How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 102601
Experience:  Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
Ely is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am currently renting a portion of a home which has been

Customer Question

I am currently renting a portion of a home which has been converted to a duplex. I have been in the home for approximately three months and have been requesting that specific items be corrected in the home but nothing has been done. I recently had a water pipe start leaking in to the wall. I suspect it was leaking for over a month before the waster started bleeding through the seal in the wall and into the kitchen of my neighbor next door. The landlord brought out two very large fans to blow air onto the wall in the Kitchen behind the refrigerator where the pipe had been leaking. This went on for approximately 48 hrs. A inspector was sent out to look at the wall but nothing else has taken place. I'm sure there is some form of mold growing behind the wall, which could potentially cause a range of medical issues. I also don't believe the home was treated for pests and rodents prior to my moving into the residents. There is a hole in the closet floor of one of the bedrooms and I have found mouse/rat droppings. I have also received a water bill for the last three months that are roughly the same amount. My initial bill was not prorated, and was the same amount as the water bills I've received following the initial one. I have requested the prorated water bill three times but it has not been provided. I also sent a money order to cover the total of the bill, but I'm not aware of the amount I truly owed.
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Austin, TX
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: No
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Not that I can think of at the moment.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 11 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. What are you asking exactly? What your options are here? If you can break the lease? How you can force the landlord to make repairs? Etc.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I would say all of the above. I need to know what options I have.
Expert:  Ely replied 11 months ago.
Thank you and my apologies for the wait.
In Texas, you have several options. Texas law demands that the landlord repair any condition that affects a tenant’s health and safety. Under Texas Property Code §92.052 et seq, a landlord is required to make a diligent effort to repair or remedy a condition materially affects the physical health or safety of the tenant.
What someone in your situation has to do is to send the landlord a WRITTEN DEMAND LETTER that states that they need to fix the issues above, and give them reasonable amount of days to do so.
If they fail to do so, someone in your situation can then:
-terminate the lease and then go back to small claims court to get the deposit if the landlord does not release it, or
-have the condition remedied and deduct from the rent, or
-sue to force the landlord to fix the property while still finishing out the lease.
Let me know if you need a demand letter example.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.