Texas Law Protects Renters & Tenants
Over the last week, the State of Texas has been blanketed in snow and frigid weather. Even coastal Texas, areas like Galveston and Houston, were hammered by the arctic blast. To make matters worse, the frigid temperatures took out power in much of the State for days. People everywhere have been affected, but none more so than those affected by burst pipes or other issues that forced them from their homes or apartments.
Tenants Rights During an Extreme Weather Event
Thankfully, Texas property code is very specific on Tenants rights:
Sec. 92.054. CASUALTY LOSS. (a) If a condition results from an insured casualty loss, such as fire, smoke, hail, explosion, or a similar cause, the period for repair does not begin until the landlord receives the insurance proceeds.
(b) If after a casualty loss the rental premises are as a practical matter totally unusable for residential purposes and if the casualty loss is not caused by the negligence or fault of the tenant, a member of the tenant’s family, or a guest or invitee of the tenant, either the landlord or the tenant may terminate the lease by giving written notice to the other any time before repairs are completed. If the lease is terminated, the tenant is entitled only to a pro rata refund of rent from the date the tenant moves out and to a refund of any security deposit otherwise required by law.
(c) If after a casualty loss the rental premises are partially unusable for residential purposes and if the casualty loss is not caused by the negligence or fault of the tenant, a member of the tenant’s family, or a guest or invitee of the tenant, the tenant is entitled to reduction in the rent in an amount proportionate to the extent the premises are unusable because of the casualty, but only on judgment of a county or district court. A landlord and tenant may agree otherwise in a written lease.
What does this mean for Texas Renters?
If you are a tenant, you are not responsible for events that you are not the cause of. If your pipes burst due to the extreme cold making your apartment unlivable, you do not owe your landlord rent. Furthermore, your landlord cannot charge you for these damages or take them from your security deposit. If they charge you for rent, they are in civil violation of the law.
Dealing with Landlords
The first thing we recommend is taking photos and videos of damage. If you have renter’s insurance, give them a call to let them know your situation. Finally, if your landlord is giving you a difficult time and you need legal trouble, Galveston storm insurance lawyer Larry Tylka can help. Contact us 24/7 for assistance.