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HELP!!!  I Need Repairs...
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc.

Does  my  landlord  have  to  make repairs?
By Texas law, the landlord is only required to  repair  problems  that  affect  the  physical  health or safety of an ordinary tenant This includes    conditions  such  as  rats,  sewage  leaks,  roof  leaks,  and  faulty  wiring.    Landlords  are   not   required   to   provide   security   guards.  Tenants  who  are  disabled  and  have special repair needs may be able to obtain   these   repairs   under   the   Fair   Housing Act.  [See Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc.pamphlet entitled, My Landlord is Discriminating Against Me.

For  problems  that  do  not  affect  your  physical health or safety, there is not an obligation   for   the   landlord   to   repair,   unless it is specifically stated in the lease. Most  leases  do  require  the  landlord  to  make such repairs. Additionally,  large  cities  in  Texas  have  their   own   housing   codes   which   set   minimum basic standards for housing.  If you are concerned that your rental unit is below   the   minimum   basic   standards,   contact      the      building     inspection  department in your city.

When   can   my   landlord  refuse to make repairs?
If you are delinquent on your rent payments, the  landlord  does  nothave  to  make  any  
repairs  to  the  property.  Always  pay  your rent on time.

If you are delinquent on your rent payments, the landlord does not have to make any repairs to the property.  Always pay your rent on time.

If you, someone else listed on the lease, a member of your family, or a guest cause the problem, he landlord does  not have to make repairs, even if it threatens your health or  safety.    If  the  normal  wear  and  tear  of  living  in  the  unit  caused  the  problem,  the  landlord is responsible for the problem if it affects health and safety.

If the repairs are needed because of a fire, hail storm, flood, etc., and the landlord has insurance for the damage, the landlord does not  have  to  begin  repairs  until  she  has  
received the insurance money.  If you can no longer  live  in  the  unit,  either  you  or  the  
landlord  can  terminate  the  lease  without  penalty by giving written notice to the other.

What should I do to get my landlord to make the repairs? For conditions that threaten your  health or safety?

You  must  give  written  notice  to  your  landlord about the problem. You should be   very   specific   about   the   repairs   needed.  Request  that  the  repairs  be  made  in  7  days  and  ask  for  a  written  explanation  from  the  landlord  if  the  repairs cannot be made by the deadline. Send the notice by certified mail, return  receipt  requested, or registered mail to the landlord and keep a copy for your records. Make sure you have paid all your rent and continue to pay your rent on time.  

The landlord can begin the eviction process if you have not paid all your rent.

You must wait a reasonable time for the  landlord  to  make  the  repairs. Seven  days  is  presumed  to  be  a  reasonable  time.    It  is  up  to  the  landlord to show why it took longer if
the landlord requires more than seven days to repair. If  you  did  not send  your  notice  by  
certified or registered mail, you must send a second notice to the landlord about  the  repairs  needed.   Give a 7 day deadline and say you are going to terminate the lease, file suit, or use
repair  and  deduct  remedies, if  the  repairs are not made by the deadline you set.  Remember to keep a copy of the notice. For repairs that do not affect health or safety

Since the landlord is not required to make these repairs, unless the lease requires it, the best way to get these repairs is through negotiation with your landlord.

You should examine your lease to see if  the  repair  might  be  specifically  covered;   for   example,   frequently   landlords  agree  to  repair  appliances  that come with the property.


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