Real Estate Law
Have Real Estate Law Questions? Ask a Real Estate Lawyer.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today.
The person renting the place is required to provide air conditioning. In Dallas, there is an ordinance that requires refrigerated air to tenants to make sure that the temperature is 20 degrees below what it is outside or below 85 degrees, whichever is higher. Failure to do so is a code violation and can be grounds for breaking a lease and suing for damages.
To meet state law, put a copy of the letter in the mail that the air conditioner isn't working. Make sure you give your name and address, a description of the repair problem, a request that repairs be made and a signature. You'll want to send this certified with a return receipt so you can prove it was mailed.
If the air conditioning isn't fixed in a reasonable period of time, a tenant has the option to terminate the lease, move and sue for one month's rent plus $500, actual damages, court costs and attorney fees. Or you can continue living there and sue for those same things.
Unfortunately, because he fixed it within a reasonable period of time, you are probably not going to be able recover for the one night (also, during that night, the temperature was probably not above 85 degrees in the apartment). As for the extension of the lease, if you have evidence or could prove that he agreed to the extension, then he is not able to rescind it. The difficult is that if it was not put down in writing and he is willing to lie to court, then you might run into issues since you do not have evidence of the extension.
What would happen is that you would stay in the apartment past the expiration of the old lease, he would file a lawsuit to get an eviction order, and then you would make the argument that the lease had been extended. It is at this hearing that you would need to have proof to support your argument.
Got it. So unless you breached the lease in some way, he cannot now try to void the lease extension after you agreed to it.
So basically, you would stay past the date that the landlord is saying you have to leave by. Then when the landlord tries to enforce it against you by filling an unlawful detainer lawsuit (to get you evicted), you would present your evidence that the lease was extended.
You could also sue the landlord now and seek a declaratory judgment where the court makes a decision about the extension of the lease before the end of the the original time period for when your lease was supposed to end.
The first step though is to state that the landlord cannot back out of the lease extension agreement after it was already agreed to, and therefore, you will be invoking your right to stay in the apartment until the lease extension ends.