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Common questions asked by residential tenants

It is a fact that landlords are emboldened to raise the rent in tight markets, so tenants may feel like they are getting pushed out the door of their home. Some landlords may also eschew general maintenance to help the process. However, tenants do have rights here in Texas. If a landlord is breaking the law or not honoring the rental agreement, it is advisable to speak with a real estate law attorney. They can help protect the rights of renters.

Below are some commonly heard questions about landlord tenant issues:

Can a tenant withhold rent if the landlord does not make repairs?

The short answer is no. Withholding rent is considered retaliation and the renter risks eviction if they do not pay. The tenant, however, can void the contract or file a lawsuit if the repairs are not made in a reasonable amount of time.

Is the landlord obligated to provide air conditioning?

It gets hot here, but the landlord is not obligated to provide air conditioning unless the unit came with air conditioning when you signed the contract, or there was an agreement (ideally in writing) stating they would provide it when you signed the lease.

How long does the eviction process take?It can take as little as two weeks to be evicted. The law requires 72 hours notice for eviction due to breach of lease, which can be waived to shorter amount of time.

My neighbors are really loud. Can my landlord evict them?

Most leases have clause about noise, but this is rarely enforced and the property owner is not required to enforce it.

Can my landlord not renew my lease for no reason?

This is true. Unless it is low-income housing that provides a tax credit. In the latter case, they would need a good reason.

Is there a limit to the amount my landlord can raise the rent when I sign a new rental agreement?

There is no limit or rent control.

Can my landlord keep my deposit if I decide not take the apartment?

Many applications agreements enable the landlord to keep the deposit if you do not take the apartment. This is applicable regardless of whether there is a written agreement.

Do I have a few days to change my mind once I sign a lease?

The lease is binding the moment you sign it.

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William T. Peckham
1104 Nueces Street, Suite 104
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-487-7604
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