Although apartments don’t require as much maintenance as a house, there are regular and seasonal maintenance things that must be done to ensure apartment tenants have safe and reasonably comfortable living conditions. So who is responsible for apartment maintenance?
Texas law requires your landlord to repair conditions that affect the physical health and safety of ordinary tenants. These could include things like rodents, sewage problems, leaky roofing, bad electrical wiring, and normal wear and tear to the unit (like torn carpet or broken bathroom tiles).
However, your landlord isn’t responsible for making repairs under two circumstances.
First, if you are behind on rent, your landlord can refuse to make repairs until you are caught up, or just evict you.
Second, if you, your family, friends or guests caused the damages, your landlord is not responsible for fixing them.
If damages and repairs fall outside of these two conditions, your landlord is responsible for getting it fixed.
What’s the Best Way to Request Repairs?
First, before you do anything to clean up, take pictures of anything that needs repair. In the case of the sparrow flying into the window, take pics of the sparrow dead on the ground, broken glass, etc. Take pictures of how everything unfolded. Quality pictures can save you from a landlord claiming that it was your fault that the window was broken.
Next, give written notice to your landlord about the repairs needed. Send the notice via certified mail with a return receipt requested. That way, you only have to send it once. If you send notice any other way than certified with a return receipt, you’ll need to send a second notice if your landlord doesn’t respond.
Be very specific about the repairs needed in your request. Also, keep a copy of the written notice and of the pictures you took. Give your landlord at least 7 days to make repairs, unless the repair is urgent and requires a quicker response (like sewage in your living room or a geyser in your kitchen).
What Happens if Your Landlord Doesn’t Make Repairs?
If the repair requests you’ve made are ignored, you basically have two options.
The first option is to terminate the lease. If repairs aren’t made, you gave proper notice, and you don’t owe rent, you can end your lease. Give written notice about why you are terminating and the date you will vacate the unit, and find a better landlord.
The second option is to go to court. A court can order your landlord to make repairs, reduce your rent from the date you asked for repairs, award you damages caused by failure to repair, plus damages of one month’s rent plus $500, court costs, and attorney’s fees.
Going to court can be complicated, but it’s often the best option for renters who simply can’t get their landlord to live up to their agreement. The good news is that with the right legal help, it doesn’t have to be a difficult process.
For renters who are stuck in their apartments living with repair negligence, there’s help available from top-tier legal counsel Don’t settle for underperformance from landlords. Get the treatment you are entitled to by contacting Malley Law Firm for a risk-free consultation today.