Tenants in Texas have the legal right to repairs for issues that place the property in violation of state health and safety standards. To exercise this right, they must notify the landlord through the proper process and allow 7-14 days for the repairs to be made.
Texas Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs
Texas landlords mustrepair issues materially affecting the health or safety of ordinary tenants,except conditions caused by the tenant.Landlords are responsible for keeping all of the following in good working condition:
Basic plumbing (water heater, prevention of flooding and sewage backup).
What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Texas?
Texas tenants are responsible for repairingdamage they caused,damagewhen they’re behind on rent,anddamage tothings that don’t affect health and safety.Under special conditions, the landlord and tenant can also sometimes agree for the tenant to handle certain other repairs.
Requesting Repairs in Texas
Texas tenants caninitiallyrequest repairs bygiving the landlord verbal or written notice.After this first request, the tenant must wait seven days and submit a second repair request (whichmust be written), unless the first request was served with delivery confirmation (like registered mail).
How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in Texas?
Texas landlords usually haveseven days afterproper noticeto attempt repairs. When using a service with delivery confirmation (like certified mail), one request is proper notice. Otherwise, proper notice requires a second written requestmade seven days after the first.
The law may require a different response time when renters intend to repair and deduct:
Sewage backup or flooding requiresimmediate response.
Lack of heating or cooling, cutoff of potable water, and some lock issues require response withinthree days.
If the landlord gives the tenant an affidavit detailing necessary delays, any waiting period may be extended by15-30 days.
Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in Texas?
Texas landlordscan refuse to make repairs,if the tenant caused the issue or if the tenant is behind on rent.
Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in Texas?
Texas landlords arenot required to pay for alternative accommodationwhile they make repairs.
Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Texas
Texas tenants might take any of the following actions if a landlord doesn’t make timely repairs after proper notice:
End the lease.
Repair and deduct from rent.
Get an injunction forcing repairs.
Get an injunction reducing rent.
Get a judgment against the landlord for costs plus a significant civil penalty.
Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in Texas?
Texas tenants areprohibited by lawfrom unilaterally withholding rent.However,by following proper procedure, the tenant can legally deduct rent for certain needed repairs or to maintain utility service after landlord nonpayment, and the allowed deduction might sometimes (in severe cases) equal the full rent.
Can the Tenant Repair and Deduct in Texas?
Texas tenantscan repair and deductin Texas after specifying this intention in proper notice to the landlord. The repairs must be for one of the following permitted issues:
Backup of raw sewage, or flooding.
Complete cutoff of potable water.
Anything materially affecting health and safety where the government has given the landlord written notice.
Repairs must also be done according to all the following requirements:
Cost less than monthly rent, or $500 (whichever is greater).
Attach a reviewable invoice.
Performed by someone listed in the yellow pages or local newspaper –no repairs are allowed to be made by the tenant, tenant’s family, or tenant’s employees.
Both the repairs performed and the issue to be repaired must not affect the foundation or load-bearing elements of a multi-unit building.
Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in Texas?
Texas tenantscan break their leaseswhen a landlord doesn’t make legally required repairs after proper notice.
Can the Tenant Sue in Texas?
Texas tenantscan sue to force repairs,or to recover costs plus a significant civil penalty, when a landlord doesn’t make legally required repairs after proper notice.
Can the Tenant Report the Landlord in Texas?
Texas tenantscan report landlordsto local inspections or code enforcement departments for code violations. If an inspecting officer finds a violation that materially affects health and safety, the tenant might be able to sue, end the lease, or repair and deduct.
It’s illegal for Texas landlords to retaliate withraised rent,reduced services, eviction,orbad-faith interference with tenant rights,against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions in the past six months:
Good-faith exercise of rights under the law or lease.
Good-faith complaints to relevant nonprofits or government agencies about code issues.
Participation in a tenant organization.
The law allows an exception when the landlord can prove a non-retaliatory, good-faith reason for the alleged retaliatory action. For example, a landlord who raises rent proportionately in response to a large increase in property tax is not retaliating, even if a tenant has recently complained about maintenance.
“(b) A landlord is liable to a tenant as provided by this subchapter if: (1) the tenant has given the landlord notice to repair or remedy a condition by giving that notice to the person to whom or to the place where the tenant’s rent is normally paid; (2) the condition materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant; (3) the tenant has given the landlord a subsequent written notice to repair or remedy the condition after a reasonable time to repair or remedy the condition following the notice given under Subdivision (1) or the tenant has given the notice under Subdivision (1) by sending that notice by … form of mail [service] that allows tracking of delivery … (4) the landlord has had a reasonable time to repair or remedy the condition after the landlord received the tenant’s notice…
“(d) …there is a rebuttable presumption that seven days is a reasonable time.”
“If the requirements of Subsection (d) of this section are met, a tenant may: (1) have the condition repaired or remedied immediately following the tenant’s notice of intent to repair if the condition involves sewage or flooding as referred to in Paragraph (A) of Subdivision (3) of Subsection (d) of this section; (2) have the condition repaired or remedied if the condition involves a cessation of potable water as referred to in Paragraph (A) of Subdivision (3) of Subsection (d) of this section and if the landlord has failed to repair or remedy the condition within three days following the tenant’s delivery of notice of intent to repair; (3) have the condition repaired or remedied if the condition involves inadequate heat or cooled air as referred to in Paragraph (C) of Subdivision (3) of Subsection (d) of this section and if the landlord has failed to repair the condition within three days after delivery of the tenant’s notice of intent to repair; or (4) have the condition repaired or remedied if the condition is not covered by Paragraph (A), (B), or (C) of Subdivision (3) of Subsection (d) of this section and involves a condition affecting the physical health or safety of the ordinary tenant as referred to in Paragraph (D) of Subdivision (3) of Subsection (d) of this section and if the landlord has failed to repair or remedy the condition within seven days after delivery of the tenant’s notice of intent to repair.”
“[A] landlord may not interrupt or cause the interruption of water, wastewater, gas, or electric service furnished to a tenant by the landlord as an incident of the tenancy or by other agreement unless the interruption results from bona fide repairs, construction, or an emergency.”
“(a) Except as provided by Subsections (b), (e), (f), (g), and (h) and without necessity of request by the tenant, a dwelling must be equipped with: (1) a window latch on each exterior window of the dwelling; (2) a doorknob lock or keyed dead bolt on each exterior door; (3) a sliding door pin lock on each exterior sliding glass door of the dwelling; (4) a sliding door handle latch or a sliding door security bar on each exterior sliding glass door of the dwelling; and (5) a keyless bolting device and a door viewer on each exterior door of the dwelling. … “(c) A security device required by Subsection (a) or (b) must be installed at the landlord’s expense.”
“(g) A keyed dead bolt or a doorknob lock is not required to be installed at the landlord’s expense on an exterior door if at the time the tenant agrees to lease the dwelling: (1) at least one exterior door usable for normal entry into the dwelling has both a keyed dead bolt and a keyless bolting device, installed in accordance with the height, strike plate, and throw requirements of Section 92.154; and (2) all other exterior doors have a keyless bolting device installed in accordance with the height, strike plate, and throw requirements of Section 92.154.”
“(a) A landlord shall make a diligent effort to repair or remedy a condition if: (1) the tenant specifies the condition in a notice to the person to whom or to the place where rent is normally paid; (2) the tenant is not delinquent in the payment of rent at the time notice is given; and (3) the condition: (A) materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant; or (B) arises from the landlord’s failure to provide and maintain … hot water of a minimum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
“(b) Unless the condition was caused by normal wear and tear, the landlord does not have a duty during the lease term or a renewal or extension to repair or remedy a condition caused by: (1) the tenant; (2) a lawful occupant in the tenant’s dwelling; (3) a member of the tenant’s family; or (4) a guest or invitee of the tenant.”
“Repairs under this section may be made only if … (3) Any one of the following events has occurred: (A) The landlord has failed to remedy the backup or overflow of raw sewage inside the tenant’s dwelling or the flooding from broken pipes or natural drainage inside the dwelling. (B) The landlord has expressly or impliedly agreed in the lease to furnish potable water to the tenant’s dwelling and the water service to the dwelling has totally ceased. (C) The landlord has expressly or impliedly agreed in the lease to furnish heating or cooling equipment; the equipment is producing inadequate heat or cooled air; and the landlord has been notified in writing by the appropriate local housing, building, or health official or other official having jurisdiction that the lack of heat or cooling materially affects the health or safety of an ordinary tenant. (D) The landlord has been notified in writing by the appropriate local housing, building, or health official or other official having jurisdiction that the condition materially affects the health or safety of an ordinary tenant.”
“(c) A landlord’s duties and the tenant’s remedies under Subchapter B, which covers conditions materially affecting the physical health or safety of the ordinary tenant, may not be waived except as provided in Subsections (d), (e), and (f) of this section.
“(e) A landlord and a tenant may agree for the tenant to repair or remedy, at the tenant’s expense, any condition covered by Subchapter B if all of the following conditions are met: (1) at the beginning of the lease term the landlord owns only one rental dwelling; (2) at the beginning of the lease term the dwelling is free from any condition which would materially affect the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant; (3) at the beginning of the lease term the landlord has no reason to believe that any condition described in Subdivision (2) of this subsection is likely to occur or recur during the tenant’s lease term or during a renewal or extension; and (4) (A) the lease is in writing; (B) the agreement for repairs by the tenant is either underlined or printed in boldface in the lease or in a separate written addendum; (C) the agreement is specific and clear; and (D) the agreement is made knowingly, voluntarily, and for consideration.
“(f) A landlord and tenant may agree that, except for those conditions caused by the negligence of the landlord, the tenant has the duty to pay for repair of the following conditions that may occur during the lease term or a renewal or extension: (1) damage from wastewater stoppages caused by foreign or improper objects in lines that exclusively serve the tenant’s dwelling; (2) damage to doors, windows, or screens; and (3) damage from windows or doors left open. “This subsection shall not affect the landlord’s duty under Subchapter B to repair or remedy, at the landlord’s expense, wastewater stoppages or backups caused by deterioration, breakage, roots, ground conditions, faulty construction, or malfunctioning equipment. A landlord and tenant may agree to the provisions of this subsection only if the agreement meets the requirements of Subdivision (4) of Subsection (e) of this section.”
“Except as provided by Subsections (b) and (c), a landlord must comply with a tenant’s request for rekeying, changing, installing, repairing, or replacing a security device … within a reasonable time. A reasonable time for purposes of this subsection is presumed to be not later than the seventh day after the date the request is received … [but] 72 hours … if at the time of making the request the tenant informed the landlord that: (1) an unauthorized entry occurred or was attempted in the tenant’s dwelling; (2) an unauthorized entry occurred or was attempted in another unit in the multiunit complex in which the tenant’s dwelling is located during the two months preceding the date of the request; or (3) a crime of personal violence occurred in the multiunit complex in which the tenant’s dwelling is located during the two months preceding the date of the request.”
“(c) Affidavits under this section may delay repair by the tenant for: (1) 15 days if the landlord’s failure to repair is caused by a delay in obtaining necessary parts for which the landlord is not at fault; or (2) 30 days if the landlord’s failure to repair is caused by a general shortage of labor or materials for repair following a natural disaster such as a hurricane, tornado, flood, extended freeze, or widespread windstorm.”
“A tenant’s judicial remedies under Section 92.056 shall include: (1) an order directing the landlord to take reasonable action to repair or remedy the condition; (2) an order reducing the tenant’s rent, from the date of the first repair notice, in proportion to the reduced rental value resulting from the condition until the condition is repaired or remedied; (3) a judgment against the landlord for a civil penalty of one month’s rent plus $500; (4) a judgment against the landlord for the amount of the tenant’s actual damages; and (5) court costs and attorney’s fees, excluding any attorney’s fees for a cause of action for damages relating to a personal injury.”
“If the tenant withholds rents, causes repairs to be performed, or makes rent deductions for repairs in violation of this subchapter, the landlord may recover actual damages from the tenant. If, after a landlord has notified a tenant in writing of (1) the illegality of the tenant’s rent withholding or the tenant’s proposed repair and (2) the penalties of this subchapter, the tenant withholds rent, causes repairs to be performed, or makes rent deductions for repairs in bad faith violation of this subchapter, the landlord may recover from the tenant a civil penalty of one month’s rent plus $500.”
“If a landlord is liable to the tenant under Subsection (a) of this section, the tenant may: (1) pay the utility company money to reconnect or avert the cutoff of utilities according to this section; (2) terminate the lease if the termination notice is in writing and move-out is to be within 30 days from the date the tenant has notice from the utility company of a future cutoff or notice of an actual cutoff, whichever is sooner; (3) deduct from the tenant’s rent, without necessity of judicial action, the amounts paid to the utility company to reconnect or avert a cutoff.”
“If a landlord does not comply with Section 92.153 or 92.156(a) regarding installation or rekeying of a security device, the tenant may: (1) install or rekey the security device as required by this subchapter and deduct the reasonable cost of material, labor, taxes, and extra keys from the tenant’s next rent payment, in accordance with Section 92.166.”
“(a) If the landlord is liable to the tenant under Section 92.056(b), the tenant may have the condition repaired or remedied and may deduct the cost from a subsequent rent payment as provided in this section.
“(b) The tenant’s deduction for the cost of the repair or remedy may not exceed the amount of one month’s rent under the lease or $500, whichever is greater. …
“(c) Repairs and deductions under this section may be made as often as necessary so long as the total repairs and deductions in any one month do not exceed one month’s rent or $500, whichever is greater.
“(f) Repairs… must be made by a company, contractor, or repairman listed in the yellow or business pages of the telephone directory or in the classified advertising section of a newspaper of the local city, county, or adjacent county at the time of the tenant’s notice of intent to repair. Unless the landlord and tenant agree otherwise under Subsection (g) of this section, repairs may not be made by the tenant, the tenant’s immediate family, the tenant’s employer or employees, or a company in which the tenant has an ownership interest. Repairs may not be made to the foundation or load-bearing structural elements of the building if it contains two or more dwelling units.”
“[A] tenant to whom a landlord is liable under Subsection (b) of this section may: (1) terminate the lease; (2) have the condition repaired or remedied according to Section 92.0561 [repair and deduct]; (3) deduct from the tenant’s rent, without necessity of judicial action, the cost of the repair or remedy according to Section 92.0561; and (4) obtain judicial remedies according to Section 92.0563.”
“A landlord may not retaliate against a tenant by taking an action described by Subsection (b) because the tenant: (1) in good faith exercises or attempts to exercise against a landlord a right or remedy granted to the tenant by lease, municipal ordinance, or federal or state statute; (2) gives a landlord a notice to repair or exercise a remedy under this chapter; (3) complains to a governmental entity responsible for enforcing building or housing codes, a public utility, or a civic or nonprofit agency, and the tenant: (A) claims a building or housing code violation or utility problem; and (B) believes in good faith that the complaint is valid and that the violation or problem occurred; or (4) establishes, attempts to establish, or participates in a tenant organization.
“A landlord may not, within six months after the date of the tenant’s action under Subsection (a), retaliate against the tenant by: (1) filing an eviction proceeding, except for the grounds stated by Section 92.332; (2) depriving the tenant of the use of the premises, except for reasons authorized by law; (3) decreasing services to the tenant; (4) increasing the tenant’s rent or terminating the tenant’s lease; or (5) engaging, in bad faith, in a course of conduct that materially interferes with the tenant’s rights under the tenant’s lease.”