Tenant Law in Texas
In South Houston, Texas, relationships between tenants and landlords can occasionally become strained.
Both parties to a landlord/tenant relationship are controlled by an extensive body of laws and regulations, defining their legal rights and obligations.
Landlord's Rights in South Houston, TX
The most important and most obvious right that a landlord has is the right to timely payment of rent from the tenant. This, of course, means that the tenant has a duty to pay rent.
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 accountable for damage resulting from ordinary wear and tear.
Tenant's Rights in South Houston, TX
The most basic right of a tenant is the right to a living space that's fit for human habitation. This is, after all, what they're paying the landlord to present. Landlords in South Houston, Texas are under a legal duty to make sure that their apartments are habitable. There are various factors that are considered in deciding if an unit is habitable or not, but, generally, an unit will not be deemed habitable if it lacks any of the following: running water, electricity, heat, and protection from the elements (such as proper insulation, and windows that close).
Additionally, tenants are entitled to common areas which are reasonably safe and clean, and free of physical obstacles. Areas such as lobbies, hallways, stairwells, and fire escapes must comply with the building codes of South Houston, Texas. Additionally, any other unreasonable safety hazard, even if it doesn't violate a specific provision of a building code, can create liability for the landlord if it injures a tenant.
Tenants also have rights, under federal and Texas law, to not be victims of racial, ethnic, or gender discrimination in housing, whether they are renting or buying. Additionally, landlords are not allowed to discriminate against tenants based on physical disabilities. They must also allow physically-disabled tenants to make reasonable modifications to the apartment to make it more accessible. Nonetheless, the landlord can require tenants to remove those modifications and restore the property to its original condition once the tenant moves out.
And lastly, most state laws prevent landlords from arbitrarily evicting tenants. If the lease agreement is for a set period of time, the landlord typically can't evict the tenant until the lease expires, without a good reason. Valid causes for eviction include unpaid rent, illegal activities on the property, damage to the building caused by the tenant, and excessive noise.
Can a South Houston, Texas Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants normally prefer to avoid getting into fights with one another, for obvious reasons. A harmonious relationship is profitable for everyone involved. To that end, the advice of a good South Houston, Texas landlord/tenant attorney can help defuse arguments before they become too serious.