs and what you've been paying for it). 
  • You can recover your reasonable attorneys fees. 
Moreover, if you want, you can terminate your lease and move out (and still sue for the civil penalty, your actual damages, and your attorneys fees). Section 92.0561 also contains some additional remedies, though these are easy to screw up, require you to spend your own money, and are generally a bad idea.

Finally, even if the condition in your home isn't dangerous, your landlord still may have promised to fix it under the lease. In that case, you may have a claim against your landlord for breach of contract may be liable for breach of contract. 

How can a tenant legally obligate their landlord to make requested repairs?

Sadly, Texas law is against tenants when it comes to repairs. It's not enough for a tenant to simply request a repair - the repair must be requested in the RIGHT WAY. If you don't follow the proper steps to request a repair your landlord has no obligation to make repairs, even if they know that the condition in your apartment is putting you in danger.

For repairs under the property code, Section 92.056 of the Texas Property Code provides the proper procedure. Under that section, a tenant must be up on their rent to even request repairs. Even then the repair provisions can be complex, often requiring multiple repair notices. The best approach is to always send your request for repairs by certified mail. More information on properly requesting repairs can be found here. 
  

What assistance can the Dingman Law Firm offer tenants seeking repairs?

If a tenant has properly requested that their landlord make repairs and the landlord fails to do so, the tenant's best option is often to file suit to enforce the landlord's repair obligation. For more information, apply now for a free case evaluation




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