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Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 20363
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Landlord Tenant issues
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My husband and I have rented a duplex years. It was brand

Customer Question

My husband and I have rented a duplex for 3 years. It was brand new when we moved in.
The yard has a sprinkler system and when the duplex was built only 2 water meters were installed (one for each side) but no separate meter was installed for the sprinkler system. All of the water for the sprinklers were being charged to our bill. We resolved the problem by deducting a certain amount each month from our rent and we then paid the entire water bill. At a point in time the owner/landlord raised our rent by $75.00 per month to compensate for our water usage and he took over paying the bill. We were agreeable to that.
At some point the owner/landlord sold the property but continued to manage it and the arrangement about the water bill continued. Then several months ago in the middle of our lease the owner decided to install a water meter just for our unit and have us pay the water bill and pay the higher rent. When we pointed out that it wasn't legal to change the terms of the rental agreement he backed off and installed the meter for us but we are only paying the water bill with no increase in the rent. He did say that the rent would increase when the lease was up which we understood.
It is now time to renew our lease and we have received a letter with no explanation saying that our lease will not be renewed. We have never been late on our rent nor have we given him any trouble. I suspect that he is retaliating because of a bruised ego over the water bill. Do we have any recourse? We are in Texas if that makes a difference.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.


Thank you for the information and your question. Assuming that you could convince a court that the reason for the termination of the tenancy was only because of the assertion of your rights under the written lease and, it has been 6 months or less since you asserted that right, you might have a defense to a forcible entry and detainer action (eviction) should the landlord try to force you out if you do not move at the end of the notice period. You can see the statute that applies by going to Subchapter H (Retaliation) of the Texas landlord tenant act, which you can find at the following link:

Normally though, a landlord (or tenant) needs no reason for terminating a tenancy. But again, assuming the facts point only to retaliation and it has been 6 months or less, you can use this as a defense to an eviction proceeding.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 30th. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit (paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither. Please keep in mind that I cannot control the law or your circumstances, and am ethically bound to provide you with accurate information based on the facts you give me even if the news is not good. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator. Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can bookmark my page at:

Thank you.