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What rights do tenants have regarding: no working

Customer Question
oven/stove; a refrigerator in which...
What rights do tenants have regarding: no working oven/stove; a refrigerator in which food items go bad typically 1 month prior to their expiration date & the crispers are unusable due to they fill up with water drainage to the extent that I have to drain them periodically; a wall unit a/c in the bedroom that shows black mold on the vents; the hall light for three tenants (myself included) is on my breaker so I pay for it on my utility bill, all of which I brought up to my landlord. She said she would compensate me for the hall light about 2 years ago, for which I have never seen any compensation. Meanwhile, the front deck (large wrap-around porch) gets painted and I have been without a working/safe oven for over 1/2 a year? I am a good tenant who pays rent on time and is very patient. I rarely have company over. When I do, it is usually but not always my boyfriend. If it is more than him, it is a few friends on a Saturday night and it is pretty low-key. I live alone with my kitten. Please advise. Thank you.
Submitted: 7 years ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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7/30/2010
Lawyer: xavierjd, Attorney replied 7 years ago
xavierjd
xavierjd, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 3,400
Experience: 20+ yrs experience assisting landlords and tenants
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Do you have a written lease? If so, is there a provision that indicates who (landlord or tenant) is responsible for repairs? Are some repairs the responsibility of the landlord and some of the tenant? If so, who is responsible for what?

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
Thank you for the quick response. I will check that right now...
Lawyer: xavierjd, Attorney replied 7 years ago
Thanks.
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
As I have been reading over my lease, I cannot find any provisions that stipulate anything about repairs and/or the responsibility of landlord or tenant. I will continue to check into that, if that is acceptable to you. I appreciate your patience with me while I look further into these matters. May I please contact you with an update when I have more information?
Lawyer: xavierjd, Attorney replied 7 years ago

I have been reviewing the landlord/tenant law in Texas. In Texas, as a tenant, You have the following rights and remedies:

Health and Safety

You have a right to demand that the landlord repair any condition that materially affects your health and safety. Under Texas law, by renting you the property, the landlord guarantees that the unit will be a fit place to live.

SB 1448 (81st Regular Session), effective January 1, 2010, now grants justices of the peace authority to order landlords to repair or remedy conditions affecting a tenant's health and safety, as long as the cost of the repair does not exceed $10,000. Tenants can go to justice court without an attorney to obtain a repair order.

Under certain conditions, you and the landlord may have a written agreement that you will make needed repairs. The landlord does not have a duty to pay for or make repairs if you or your guests cause an unsafe or unhealthy condition through negligence, carelessness, abuse or accident-unless the condition resulted from "normal wear and tear."

Also, the landlord must provide smoke detectors. You may not waive that provision, and you may not disconnect or disable the smoke detector.

Security

Although there are some specific exceptions, under Texas law, a dwelling must be equipped with security devices such as window latches, keyed dead bolts on exterior doors, sliding door pin locks and sliding door handle latches or sliding door security bars, and door viewers.

These devices must be installed at the landlord's expense. If such devices are missing or are defective, you have the right to request their installation or repair.

If You Have Problems

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.

Good luck to you.

I hope you find this information useful and that you PRESS THE GREEN ACCEPT BUTTON so that I can get credit for answering the question. Thank you.

xavierjd
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Category: Landlord-Tenant
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