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.