The relationship between a landlord and tenant in Texas is governed by state law. Texas law imposes several legal duties on landlords, including providing a safe and habitable dwelling, maintaining the property, and complying with fair housing laws. A landlord who fails to meet these duties can be held liable for damages and other legal remedies.
Legal Duties of Landlords in Texas
The Texas Property Code sets out the legal duties of landlords in Texas. These legal duties include the following:
- Providing a safe and habitable dwelling: A landlord is required to provide a safe and habitable dwelling for the tenant. The landlord must ensure that the dwelling is free from hazards, such as electrical and plumbing issues, and provide proper locks and security measures.
- Maintaining the property: A landlord must maintain the property, including common areas, in good condition. The landlord must ensure that the property is kept clean and safe and that repairs are made promptly.
- Complying with fair housing laws: A landlord must comply with fair housing laws and cannot discriminate against tenants based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.
Types of Duties Owed by a Landlord to the Tenant
There are three types of duties owed by a landlord to the tenant in Texas. These include the following:
- Statutory duties: These are legal duties imposed by the Texas Property Code.
- Common law duties: These are legal duties that are not specifically defined by statute but are based on established legal principles.
- Contractual duties: These are legal duties that are defined by the lease agreement between the landlord and the tenant.
Breach of Duty By the Landlord
A landlord breaches its duty when it fails to meet its legal obligations to the tenant. For example, if the landlord fails to repair a broken pipe, which leads to water damage to the tenant’s property, the landlord may have breached its duty to maintain the property. A breach of duty can occur through action or inaction, and it can result in physical, emotional, or financial harm to the tenant.
Examples of Breach of Duties by Landlords
Here are some examples of breach of duties by landlords in Texas:
- Failure to make repairs: A landlord fails to make necessary repairs to a tenant’s dwelling, resulting in damage to the tenant’s property.
- Failure to maintain the property: A landlord fails to maintain common areas in a safe and clean condition, resulting in injuries to the tenant.
- Breach of quiet enjoyment: A landlord disrupts a tenant’s quiet enjoyment of the property by entering the property without proper notice or making excessive noise.
- Failure to provide habitable dwelling: A landlord rents a property with mold or infestations, which pose health hazards to the tenant.
- Retaliation: A landlord retaliates against a tenant for exercising their rights under the lease or Texas law.
Actions the Tenant Can Take When a Landlord Breaches their Duty
When a landlord breaches its duty to a tenant, the tenant can take several actions to enforce their rights. These include the following:
- Withhold rent: If the landlord fails to make necessary repairs or maintain the property, the tenant can withhold rent until the landlord complies with its legal duties. It is important to note that the tenant must let the landlord know that he or she is withholding rent until the necessary repairs are made.
- Repair and deduct: If the landlord fails to make necessary repairs, the tenant can make the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from the rent.
- Terminate the lease: If the landlord breaches a material term of the lease, such as providing a safe and habitable dwelling, the tenant can terminate the lease and vacate the property.
- Sue the landlord: The tenant can sue the landlord for damages and other legal remedies for breach of duty, such as compensation for property damage or medical expenses resulting from the landlord’s negligence.
How the Kazi Law Firm Can Assist a Tenant in a Landlord-Tenant Dispute
Landlords in Texas have legal duties to provide a safe and habitable dwelling, maintain the property, and comply with fair housing laws. A breach of duty by the landlord can result in physical, emotional, or financial harm to the tenant. The tenant has several legal options to enforce their rights, including withholding rent, repairing and deducting, terminating the lease, suing the landlord, and filing a complaint. If you are a tenant facing a landlord-tenant dispute in Texas, the Kazi Law Firm can assist you in enforcing your legal rights. Our experienced attorneys can advise you on your legal options, negotiate with the landlord on your behalf, and represent you in court if necessary. We have a proven track record of success in handling landlord-tenant disputes, and we are committed to ensuring that our clients receive the compensation and justice they deserve.