Tenant Law in Texas
In Ellis County, Texas, relationships between tenants and landlords can occasionally become strained.
There are various rights and responsibilities that landlords and tenants have. It's important that each party is aware of their rights, and the rights of the other party. By knowing and respecting these rights, the risk of conflict should be reduced dramatically.
Landlord's Rights in Ellis County, TX
Landlords are, of course, entitled to collect rent from their tenants. If a tenant fails to pay the agreed-upon rent, the landlord is normally able to evict the tenant without too much trouble, though the process can sometimes get fairly complicated.
Landlords also have a right to be free from damage to the rented unit. Tenants are expected not to damage their dwellings, intentionally or negligently. Landlords can deduct the cost of repairs from the tenant's security deposit. In general, tenants are not responsible for damage resulting from ordinary wear and tear.
Tenant's Rights in Ellis County, TX
At the most basic level, tenants have a basic right to what they're paying for: a habitable living environment. Consequently, landlords in Ellis County, Texas must ensure that the units they rent to tenants meet some basic standards for human habitation. These requirements vary from state to state, but are often fairly easy to meet. There are no legal criteria that rented units be pretty, particularly spacious, or luxurious. They simply have to be fit for human beings to live in them. To be considered "habitable," rented units must have water, electricity, some form of heating (if the local climate necessitates it), and adequate protection from the elements (proper insulation, no roof leaks, windows that close, etc.).
Moreover, tenants are entitled to common areas that are reasonable safe and sanitary. The common areas of an apartment building would contain lobbies, laundry rooms, stairwells, hallways, and fire escapes (essentially, any part of the building which all of the tenants can access). In Ellis County, Texas, these areas must be kept reasonably clean and safe.
A tenant also has a right, under federal law and the laws of Texas to be free from discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, or gender. Landlords can additionally not discriminate against persons with disabilities, and must make reasonable accommodations for those disabilities.
Lastly, tenants are legally protected from arbitrary eviction. Landlords usually must have a very good reason to evict a tenant before the lease agreement reaches the end of its term (at this point, they are of course allowed to decline to renew the lease). Of course, if the tenant breaches the lease agreement (such as by failing to pay rent, damaging the property, or violating other reasonable rules the landlord has put in the lease), the landlord, like a party to any other contract, is free to terminate the agreement and evict the breaching tenant.
Can a Ellis County, Texas Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants typically prefer to avoid getting into fights with one another, for discernible reasons. A harmonious relationship is profitable for everyone involved. To that end, the advice of a good Ellis County, Texas landlord/tenant attorney can help defuse arguments before they become too serious.