Entitlements Afforded to Tenants
Under the Texas Property Code, landlord-tenant relationships are governed by special rights afforded to the tenant during the course of their residence. Landlords have a legal duty to take measures that will protect a tenant’s health, safety, and security. In circumstances when a landlord fails to act on a tenant’s written report of their safety or security being threatened by a hazard, the tenant has the right to pursue courses of action that either ends the lease, forces the landlord to address the hazard, or compensates the tenant for repairing hazardous conditions. Furthermore, a landlord cannot legally retaliate against you for raising complaints in good faith, you didn’t intentionally destroy the property, and you did make appropriate rent payments.
To make a formal complaint to a landlord, you should always have your concerns written out and delivered by certified mail. Having notice of the hazardous condition written and mailed—with a return receipt requested and a copy of the letter made for your records— will be greatly beneficial to your case should you have to file suit. If the landlord doesn’t make an effort to address the situation after a week, a second notice should be sent. After a second notice is received and the issue is still unresolved, you may need to contact a tenant dispute lawyer to discuss your options of ending your lease or taking the issue to court. To be deemed worthy of legal action, the complaint must directly affect your health or safety.
There are a few basic protections that Texas tenants are entitled to under the Property Code. Some are unbeknownst to tenants such as the right to “quiet enjoyment,” meaning a landlord cannot disturb your right to live in peace and quiet and must take action against neighbors exhibiting wrongful behavior. Other rights afforded to tenants include:
- Peace and quiet
- Health and safety
- Recovery of deposit (minus damages)
- Deductions excluding normal wear and tear
It is important to note that you do not have the right to withhold rent if a landlord fails to live up to his duties. This can result in a lawsuit levied against you for unpaid rent charges. Any major disputes with a landlord should be handled with the counsel of an attorney.
Consult with a Tenant Dispute Attorney
Conflicts with a landlord can be a major inconvenience and result in a hostile living environment. At Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., our qualified tenant dispute lawyers can help you understand your rights as a tenant and fight for your interests against an uncooperative landlord. If you or someone you know is engaged in a tenant dispute and in need of legal representation, don’t hesitate to contact our legal team at (214) 824-1414 to discuss the particulars of your case.