What Tenant in Texas Should Know About Their Rights with Water Damage

by Mirania 3, December 2012 16:04

Cases of water damage have been increasing by leaps and bounds in Texas. This has proved to be a grave problem not only for the landlords but tenants are equally bearing the problem of water damage and the expenses related to the damage.  Water damage indicates several things. An overflowing kitchen sink or a broken pipe in the bathroom that floods the entire house, are some of the examples of water damage. One of the major reasons why the problem of water damage is mounting in Texas is that it has a huge population along with countless rental properties..

Recently, I came across a report on Texas Tenant Right with water damage on Indoorrestore.com (Click here for full story). This report states that “In 1999 there were 124,615 Texas water damage claims, totaling $363,820,315 in losses paid. By 2002 those numbers jumped to 247,696 total water claims worth $2,366,101,451 in losses.”

Water damage is a serious issue; therefore, whenever you experience water damage at your rented house, it is essential for you to be aware of how to deal with the problem. There are fundamental things to consider when dealing with this issue as a landlord or a tenant. They are as follows:

  • A landlord cannot rent you a house that is not fit for habitation. Rental units in Texas should meet the terms of health and safety codes and provide the tenants with a house that is habitable and free from the problem of water damage. The rental unit should not have rotting walls, infestations of molds or broken water heaters. The landlord should take adequate measures regularly to fix problems that can affect the health of the tenants. However, tenants have a responsibility to report damages and take steps to prevent damages from spreading, if at all possible. If you see a sink is leaking bad, then you should refrain from using it to avoid causing mold damage to the cabinets and walls
  • There is a assumption that landlord must make a attempt to fix issues within a week. The tenants have the right to ask their landlord to fix the damages identified in the rental unit within a week. It is the responsibility of the landlord to fix and repair the essential infrastructure of the rental unit such as the heater, running water, etc. The tenants must submit a written request to the landlord informing him about the damages that needs urgent repair.

  • The Landlord is responsible to repair damage due to wear and  tear, but the resulting damage is the tenants responsibility.  All the damage resulting from natural disasters are to be taken care of by the tenant. For example, if your sofa was damaged in a pipe leak, then you have to pay to repair your sofa.   However, the landlord is responsible for replacing broken pipes or repairing sinks or ceiling leaks.  But if the damage to the property is caused by the tenant or his guests, it is the tenant who is responsible to repair the damage. If a tenant causes damage and does not repair the damages caused to the rental unit, he may have to surrender his security deposit and risk the owner suing for damages.
  • Renters insurance is a way to protect yourself from damages related to water leak damage. Since landlords in Texas are not always responsible for repairing water damage, having a renter’s insurance policy is highly recommended for tenants in Texas so that they can tackle the problem of water damage effectively.

As property managers in the Houston and Dallas area, we are often confronted with these angry and frustrating experiences. This is why we hope that this article will enlighten landlords and tenant about how to deal with these situations. We often talk to potential landlords who are unwilling to act in a timely manner, and we are limited in our role as property managers to do things without their authorization. Additionally, tenants when explained the situation by our property managers in Houston or Dallas about the fact that the landlord is not responsible to pay for damages, then they are often times very frustrated with our property management team. We hope this brief overview will help future landlords and tenants understand that there is mutual responsibility to handle the situation.

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