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How obligated are landlords to fix issues. FOR instance. I have been here for 15months. the garage (NON-attached) has flooded since day 1. he has known about it since day 1, he has tried 2, maybe 3 times to have it repaired (poorly) and no action in over 4 months. I won't park my car in it, and the items i am storing there (lawnmower, weedeater, tools, etc) are constantly in danger of damage from standing water, not to mention vermin really like the area now (Hired Orkin a couple of months ago to attempt to get rid of them, since the landlord is so slow getting anything fixed).



I have more stories, but lets go with that ONE for now.

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Disclaimer first: Laws vary from state to state, and also - read your lease.


With that said, landlords are generally obligated to provide environmentally safe/habitable housing. A question could possibly come into play regarding if a detached garage would need to be treated the same as living area.


In any case, document everything.........what your complaints have been, when & how you've addressed them with the landlord, receipts for Orkin, etc......


Also, check with your states' real estate commission: In my state at least, while the real estate commission is the entity that grants licenses to people to practice real estate, their primary objective is to protect consumers in real estate related issues.............meaning, even if your landlord is not a licensed real estate agent, he still would have to follow laws/regulations and the commission, while not able to represent you legally, can advise you regarding rights/obligations of the parties.


ETA: I'd originally put this in the text, but it didn't show up: http://www.trec.state.tx.us/complaintsconsumer/default.asp

Edited by Quit Screwing Me
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Interesting Link.. Thanks!


Consumer Problems

Q: I am a tenant and having problems with my landlord getting him to make repairs. Also, I sent the landlord the rent on time but the landlord is still threatening me with eviction and late charges. What are my rights as a tenant?

A: Landlord and Tenant disputes are not within our jurisdiction. You may want to call one of the tenant assistance associations for help or contact a private attorney. The Real Estate Center at Texas A & M has a Landlord-Tenant Guide that you can view for free at http://recenter.tamu.edu/pdf/866.pdf.



from there:


Who has the burden of proof?
Normally, in a judicial proceeding, the tenant
must prove that the landlord failed to repair or rem
edy a condition that materially affects the health or
safety of an ordinary tenant (Section 92.053). How
ever, the landlord must assume this burden if the
tenant can show that
reasonable time has elapsed since the initial
notice to repair was given,
a subsequent written notice was given to the
landlord demanding an explanation for the de
lay and
the landlord failed to make the repairs or give
a written explanation for the delay within
five days after the second demand notice was
The major problems are determining what consti
tutes an unreasonable delay and what constitutes
a nondiligent effort to repair. Some guidelines are
provided later in Section 92.056. Furthermore, if
repairs are not made by the landlord, the tenant has
three options, but only one involves judicial action.
Consequently, shifting the burden of proof is impor
tant only to tenants who seek the judicial remedies
discussed later.
IN any case, I know I am in good shape for all the notices, that much is good..
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Fellow Texan here. Here are some links I've found helpful in the past. There is a specific set of steps you must follow if you plan to pursue this or repair/deduct. Typically, TX has proven to be more landlord friendly.


You might also check with city building codes, etc. There may be some portions of city code (s) that would apply if the detached garage is attracting "vermin" or is in other potential violation of health, safety, or building code.




(a fairly decent summary of Chapter 92)






DO NOT withhold rent. You can be evicted and it will affect you for many years.


Go through Chapter 92 and see what applies to your situation. Follow the guidelines, which usually involve submitting written repair request (I would send CMRRR). Then if no repair, or inadequate, you have timelines to wait and then may submit another request. It is very clear, and the courts here seem to side with the landlord if the tenant hasn't followed Chapter 92 to the letter.


Hope this gives you a starting point. BTDT.

Edited by gemsnewday
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Apart from statutory protections for tenants, and TX isn't tenant friendly, you will be able to enforce contractual obligations stated in the lease if repairs are needed for things covered in the lease. The landlord can sued for monetary damages or specific performance but don't skip rent payments. Those require following TX specific laws.

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Yes, and let me be clear, I have always paid rent in full and on time, that isn't even on the table. I am just trying to sort out what rights I do have, sadly I plan on staying here until April 2015, when we hope to be able to buy a house, but can't buy until I get 2 years out on my BK. It is very frustrating to wait for months for repairs, and then have them not really be repairs.

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I'd document that as well, with photos. Any flooding, mold, wood rot, infestations, anything that is an issue for you. Most contracts state that work has to be done in a workmanlike manner. So if there was a dispute later, and landlord showed a judge his receipts for supplies and said he did everything, you'd have evidence to the contrary. While a licensed contractor usually isn't mandatory, a workmanlike repair usually is.

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Good to know, I consistently photo things and send it to him, as i find them... As I would want to know if it was MY investment property... and technically the lease states I *HAVE* to report any issues with the house anyway.



Here is an excerpt from his last email to me that still rubs me the wrong way:


"The issues with the garage have been addressed on a couple of occasions and while we do have a plan to attack the issue (again), I can send the guys out there to shore up any holes in the next day or so, but I will have them out later this week to do the work to keep water from coming into the garage. The garage is not actually included in the "living space" nor is it included in the square footage of the house (which the rental price is based on). I'm not trying to say that you don't have a right to the garage, but rather that the space is for vehicle parking and not intended for storage and is not charged in the overall rent as square footage (1912 sq ft for your residence). Currently, homes in (subdivision) over the last few months in this size range with a two car garage have been leased from $1350-$1695 as the rental rates have increased dramatically over the last year. In any event, we will get it addressed again and try to keep any other penetration from occurring (if you'll remember, we have addressed this issue on multiple occasions to include re-roofing part of the garage and other remedies that did not completely solve the issue). "


Does anyone just use the garage for "parking a vehicle" and nothing else? C'mon...

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Be careful. I'd read a news article on this just recently. I can't find the article I'd read right now, but a quick search got me this. In SF, if it is a rental, it is illegal to use garage space for anything other than your vehicle. I don't know what it is in your area, and I hope this won't become a new trend nationwide because, well, it's stupid. http://ij.org/in-san-francisco-it-s-illegal-to-store-your-own-stuff-in-your-own-garage


I'm not understanding what your LL says about right to the space though. It should specify in your lease if you get access to the garage or not, and if there is an extra charge for it or not. Bringing up the rental charges at this point in that statement intrigues me.............it should be very clear in the lease (key word being "should"). The "living area" could be an issue as well............. it could go either way depending on how it is presented. For example, an unfinished basement isn't living area, but could still pose a hazard that needs to be corrected. However, a basement is attached, whereas this garage is detached.

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It's funny, he says that the garage is not part of the house and doesn't affect the rent, then in the next sentence he says that houses in the neighborhood with (operable) garages are renting for a high price-- in part because the place has a garage.


Obviously when you (or any other potential tenants) looked at the property and decided whether or not the rent was worth it, the fact that it had a garage was a consideration.

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