Texas Tenants Rights FAQs
Is your home unlivable? Has your landlord broken your lease? We can help! We are a Fort Worth law firm that focuses on landlord-tenant law. Below are some of the questions we hear most often about tenants’ rights.
My landlord is doing something wrong. Should I pay my rent?
If your landlord is breaking your lease, shouldn’t you be able to get back at them by withholding rent? It seems logical and fair, but the last thing you want to do is retaliate by breaking the lease yourself.
Always, always pay your rent. Courts don’t have sympathy for someone who doesn’t pay rent. Landlord-tenant law is complicated with strict rules. There are only a few instances where it is okay to not pay your rent, and those require the help of an attorney. Don’t risk hurting your credit record or getting evicted. Instead, pay your rent and talk to an attorney ASAP.
My landlord isn’t fixing something. What should I do?
First, as we said above, pay your rent. You won’t be successful at getting back at your landlord by refusing to pay your rent. You must also give your landlord a reasonable amount of time to make the repairs. Follow these steps:
- Read your lease. Make sure that what you want your landlord to repair isn’t something that you have agreed to repair by signing the lease.
- Send your landlord a dated, certified letter — use the certified mail option at your post office — telling them about the issue.
- If you haven’t heard from your landlord in seven days, send them a dated, certified, handwritten letter reminding them about the issue and declaring that this is the second notice.
- After seven more days, send an email telling them they have to fix the issue.
- If 14 days go by and your landlord refuses to make repairs, talk to us.
Every form of communication should be in writing. If possible, save copies of your letters. This will help if you end up needing to bring your landlord to court.
When can I sue my landlord?
Landlord-tenant law is complex and the best thing you can do to learn whether you have a case against your landlord is to talk to a lawyer. Here are some of the reasons you may bring your landlord to court:
- Your landlord hasn’t repaired something that affects your health and safety. Under Texas law, unless your lease says otherwise, you cannot sue your landlord for failing to repair something that doesn’t affect your health, such as a dishwasher. You can, however, bring your landlord to court if he or she refuses to repair a sewage backup, rat issue, hot water issue, roof leak or similar problem.
- Your unit doesn’t have smoke detectors or appropriate locks.
- You have received an eviction notice and your landlord has not given you a reason for the eviction.
Have Another Question? Call For A Telephone Consultation.
If you have a question about your lease or anything else related to tenant’s/rental rights, please call (210) 579-0926 to arrange a telephone consultation. At the Beyer Law Firm, we provide legal assistance to clients facing landlord-tenant law issues, including wrongful eviction, withholding of security deposits and failure to make lawful repairs.